Appeal for hay
Refuge RR for Horses is sending out an SOS for donations as the non-profit animal rescue organization struggles to get enough hay.
Refuge RR (Rescue, Rehabilitate), located between Alexandria and Glen Robertson, needs about 28,000 pounds of hay a week to feed its 92 rescued horses, cows, goats and sheep.
“Around here there is nothing,” said president Rose Gergely. “We haven’t had enough rain this year so nobody has enough hay to supply.” The charity finally found a supplier farther away but is paying high costs for the product and delivery. “Now it’s just a question of finding the funding to get it here,” said Ms. Gergely.
“We have been told by all the hay dealers that because of the Spring drought, there is half the amount of hay and it will cost double the price,” stated the refuge. “We are barely able to keep up to our $1,650 weekly for our hay and now with the price rising, it will make it impossible to feed them.”
Hay that would normally cost about $35 to $55 per 800-lb. bale now costs $85. “Everyone I talked with in the area told me they don’t have enough hay,” added Ms. Gergely. “Some are even thinking about getting rid of their own cows because they don’t have enough to feed them.” The organization’s regular local supplier initially had just enough hay to last Refuge RR for a few months, but about two weeks ago he lost what hay he had left in a barn fire. Now Refuge RR is struggling to meet its needs.
The organization also has to plan for the future since it will need to purchase enough hay to last until next Spring, 2017.
Individuals can donate online to help Refuge RR for Horses at: refugerr.org/Howto-help
The drought has also impacted crop farmers, many of whom have been relying on irrigation to help their crops survive the drought. Some relief came on the weekend, however, many producers are concerned about the quality of their harvests.
Alexandria-area producer Marc Just grows about 75 acres of produce at his farm, including field tomatoes, strawberries, sweet corn, potatoes, zucchini, onions and leeks.
He said last week that dry conditions “are a major concern” this year. “We are losing a lot of sleep over that.” He has been focusing on intensive irrigating to help his produce survive.
At Avonmore Berry Farm, co-owner David Phillips related conditions are “very dry, and crops are starting to suffer because of the drought.”
He grows 200 acres of vegetables, fruit, beans and wheat for cash crop. He has been managing by irrigating the fruits and vegetables twice a week using water from a nearby pond. Mr. Phillips is mostly concerned about his well.