Area Farmers Donate Hay For Southern Counterparts

Some late-season rain saved crops for many farmers in Wisconsin this year, but it’s a far different story in the nation’s Deep South. That’s why area farmers are shipping some of this year’s harvest out of town.

This summer was the worst drought Texas and Oklahoma has likely ever seen, meaning many farmers and ranchers there are short on hay and grass to feed cattle, with some selling off herds because they simply couldn’t get anything to feed them.

To help those in need, some Wisconsin farmers are pitching in to a hay drive organized by implement dealer Waupun Equipment. Organizers said that they’re hoping to send tons of hay to those who need it the most.

“It started with one load of hay, and it’s very obvious we’re going to get one load,” said Carrie Mess, who organized the hay drive. “We’re hoping for several loads of hay donated by area farmers — from a bale to two bales to 10 bales. However much you have we will take it.”

Jefferson County farmer Erich Wollin said he and his family know about challenges of living off the land. They’ve twice lost a barn to wind in 10 years, a flood in 2008 and even straight-line winds blowing down corn last week.

He said that it doesn’t compare to what farmers in the South are seeing.

“I’ve heard they haven’t had rain in forever and it’s been 110 degrees and, God, I wouldn’t want to be there,” said Wollin.

Wollin and his brother and father are donating some 15 bales of hay to the cause, saying that besides the fact that they want to help, they’ve had a great crop this year.

“Farmers will help either way, but I think part of the reason people are being so generous is because we got more than what we expected,” said Mess.

Wollin said that the life of a farmer can be a challenge.

“A farmer can’t pick up and go like during (Hurricane) Katrina when people would leave for weeks at a time and rebuild houses,” said Wollin. “I guess this is our way of being able to help somebody. We can give something we’ve made and in turn give it to them.”

Waupun Equipment officials said that they want to take the first load of hay down the week of Sept. 19. Organizers said that those who have hay to donate or would like to send money to buy hay for the cause, should contact Carrie Mess with Waupun Equipment at 920-988-7384 or at