Minnesota Hay In High Demand Around The Country Because Of Drought

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COKATO, MN. (CNN) -  Farmers across the Midwest are clamoring for healthy hay to keep their farms afloat.   Now, Minnesota farmers are trying to keep up with the orders for their coveted crop.  
Boyd Huppert reports.  

An oasis in a desert.
"That's right, it is like an oasis."
That's how cattlemen and ranchers in other parts of the country are beginning to view the hay being grown by Minnesota farmers, like Harlan Anderson.  
"Oh, we've gotten calls in the last 10 days; we've gotten calls from just about every corner of the United States."

The difference is rain-- the kind of moisture that makes for lush Minnesota hay fields-- while broad sections of the country wilt.  
"I don't think ever in my life I’ve seen it where the rest of the country is as dry as it is and we've got a good crop."
"This was Friday at six o'clock until Sunday a six o'clock."
One weekend-- 33 calls-- to Litchfield auctioneer Randy Kath.  
"I had seven, eight nine, 10 more just this afternoon."
Farmers from Missouri, Ohio, southern Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana...
"Middlebury, Indiana."
Scrambling to find hay to feed their livestock.
"And that was Blooming Meadows horse farm from Middlebury, Indiana, inquiring about hay."
Litchfield's Steffes auction service typically ships out 30 to 40 semi loads of hay in July.
"By the end of the month, it will push 100, and that's basically 75 percent higher than a normal year."
A similar increase in hay prices.
"I had a call from Indiana and they tell me they're stealing it out of barns in Indiana."
Harlan Anderson says the hay supply was further squeezed by farmers switching to soybeans and corn to take advantage of high commodity prices.
"They'll be a lot of horses disappear, a lot of beef cows, a lot of dairy cows, the auction barns are being packed with animals that are being culled because they don't have feed."
Even an oasis can give only so much relief.

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