Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller unveiled a new and improved hay hotline designed to serve as a comprehensive clearinghouse for farmers and ranchers in need of hay for their livestock. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Hay Hotline provides an online marketplace for hay buyers and sellers, and can even help locate grazing land for lease.
The new website is free and available to anyone interested in buying, selling or donating hay, or otherwise in need of hay.
“This is a great tool for Texas farmers and ranchers,” Miller said. “No one else in the state and few in the nation provide the kind of helpful information for our ag industry producers that we provide on the Texas Department of Agriculture Hay Hotline. And the best part is that it’s free – just another way we’re serving our ag industry here at TDA.”
First published in 2008, the website has become an important resource for the Texas agriculture community. During times of disaster, however, the hay hotline fulfills a more critical need.
During Hurricane Ike, the TDA Hay Hotline served as the site for forage and hay donations to ag producers impacted by the massive storm. The hotline also helped channel donations to the affected area by directing distributions to livestock supply points across the state of Texas.
Since that time, the Hay Hotline has become a trusted source for finding hay during droughts, floods, after severe wildfires, winter storms and, most recently, during the recovery from record-breaking Hurricane Harvey. By partnering with other agencies like the Texas Animal Health Commission and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the TDA Hay Hotline is now a critical disaster relief tool for Texas farmers and ranchers.
“After a disaster, access to hay can make or break the business of a farmer or rancher,” Miller said. “They depend on livestock for their livelihood, and their livestock depend on hay. The TDA Hay Hotline is absolutely critical during times of disaster.”
The TDA Hay Hotline also contains weather information, disaster alerts and information on other disaster assistance program like the TDA State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund, or “STAR” fund. It also displays updated information on any fire ant quarantine and will alert Hay Hotline users to state requirements when shipping hay in or out of a quarantine area.
The new look also includes a map of Texas to pinpoint search results, making it easier to quickly identify locations for both those in the industry and emergency responders. Updates to the Disaster Alerts section will lead to real-time alerts providing details on where an emergency is happening, the resources needed, the local supply points and contact information. This update is intended to make donating and receiving supplies as streamlined as possible to ensure timely support to Texas agriculture when a crisis hits.