Local hay, feed goes to flood-stricken Texas to help farmers

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Round bales of hay from the Bill Fulton Farm and the neighboring Josh Crain Farm north of Patton, Missouri, are loaded onto a trailer to send to farmers in Texas to help feed their livestock.
Submitted photo

Postal carrier Jeannette Webb of Jonesboro, Illinois, had what she calls a "God moment" that stretched all the way to flood-stricken Texas, with a stop in Bollinger County, Missouri.

Webb, who carries mail in Cape Girardeau, was off work Friday when she got a message: "You need to do something for Texas."

She listened, and within 24 hours, she had a trucking company that said it would take a full trailer load if she had one.

Webb had called a friend in Texas and asked her what she could do to help after Tropical Storm Harvey flooded much of the southeast part of the state.

Her friend said they needed hay and feed.

Brown's Fertilizer and Chemical Co. took a truckload of hay and feed to farmers in Texas and Louisiana whose horses and cattle had nothing to eat because of the damage from Harvey.

"The livestock was herded into dry areas, but the water and soil in the grasses and fields were polluted and oily, and everything was ruined," Webb said.

Webb began calling people she knows, asking whether they could spare hay and feed to send to storm-ravaged Texas.

One couple she knows is Lana and Dustin Bannister of Patton, Missouri. Dustin owns Blue Creek Studios; Webb's husband sings with a group called the Holler Boys. Blue Creek has recorded music for the band.

Lana Bannister's grandfather, Bill Fulton, raises cattle north of Patton. He and his neighbors, Josh and Christa Crain, agreed to fill a trailer with round hay bales. Fulton donated 20 toward a load that was supposed to hold 28 bales. It ended up holding only 23, so five of the eight bales Crain donated are waiting to join any other donated hay that will fill a second trailer.

The most recent second cutting of hay has produced an abundance. Fulton said last year's mild winter also meant there was hay left over. There was plenty to share with farmers in Texas who have nothing in the barns and whose fields are ruined.

The bales are worth about $30 each, Fulton said. They weigh about 1,500 pounds each.

They joined another truckload of square bales and feed that left Cobden on Friday night and arrived in Texas by Saturday. Donations paid for the $800 worth of fuel it took to get there.

Fulton said he heard a Texas farmer with about 250 head of cattle "was about in tears when he got it."

Webb said a bag of feed can feed two or three cows or six horses for a day. The average cow eats 24 pounds of hay a day.

The potential economic loss from Harvey will be staggering if there is no food for the cattle or horses.

Webb said she considers herself "one of God's tools" helping livestock in need.

"We're still in the process," she said. "We're also looking at Hurricanes Irma and Jose; we're keeping an eye on (wildfires in) Montana. There's a huge need there."

It will be more difficult to get volunteer help to Montana because the distance and rough drive is hard on a tractor-trailer rig.

But if there is a will, she said, there will be a way.

"We are all Americans; we are one nation," Webb said. "We have to come together. At the end of the day, we just need to help each other and love each other. It's all about paying it forward."

Any farmer who has hay or feed to donate is encouraged to contact Bill Fulton at (573) 866-2360 or (573) 275-2633.

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