GREAT FALLS — As dry conditions continue across the state, the Montana Department of Agriculture is reminding farmers and ranchers that they can use the online "Hay Hotline" to list their forage for sale or donation, and/or search listings for a variety of forage or pasture posted by other producers.
“Dry conditions seem to be persisting, so the need for hay and pasture will be on everyone’s minds,” said MDA director Christy Clark. “Our Hay Hotline is a free online listing page to find hay or pasture or list a need for such. There is also an option to list donated hay if folks are in a position to help others out.”
Clark noted, "Our pasture reports coming out are poor. It looks like this is going to be another year where there's going to be high demand for hay and pasture."
Hay Hotline users enter their own listings and descriptions on the website. The forum is maintained by the Montana Department of Agriculture as a service to the agricultural industry with the expectation that all buyers and sellers will treat each other in an equitable and lawful manner. The department does not facilitate sales, nor does it make representations as to the amount, kind, or quality of hay listed by participants.
As hay shortages continue to stress farm and ranch operations, the department also cautions people to be aware of the risk of fraud by considering bonds, insurance, or banking services to assist with large purchases or sales.
Cort Jensen, Chief Legal Counsel for MDA, said, “Unfortunately, as hay prices rise, so does the risk of fraud. Producers may need to take additional steps to protect themselves from fraudsters.”
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