Some farmers in eastern Ontario are receiving hay from Western Canada today, but many say the amount likely won't have much of an impact after this year's drought.
The first delivery of 30 bales of hay from Western Canada arrived in Cobden, Ont., northwest of Ottawa, as part of the assistance program called Hay East.
The Mennonite Disaster Service is organizing the deliveries, which are coming via train. They said over the coming weeks, they will ship 200 bales of donated hay from the West to Eastern Ontario farmers.
The 200 bales are far less than what more than 130 farmers in the area say they need — more than 13,000 bales.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has also estimated farmers in the province need 50,000 bales of hay from the west to make up for the amount of hay they have lost.
"There's no way we can meet all the demand, no way at all," said Hay East chairman Glenn Buck.
Buck said donations were not as high as he had hoped and shipping the hay to the east has been expensive.
"With the cost of transportation, to get it to the various parts of Ontario where it's needed, we can only deal right now with donated hay," said Buck.
'A drop in the bucket' for farmers
At Ron McCoy's organic dairy farm in Cobden, the hay supply is dwindling.
McCoy was happy to hear he'd be getting fifteen donated bales this week. But considering he has 60 cows to feed, the delivery won't be enough.
"It's really just a drop in the bucket...in terms of how much everybody needs. Fifteen bales will probably last me about fifteen days," said McCoy.
The drought forced McCoy to cull some of his cattle herd. But on the heels of Thanksgiving weekend, he appreciates the gesture.
"It just makes you feel grateful and thankful when farmers work together and help each other out," he said.