City donates hay to eastern Ontario farmers
100 bales donated as Alberta farmer calls on western colleagues to help repay favour
The city has donated 100 bales of hay to eastern Ontario farmers dealing with the effects of this summer's drought.
The donated bales were freed up following the closure of the Nepean National Equestrian Park, the city said in a news release.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture estimates farmers in the province need about 50,000 bales of hay to make up for the amount of hay they lost this year due to the summer drought.
A Hay East donation campaign was spearheaded by the Mennonite Relief Fund with help from farm organizations from across Canada, including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union.
Urge to repay Hay West
It is modelled after a 2002 donation campaign, called Hay West, that saw more than 100,000 large bales of Ontario hay delivered to desperate Alberta farmers during the province's worst drought in more than 125 years.
About 5,000 bales of hay from western provinces have been sent through the Hay East program so far. They began arriving in October and dozens more truckloads of hay are on their way.
A farmer from Fort Assiniboine, Alta., is calling on western farmers to make more hay donations to repay the favour.
"They sent it here, why can't we send it there?" said Richard Hillmer, who has donated nearly $1,000 worth of hay.
"It's been 10 years and a lot of people have forgotten, or maybe a lot of the people that received hay 10 years ago are out of the business now, … but I just think it's pay-back time, that's all."