The Clemson Agriculture Extension is helping South Carolina livestock farmers who may have lost their hay stores from Hurricane Florence flooding.
The extension has organized a website for both farmers to apply for aid and for farmers who can offer hay to help. Extension agents are using the information to identify the need for hay and identify sources who can fulfill those needs. They also are working with the South Carolina Farm Bureau and the state Department of Agriculture to assess long-term needs.
“Our big thing here over the last two or three weeks, has been to just… working with emergency management to meet the needs of any livestock or animals who may have been left without food resources,” Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Matthew Burns said.
“Folks had lost entire hay crops, that barns got flooded out or that kind of stuff, so we’re just now beginning to assess that and address that and what those long-term needs may be,” he said.
Summer is typically hay season in South Carolina and by now, many barns are full of feed used to get animals through the winter.
“The majority of those hay stores would have been in the barn or they could have been in the field and just baled,” Burns said. “There could be some hay stores that were lost that had just been baled and flooded as well.”
Burns said already farmers have offered to help by selling or donating hay to their colleagues in need.
“The ag community is a very tight-knit community and we’ve had lots of folks reach out from multiple, different states and within our own state in places that weren’t affected,” he said. “There are lots of hay resources and we should have good resources for those producers who are in need.”
Last month the Clemson Agricultural Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated a $125 million crop loss across eight counties most severely affected by Hurricane Florence. Those eight counties are Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Dillon, Florence, Marlboro, Chesterfield and Williamsburg. The region is responsible for a majority of row production crops in the state.