Returning the Favor: N. La. Ranchers Afflicted by March Floods Help Their Southern Neighbors

by Allie Doise, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation

Louisiana Farm Bureau volunteers donated time, trucks and trailers to deliver the donated hay to those in need in south Louisiana.

Louisiana Farm Bureau volunteers donated time, trucks and trailers to deliver the donated hay to those in need in south Louisiana.

When floodwaters inundated south Louisiana in August, it impacted the same ranchers who were so quick to send hay north only a few months earlier.

Louisiana Farm Bureau’s network of farmers and ranchers became a source of relief for each other during two flooding disasters this year through the creation of the hay clearinghouse.  The clearinghouse was formed by the Louisiana Farm Bureau Livestock Committee in March when flooding devastated north Louisiana.

In March, farmers and ranchers from south Louisiana collected hay and delivered the donations to north Louisiana. Those same folks in north Louisiana saw this as an opportunity to return the favor and send relief back to south Louisiana when the floods struck last month.

“Our goal for the hay clearinghouse is to assist during the emergency, and then for a couple weeks afterwards,” said Marty Wooldridge, Louisiana Farm Bureau livestock committee chairman. “We are also going to help them with the contacts that we build through the hay clearinghouse, and help them try to find their hay they may need for the wintertime too.”

Louisiana Farm Bureau's Hay Clearinghouse provided over 2000 square bales to livestock owners affected by flooding.

Louisiana Farm Bureau's Hay Clearinghouse provided over 2000 square bales to livestock owners affected by flooding.

Wooldridge said this flood’s needs were different from the spring flooding due to the need for square hay, which is harder to find in the rural north Louisiana.  However, they were able to do that with the help of Adam Caughern, owner of Precision Baling which specializes in square bales.

“Whenever we heard about all the people that were needing help down there, my first thought was is this clearinghouse going to get started up again,” said Caughern. “And that’s when I started trying to find out if it was going to be the same need to ship hay south as what it was whenever we shipped it over to Monroe back in the spring. I talked with Marty Wooldridge and he was telling me about how there was a need for square bales.”

Wooldridge said actual hay donations have not been the only help in the clearinghouse. Monetary donations and donated equipment as well. The website Greatgood.org gave a donation to help buy hay and Red River Trailer donated the use of a trailer to haul donated hay.

“People that have been generous to give us money, we were able to use their money and buy square hay and have it trucked,” said Wooldridge.

The Louisiana Farm Bureau livestock committee has helped moved close to 1,000 round bales and more than 2,000 square bales into south Louisiana.

“In farming it’s a little bit different,” said Caughern about the way agriculture does business.

“It takes a whole group of people to succeed in this industry,” Wooldridge agreed. “It’s an unbelievable thing to be a part of such a great organization that truly works for the betterment of their members in a time of need.”