The Importance of Hay
Hay does not feed Americans in the way that other crops do like potatoes, wheat, corn, beans, and other commodity crops. Even though we don’t have hay at our dinner table, its production is vital because it feeds livestock, and that livestock in turn feeds us. Without hay, we find ourselves with a break in the food security supply chain.
Farmers and ranchers across the United States are currently facing a hay shortage due to extreme drought and inflation. These issues have led to increased costs of fuel, fertilizer, and other inputs. The general population may not notice this issue right now, but the shortage of hay will impact our food security in America as it becomes more apparent in the colder months.
The hay shortage will have a three-fold effect. It will first hit the bank accounts of farmers and ranchers who grow and sell hay. Then the shortage and subsequent high prices of hay will impact those who feed hay to their livestock. Already there have been reports across the country of long lines at sale yards where ranchers are selling their herds because they do not have feed available at affordable prices. Lastly, the hay shortage will impact the general population that enjoys a glass of milk or a hamburger. The scarcity and skyrocketing cost to feed livestock will ultimately result in a higher cost at the grocery store.
While some American consumers may be able to absorb these price increases,