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W.Va. farmers sending hay to Florida

July 26, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

RANSON, W.Va. - A group of Jefferson County farmers tossed bales of hay from wagons onto tractor-trailers Friday afternoon, carrying out a mission of mercy for their brethren in fire-ravaged Florida.

"This type of effort goes on all the time between farmer to farmer," said Lyle "Cam" Tabb, a Jefferson County farmer.

By drawing attention to their relief effort, Jefferson County farmers hope to encourage others in surrounding counties to do similar drives, Tabb said.

"What we're giving is about enough hay for one large farm, but it's not enough for four counties," Tabb said.

The idea for the hay drive came from Tyree Kable, a Jefferson County grain farmer.

Kable was watching the television news last week and saw a similar hay donation drive to the farmers in Florida.

Many Florida farmers lost their hay crops to wildfires and a disastrous dry spell, Kable said.

Kable, 30, called Tabb, who helped work on a hay donation drive in 1985 to assist West Virginia farmers who lost their crop to flooding.

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"My dad always said, 'You've got to train the young ones to know how to help other people,'" Tabb said.

The two met with Mike Sienkiewicz, executive director of the Jefferson County Farm Service Agency.

Kable then began to call Jefferson County farmers for hay donations and local trucking companies for tractor-trailers to haul the hay down.

Farmers brought their hay to Southern States in Ranson for loading onto the rigs.

Kable said he ate his dinner about midnight Thursday and was back up again at 4 a.m. Friday to work on the effort.

"I personally thought it was a good idea, but he needed more time to organize it. But he was able to do it in a short amount of time," said his father, Marty Kable, 55.

Charlie Adams, 73, of Rippon, W.Va., said he had a good hay crop and was willing to give.

"That Kable boy approached me and I've known him since as long as he's been in this world and he asked if I wanted to help and I said, 'Sure,'" Adams said.

He gave 25 large, round bales, each about 5 feet wide. A tractor-trailer was going to get them directly out of his field.

Adams said he did not mind helping strangers in Florida.

"Don't know a soul down there," he said.

The trucks will be loaded through Monday and depart on Tuesday with volunteer drivers, Tyree Kable said.

Volunteers also are going to Florida to help unload the rigs. Kable said about 20 farmers have donated hay so far and they expect to deliver 20 tons in five tractor-trailers.

Some residents who do not have hay to give have donated cash to help pay for the gasoline for the trucks, Kable said.

Anyone wanting to make a donation of hay or money can call the Jefferson County Farm Service Agency at 1-304-725-3471.

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