Donated hay arrives in Berkeley County

September 21, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - About a dozen Berkeley County farmers who suffered crop losses due to this summer's drought got some hay to tide them over Tuesday thanks to a local manufacturer and some Wisconsin farmers.

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A train carrying 100 tons of hay rolled up to a delivery dock at the Quad/Graphics printing plant Tuesday afternoon. Using forklifts, plant workers lifted the bales from the train cars and loaded them onto trucks and trailers for farmers.

"This will tide me over very good. I really appreciate it," said Berkeley County farmer Albert Myers as workers stacked hay on his trailer.

"We are just so thankful for the farmers up there and Quad/Graphics. We're just not used to that," said dairy farmer Fred Gold Butler.


The donation was organized by Quad/Graphics employee Barb Casper, who lived in the farming community of Lomira, Wis., before being transferred to the Quad/Graphics plant here. Unlike farmers on the East Coast, Wisconsin farmers enjoyed bumper crops this year.

After watching local farmers suffer through the worst drought in 100 years, Casper decided to contact her farming friends in Lomira to see if there was a way to get some feed to Berkeley County.

"These guys need a little help," Casper said.

Three farmers from Casper's former home donated the 100 tons of hay, which was taken to the Quad/Graphics plant in Lomira for loading on Sept. 9. CSX Corp. and another company paid to get the hay to Martinsburg.

Quad/Graphics relied on the local Farm Service Agency to provide names of farmers who needed help with feed, Butler said.

Quad/Graphics workers began unloading the hay about 2 p.m., and were expected to continue until dark.

After months of dry weather, things were finally starting to look up for farmers. While the hay was being unloaded, a steady rain fell.

The rain has caused fields to turn green, giving livestock fresh grazing areas, and the precipitation will help fall crops like rye and barley get a good start, Butler said.

If the coming winter is mild, livestock can continue to graze in the cold weather, said Berkeley County Extension Agent Mary Beth Bennett.

Each bale donated Tuesday weighed about 800 pounds, and each farmer received between 15 and 18 bales.

The Pewaukee, Wis.-based Quad/Graphics prints catalogs and newspaper inserts.

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