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Huckleberries Online

Hay Prices Hamstring Ranchers

Bill Berg loads hay into his tractor before feeding his small herd of cattle at Ridge Ranch in Hygiene, Colo., last week. Three years ago, Berg was yielding about 1,000 bales of hay from his fields. It was plenty for him to feed his small, but growing, herd of cattle and plenty for him to sell for $4 to $4.50 a bale. Last year, Berg was lucky to pull 450 bales from his land , 9 acres of which had turned into a "dust bowl." Not having enough to feed his 12 head of cattle for his Ridge Ranch Cattle Co. grass-fed beef business, Berg shelled out anywhere from $10.50 to $14 a bale to buy more. The nationwide drought coupled with the fires in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma over the past few years is hampering the nation's hay industry, putting increased pressure financially on area ranchers, businesses and nonprofit groups that rely on finding high-quality feed for their horses and steers.(AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Greg Lindstrom)

Question: Have you ever bucked hay?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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