When J.J. and Johnny Granstrom got into the hay business, they took a compass and drew a circle in a 200-mile radius of their Holstein, NE, farm. “We tried to get in touch with every dairy inside that radius,” J.J. reports.

As the operation continued to grow, so did the size of the circle. Fuel prices, however, have changed their marketing focus back to the 200-mile mark. “That radius is going to be even more important as the fuel price continues to go up,” he says. “It becomes cost-prohibitive for some customers to feed our hay.”

The growth of the ethanol industry also affects Granstrom Farms’ marketing plan. “We had better get our heads out of the sand if we think we are going to continue selling hay to customers in the same way, at least in our little corner of the world,” J.J. points out. “People here are completely rethinking what their nutritional needs are with distiller’s grains. I think we are going to have to adapt and possibly look at more biomass products if we want to stay competitive.”

Granstrom will hit on these topics as part of the popular innovative hay grower’s panel at the Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo, March 13-14, at the KCI Expo Center in Kansas City, MO. For more on the Granstroms, visit granstromfarms.com/index.htm. or http://hayandforage.com/mag/farming_going_extra_mile/.

The hay grower panel, a traditional and popular start to the Midwest Hay Business Conference, will also include Dutch Rodgers, Decatur, AR, and Roger Hatcher, Cumberland, VA. Lunch and a trade-show session follow, giving growers opportunities to see the latest in forage equipment and technology. Biotech traits in alfalfa, hay marketing, organic hay, financial planning, marketing to horse owners and alfalfa production solutions are also topics during the two-day conference.

For registration information, visit www.hayconference.com, or call Cindy Kramer at 800-722-5334, ext. 14698, or email her at cindy.kramer@penton.com. Contact Granstrom Farms at 402-756-5893.