Savvy hay producers worked to entice dairy producers to Midwestern states during the recent World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. One hay-grower group, the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (N.A.M.A.), joined forces with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Soybean Board and other interested organizations as part of the Nebraska Dairy Industries Association (NDIA). NDIA's goal: to promote interest in growing the state's dairy industry.

"Anything you can do to promote your state means you are promoting your product to potential new customers," says Barb Kinnan, N.A.M.A. executive director. "We are a dairy-deficit state, and if we all work together we are putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Then, if a dairy is looking at coming to the state, it can find all of the pieces of the puzzle in one place." While manning the NDIA booth at the expo, Terry Landes II, NDIA director of communications, told interested dairy producers that Nebraska is the fourth-largest U.S. producer of alfalfa and offers available water and decreased costs of production.

Not far away, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture was telling a similar story. According to David Skaggs, dairy development specialist for the department, the availability of good alfalfa and grass hay has helped convince a number of dairies to relocate to South Dakota from all over the world. Just over 500 dairies are in the state and cow numbers are growing at a good rate, he says. Rein and Boukje Landman, owners of Linde Dairy, Brookings, relocated from the Netherlands four years ago after looking at possible farm sites in Alberta, Canada, Texas and New Mexico. "We didn't have room to expand in the Netherlands and we liked the space and the fact that lots of feed was available in South Dakota," Rein says. The Landmans buy all of the forages for their 1,100-cow South Dakota dairy. They had a 100-cow dairy in the Netherlands.

Transplanted dairy producers like the Landmans can bring significant benefits to South Dakota's hay producers, says Amy Freeburg, owner of Freeburg Hay Co., Gayville. She talked to a number of interested international dairy producers at the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and National Hay Association booths. She says it makes sense for hay producers to work together to bring new customers to their respective areas.

Contact Kinnan at 308-325-1731, Landes at 402-592-3355, Skaggs at 605-773-5436, or Freeburg at 605-267-4426. Visit the N.A.M.A. Web site at www.nebraska-alfalfa.com and the NDIA site at www.GrowNebraskaDairy.org. Learn about Freeburg Hay Company at www.freeburghay.com.