A Texas beef producer launched a website that he says makes it easier for hay buyers and sellers to connect.
“Selling hay through a traditional classified system is time-consuming,” says CEO David Justman, a hay broker with 15 years experience who developed the site. “You have to place ads, research what’s going in the market and answer tons of phone calls and emails. And when you do find a buyer, you have to wonder how and if you’re going to get paid.
“If you’re doing all that, you don’t have time to get around to all the other things you need to be doing on the farm. What we’ve set up here takes all of that out of the picture.”
With the justurhay.com system, Justman Livestock representatives go to potential sellers' hay yards to take core samples, moisture readings and photos of hay to be listed. Reps also interview sellers to get their thoughts on what they think their hay is worth in the region.
Core samples, for $18/sample, are analyzed at Olsen’s Agricultural Laboratory, Inc., in McCook, NE. Sellers can instead submit reports from their own labs or opt to not provide test results with listings. “That happens more with some of the grass hays,” notes Justman. “A lot of times, buyers for that kind of hay are just looking for roughage. Test results really aren’t that big of a deal to them.”
Sellers who use the Nebraska lab are emailed results within a week or so. A company rep calls them to discuss results and set final prices on hay.
“With the lab results, we can tell sellers with confidence: ‘This is exactly what your hay is, and this is exactly what it should be worth in your area,’ ” he says. “It’s totally up to sellers to set a price on the hay. They don’t have to take our word for what the hay is worth. Our fee is a flat $7/ton. So it doesn’t matter to us if sellers want to price it at $100/ton or $300/ton. We’re not buying the hay, we’re just marketing it.”
Those who list their hay sign contracts giving justurhay.com the right to sell it on the website. They also sign standard hay contracts specifying price per ton, final dates for removing hay from their facilities or farms, locations where hay will be weighed, loading times, etc.
Standard hay contracts are listed on the website. “A big advantage for sellers of this is that buyers from all over the country can see your hay when they go to the site,” says Justman. “You’re not limited to just a local market or a three- or four-state region.”
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Potential buyers benefit in the same way. “You can go on the site and take a look at listings from a lot of different areas. And because the test results and the pictures are on there, you can get a very good idea of what’s being offered. You don’t have to know somebody already or spend a lot of time developing contacts to do business in a market that you’re not familiar with.”
Buyers can also use the website’s cost-per-ton calculator. The feature uses buyer and seller zip codes to calculate a final delivered price for hay offered. “A lot of times, people don’t factor in the transportation costs when they’re pricing hay in different areas,” he says. “As a result, they’re not always comparing apples to apples because the transportation costs can vary so much. This feature calculates those costs for you.”
Once buyers commit to a contract, they have 24 business hours to deposit a 20% down payment. They can arrange their own trucking or use the services of justurtruck.com, a companion website. As hay is shipped, sellers submit scale tickets and invoices signed by truck drivers to Justman Livestock. In turn, the company sends a weekly check to the seller (or wires the money into the seller’s bank account) until the contract is finished.
Sellers can remove a contract from the site at any time. “All we ask is that once they notify us, they give us seven more days to sell their contract,” says Justman, noting that the website is also set up for cottonseed sales. “If we don’t get the job done in that time, the contract is null and void.”
To contact Justman, call 903-497-2297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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