The National Hay Association (NHA) is expecting more than 300 people to attend this year’s annual meeting, which will run Sept. 17-19 at Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort in Deadwood, SD. “We’re up by about 10% from last year’s registrations,” reports Don Kieffer, NHA executive director.

Educational sessions will be an emphasis point this year. Ron Hansen, a University of Nebraska ag economist, will be on hand to deliver presentations on promoting harmony/avoiding conflict in multi-generational farm operations. He’ll also discuss transferring ownership of family businesses from one generation to the next.

Protecting the hay supply from bioterrorism will be the topic of a presentation by Randy Gordon of the National Grain and Feed Association. “That’s something other agricultural sectors have been addressing more and more in recent years,” says Kieffer. “We thought it would be a good idea to look at the implications for the hay industry as well.”

Other topics on the agenda include a discussion of relative forage quality vs. relative feed value, morning vs. afternoon cutting, growing alfalfa in the South, horses and hay, the history of haymaking over a 300-year time frame, and the art and science of haymaking.

Along with the formal presentations, Kieffer notes, the convention is structured to allow plenty of time for attendees to get together informally with others involved in the hay business. He expects a lot of this year’s “hallway conversation” will focus on what needs to be done to improve the economic situation for dairy farmers. “They (dairy producers) are going through some very tough times, and that’s impacting a lot of people in our business as well,” says Kieffer.

Other NHA facts:

  • The 2009 convention will be the 114th annual meeting of the group.
  • NHA has 550 members. The majority are commercial hay growers/sellers.
  • Dave Brumfield of Brumfield Hay and Grain in Lexington, KY, will assume the duties of NHA president on Saturday. Gary Smith, hay grower from Mission Hill, SD, is the outgoing president.
To learn more about NHA, contact Kieffer at 800-707-0014 or haynha@aol.com.