The Oregon Hay and Forage Association (OHFA) has joined the growing ranks of other hay industry groups and businesses by establishing a presence on the social networking service Facebook.

Mary Hyde, OHFA communications consultant, suggested the move after being forwarded the story, "Facebook Page Connects Hay Industry," from eHay Weekly’s Sept. 6 edition. That story detailed the success two Oklahoma brothers experienced in launching a Facebook page to link hay buyers in the drought-stricken southwestern U.S. with hay sellers nationwide.

"It seemed like a great concept and one that would work for our group here," says Hyde. "There are a lot of people in this part of the country looking for hay and a lot of them are Facebook users. We have members with hay for sale. Facebook is one more way to link up people."

Groups can also use Facebook to express ideas or questions about specifics on their industry, if they have equipment, land or livestock for sale or if they've come across a better way of farming. "The possibilities are endless," she says.

A major challenge of utilizing Facebook effectively, according to Hyde, is getting out the word that you have a presence on the site. "It can take a little while for people to find you and start coming to your page. You have to be a little patient. But eventually you start building some numbers. What's nice about Facebook for a small organization like OHFA is that it doesn't cost anything but a little time to get a page up and running and to keep it going."

Check out the OHFA Facebook page or visit the OHFA Web site. To contact Hyde, email mary@maryhyde.com.

Update: As of late last week, the number of people who "like" the Facebook Hay Connection page, started by the Round brothers in Oklahoma, had topped 11,000.