The Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire (BFNT) Company is bringing hay to farmers in central Tennessee and picking up the freight-cost tab. Through Project Hayride, the company offered the use of its trucks, trailers and drivers to bring hay from Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa and Indiana into Warren County, TN, as the trucks head toward the BFNT commercial tire plant in McMinnville. The Warren Farmers Co-op, University of Tennessee Extension, Warren County Economic Development Board, Warren County Cattlemen's Association and John Pelham, Warren County executive, worked with BFNT. Their challenge: to find out-of-state hay suppliers who could provide quality hay and keep trucks and truckers on the right routes and schedules. The company estimates it will have brought 750 tons to county farmers by the end of January.

Hay is hard to find in drought-stricken Tennessee; many cattle producers have had to liquidate herds. Project Hayride's goal is to help people keep their cattle. With shipping costs removed, farmers can get truckloads of hay at about the same price they would have paid in a normal year.

The company is somewhat limited in where it can provide the service. But BFNT officials hope other trucking companies will be inspired to consider similar projects.

Learn more at the Bridgestone Firestone Web site at