As dry weather again crimps hay production in many parts of the country, a Facebook page launched a year ago to help connect hay buyers, sellers and haulers, is ready and waiting.
Clint Round is the Owasso, OK, insurance adjuster who came up with the idea for The Hay Connection last August. He’d heard about the problems that hay buyers in drought-stricken Texas and Oklahoma were having in securing supplies (see “Facebook Page Connects Hay Industry”). He adds that his brother, Casey, a rancher and horse trainer, helped get the page up and running. “We were raised on a ranch and we wanted to do whatever we could to help,” Round recalls.
Within a few days of launch, the page attracted hundreds of postings daily. People simply had to “join” and sign into Facebook, search for “The Hay Connection,” and post whether they wanted to buy or sell forage, or would haul or need crop hauled for them. They could also search others’ postings and leave messages to make arrangements to buy or sell crop or services.
“Word started getting around about what we were doing. I was interviewed by just about all the local television stations,” Round recalls. “Then a story that ran on a CBS affiliate got picked up by the network. Before we knew it, we were hearing from people in Washington State and North Carolina. People from California to New York were making use of the page. That continued well into the winter.”
Postings started to taper off in late winter-early spring. “We’re still seeing some activity out of Texas and Oklahoma and a few other states in the South, but not so much out of the North,” says Round. “And we have more people looking to sell rather than buy. But it’s dry in a big part of the country. If the drought stretches out longer and longer, things will likely change and postings will pick up.”
A Web-site owner was interested in buying The Hay Connection to turn it into a commercial venture, but the brothers said they weren’t interested.
“Our goal never was to make money off of this, and we haven’t. We just wanted to do something to help people who were going through a rough time. We feel good about doing that.”
Round, who majored in ag communications in college, says one of the best things about using Facebook for this kind of venture is that it doesn’t require much maintenance once the page is set up. “It just kind of runs itself. I go on the page about once a week or so to see what’s happening and clean things up a little, if necessary. But that’s about it.”
Round can be contacted at 918-557-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.