A hay export facility scheduled to open in North Carolina later this month will allow southeastern U.S. hay growers to market overseas.

Located in Goldsboro, NC, the facility is owned by ACX Pacific Northwest, Inc., the country’s largest forage exporter. With headquarters in Bakersfield, CA, the company has two California facilities – in Wilmington and Stockton – and one in Ellensburg, WA.

Bermudagrass, oat and ryegrass hay will be packaged and processed for export at the Goldsboro plant.

“Bermudagrass in particular has been an underutilized resource in many places. A lot of what is put up every year never gets fed to livestock,” says Nicholas Gombos, ACX vice president, supply chain and logistics. “But we have more and more overseas customers looking for a source of protein and fiber at a competitive global price. Our goal is to take these residual crops, add value and find a home for them. We think this represents a tremendous opportunity for growers in that region of the country.”

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The plant will initially buy hay in eastern North Carolina. As sales increase, hay will be bought throughout the state, along with South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.

Over the next two years, most of the hay coming out of the plant, the first large-scale hay export facility on the East Coast, will be exported to Middle Eastern countries. After that, ACX expects to send Southeastern hay to markets in Asia. “Along with dairy and beef cattle, end-users will be feeding the hay to sheep, goats and camels,” notes Gombos.

ACX exported nearly 700,00 tons of long-fiber forages in 2012. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. exported 3.7 million tons of hay in 2012.

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