Don’t have the resources or inclination to develop a Web site of your own to market or advertise your hay? Here are some other Internet options:
State hay listing services. The Cooperative Extension Service and ag departments in many states now maintain free, online listing services to help hay sellers link up with potential buyers. These sites can work well for buyers and sellers interested in limiting their search for customers or hay supplies to a specific region
Part-time hay growers Richard and Natasha Bleigh, Summersville, WV, used West Virginia University Extension’s Hay Sales site and the online West Virginia Department of Agriculture Market Bulletin to advertise the round bales of grass hay they produced on 40 acres last year. The listings on the two sites generated more than 50 calls from people looking for hay.
“For the most part, we had at least one call every day,” says Richard. “The only downside was that we didn’t have near enough hay to fill everybody’s order. We had to put people on a waiting list.” For a fairly extensive listing of several states’ hay listing services, go to North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s State-Sponsored Hay Directories.
Commercial listing sites. People looking to extend their reach outside of their region might consider using a commercial listing site, says Kevin Carmichael, who founded his AgriHayExchange site in 2007.
“With a service like ours, sellers can list in as many states as they want, and they can manage it all on one single site. Buyers benefit because they can browse listings for several states and search by hay size, hay type, etc. The search can be as broad or as specific as they want it to be,” he says.
Internet hay auctions.It was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to apply the concepts that made the online consumer goods auction site eBay.com a household name to hay marketing.
Midwestern Cattle Marketing, LLC, a Sidney, NE, company known for video cattle auctions, took a step in that direction last fall when it launched eHayAuctions.com. Like sellers on eBay, eHayAuctions’ sellers register on the site, provide descriptions of their hay (photos and quality test results are optional), set prices and establish how long the auctions will run.
Potential buyers also register, then bid on hay either until the listed price is met, the seller accepts a bid or the auction time lapses. Sellers remain in control of the hay until payment is made, and hay is transported by the buyer. The auction company charges each seller a fee of $4/ton, paid at the time of the listing.