Hay distribution program to help with wildfire loss
The recent wildfires to the east certainly had an impact on OSU Extension's North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora over the past couple of weeks.
And with that, an opportunity has presented itself to keep helping those who may need it.
"We were totally closed for 10 days because it was so smokey here," said NWREC Director Mike Bondi. "We took a pretty hard look at it and decided to shut down. It got so smoky here that you couldn't even be inside. We were closed from Sept. 9 to 18 and then had limited staff participation, and now we're kind of back to full steam."
Bondi said his staff is trying to make up for lost time with what would have been good weather.
"We had planned to get all the fields ready and crops planted, so that's just one more challenge we are working through," Bondi said.
But amid that struggle, the OSU Extension Service is hoping to help those who have suffered loss. The Aurora facility has been asked to coordinate hay donation and distribution for farmers who have lost hay, pasture, barns or storage due to the fires.
Bondi said the state will have three donations sites — Central Point, Roseburg and the NWREC — that will be the donation and distribution site for the entire Willamette Valley.
The plan has only come together this week and the details are being firmed up.
The first load of hay, about 21 tons of large rectangular bales, will arrive at the NWREC sometime this week. The hay will be bluegrass and is being donated by M&M farms out of LaGrande. The hay will be off-loaded by NWREC's Farm Manager Marc Anderson and then be ready for distribution.
Those needing hay are asked to make their request through the statewide OSU Extension Service survey link at https://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b8BCqXt7sgbM113.
"Do not contact NWREC for hay. All requests are being centralized at OSU to most efficiently manage supplies and the demand," Bondi said.
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