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MDS Hay West Project played a key role for producers

The Mennonite Disaster Service Canada Hay West project has come to an end.

Ike Epp, Vice Chair for the MDS Saskatchewan Unit, says they brought hay in from Ontario to help Saskatchewan livestock producers that were struggling with feed supplies due to the drought.

"I don't have the exact numbers, but I'm guessing we probably had about 85 to 90 applications. I believe we had about 55 loads of hay come, delivered here. So there would have been in the neighborhood of 30 people that applied, we were not able to help. Right from the beginning, of course, we were aware that the scope of the disaster was far greater than what we would be able to fulfill. But we felt that it was better to do something than nothing."

Cornelius Beveridge, a cattle producer from Maple Creek (Saskatchewan) says they were lucky to be involved adding the hay arrived at just the right time.

"For us every load counted, and it was alfalfa hay that they sent. So we had a lot of green feed that we could buy here. We couldn't buy much else. So it was a perfect ration to mix it off with the green feed and the hay. We started feeding in October and so I think we've fed over 500 bales from October to middle of May. If we had had less we would have been in serious trouble, as it is right now we've got nothing left."

He notes it got them through the cold spell around Christmas when temperatures hovered around -30 Celsius.

Beveridge, farms with his wife, Heidi and had about 200 cattle over the winter.

He was one of 56 producers in the province that received hay from the MDS Hay West project. 

Beveridge says things are looking a lot better this year, thanks to the snow in April and the recent rains.

Epp also acknowledged the support of Hutton Transport, which trucked most of the hay to Saskatchewan from Ontario while charging less than usual rates. 

Overall, the Mennonite Disaster Service Canada Hay West project cost $345,000. 

Saskatchewan producers paid a total of $158,300 toward trucking costs, while $86,600 was donated by MDS supporters.

The remaining $100,100 is being provided by MDS Canada from its reserves.  

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