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Clint is an insurance salesman in Oologah, Okla. while Casey, a member of the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Co-op, works at a fertilizer plant and trains horses in Big Cabin, Okla. Both grew up in agriculture and understand how hay shortage can affect livestock producers. Late one night while pouring over his computer, Clint cre- ated The Hay Connection Facebook page and in- vited his agricultural friends to check it out. “I got on Craigslist in the area and a couple other websites and found them some hay and hit reply,” Clint said.

The Round brothers had no idea so many hay buyers and sellers would discover The Hay Con- nection in a matter of hours. By the next day, Clint said the page was mostly self-sustained with peo- ple all of the way from New York to California posting and responding to hay inquiries. “That fi rst night, we were like ‘Wow, there’s 350 people on here!’” Casey said. “Then the next day, there were 1,000.”

Friends of friends continued to share the Face- book page, and a couple days later, local television stations picked it up for some added exposure. The number of views soon jumped from 2,700 to 4,000. The brothers’ page drew even more attention when CBS television affiliates from all over the country mentioned it in their local newscasts. Clint said it was amazing to see such a “local” idea grow to attract viewers on a national level. At this article’s press time, more than 10,000 people had discovered their hay page.

Casey Round checks out The Hay Connection Face- book page that he and his brother, Clint, created. The page has more than 10,000 “likes.” Photo courtesy of Courtney Brown

“I took a few minutes to create this page,” he said. “I didn’t do a whole lot. The reason it’s working is because it’s neighbors helping neighbors, friends helping friends. That’s why it works.” Casey said he also has taken an interest in the drought’s widespread effects, reading where all of the Facebook posts originate. “We know how dry it is, especially here in Okla- homa and Texas, but through this I found out that Arizona and New Mexico are real dry too,” he said. “Mostly it’s just everybody on there helping each other. Everybody on there has a good attitude and

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that’s what it’s all about.” Casey said most of the hay sold on The Hay Connection is going to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Ranchers also are fi nding it in northern states and other areas of the Midwest such as Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. “I saw on there the other day that a guy had 1,000 bales in Montana and he was selling them to Texas,” Casey said. The number of hay trailers and semis cruising up and down the country’s interstates is not only a testament to the lengths ranchers are willing to search for hay but also the price they will pay. Casey said round bales are selling anywhere from 65 dollars to 125 dollars, and square bales are go- ing for a pretty penny as well.

“The guys who need to sell hay and try to make money are making money, the guys who need hay to feed cattle are getting it, and truckers are getting to haul,” he said. In the beginning, Clint said he and Casey won- dered how many farmers and ranchers would actu- ally turn to the Internet for hay help, but so far the response has been overwhelming.

“I’m on Facebook a lot – probably more than I should be,” Clint said laughing. “But in this case, it’s hard to resist logging in and watching people from all over the country connect over the subject of hay.” “I think it’s pretty amazing,” Casey said. “I’m old- fashioned, but we’ve done all of this from our Continued on Page 28





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