Written by: Glenda-Lee Allan Vossler

There's another option for livestock producers in Saskatchewan who are still trying to locate feed.

Mennonite Disaster Service Canada has its own Hay West initiative.

MDS Canada is the natural disaster response arm of the Mennonite Churches in Canada and the United States.

The organization typically respond to natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods, and earthquakes but last year weather was a disaster as well.

MDS Communications Manager John Longhurst says they're helping livestock producers in the province by helping to connect them with hay donations from producers in Ontario.

"To date, about 24 farmers have received a load of hay, and we have some other hay in the pipeline. But there's still about 25 or 26 more farmers in Saskatchewan who have requested hay."

He notes that producers can still apply to the program and will need to be approved, adding they're mainly looking at family farms.

"We want to help people who are struggling to get hay right now. In terms of cost. If a farmer can't pay for transportation, then of course we're happy to accept that. If not, we are accepting donations from people across Canada to help us defray the costs of transportation."

Greg Melchior farms near Battleford (Saskatchewan) and says he didn't get much hay off and faced with a lack of feed was looking at having to sell off part of his herd of 114 head of cattle.

He was able to reach out to the Mennonite Disaster Service Hay West project and in mid-December received 36 bales of hay.

"I don’t know how I’d get through the winter without it. They are doing a very good job for us."

Meantime, Martin Ritsma had an outstanding crop on his farm near Stratford (Ontario).

"Being able to help farmers in another province who didn’t enjoy the same good fortune is a real blessing. " He said. " By the grace of God, I have the capacity to help."

Martin Risma (pictured on his farm in Southwestern Ontario - Courtesy of MDS)Martin Risma (pictured on his farm in Southwestern Ontario - Courtesy of MDS)

“It’s just about doing the right thing,” he said. “It warms my heart I can be of service to God and others. There’s no bigger thing I can do.”

Farmers in Saskatchewan who need hay can call Daryl Bueckert (306-717-3987) or Ike Epp (306-342-7921). An application form for hay can also be found at https://mds.mennonite.net/mds-canada-launches-hay-west-to-deliver-hay/

Donations are also welcome to help pay for transportation costs for the hay. Visit www.mds.org to donate.