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Agriculture Press Release

August 10, 1998

Crawford Announces Massive Hay Donation
for Drought-stricken Farmers

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today announced the donation of 12 railcar loads of hay for farmers suffering from the effects of the record heat and drought. The hay is being donated by farmers in Kentucky, and CSX Railroad is donating the transportation, an integral part of the relief effort.

During the drought, livestock producers were forced to deplete their existing supplies of hay because pastureland had dried up. Crawford made a plea for help to agriculture commissioners in other states. The response has been overwhelming, with a total of about 7,000 tons of hay donated.

This shipment totals about 230 tons of hay that will be arriving at four drop-off sites in Florida on or about August 11. Four railcar loads will go to Marianna, three each to Trenton and Orlando, and two carloads to Wildwood. Once the cars reach their destination, local county extension offices and emergency managers are in charge of unloading and distributing the hay to needy farmers in their area.

"This donation will go a long way toward helping livestock producers who are having a difficult time as a result of the heat and recent drought," Crawford said. "The farmers, railroad officials and everyone else involved have made an extraordinary effort to assist those in need."

Several other organizations have also played key roles in the effort. Members of the Disciples of Christ Church contacted farmers to request the donation. Kentucky farmers who had heard of the plight of their counterparts in Florida got CSX Railroad involved. Florida Interfaith Network in Disaster (FIND) is helping to coordinate the donation and transportation of hay. FIND will continue to assess the need for hay and respond when necessary.

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For more information:

Terry McElroy or Liz Compton
(850) 488-3022


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