Eastern North Carolina farmers are lending a hand to their western counterparts as they try to cope with a hay shortage.
The solution may be replacing the hay with soybean hay and cornstalks.
About 150 growers gathered Friday morning at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville to hear a N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services presentation on alternatives to hay.
Soybeans haven't grown well down east in the drought, so farmers can use the plants for hay. Cornstalks from the region also could help fill the void. With a drought still baking the region the state's cattle farmers are short 800,000 rolls of hay.
Haywood County cattle farmer Perry Morrow needs about 400 hay rolls to get through the winter and is about 170 rolls short. He's concerned about the cost to transport the replacement for the hay, and says Congressman Heath Shuler is working to secure transportation at a reduced rate for the hay.