The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


January 12, 2013

Wyoming couple works to find feed for others’ livestock

ENID, Okla. — GILLETTE, Wyo. — Harold Gage slowly backs his semitrailer up next to the fence at his Rozet home.

His friend, Tyler Hippen, trails behind, making fresh footprints in the snow.

As the sun sinks, the temperature falls steadily toward zero. Gage’s girlfriend, Lisa Winjum, runs inside the house to put on warmer clothes, but she’s right back outside as soon as her coveralls are buckled.

Gage steps down from the cab, and he, Winjum, Hippen and two others get to work loosening the tight straps that hold 13 round bales of hay to the trailer. One by one, they pull the straps off and stow them under the cab.

Gage and Hippen then hoist the skinnier of the other two men up onto the truck. He leans back on one of the round bales and gets ready to push with his legs. Winjum calls her dogs away from the truck, and on the count of three the men kick and push the first large hay bale off the rig.

Once one falls off, the rest is easy.

They all jump up on the trailer, and after a few minutes of grunting and shoving, the remainder of the load is off.

Round ba-les weigh be-tween 1,700 and 1,800 pou-nds. They fall to the ground with a thud, and they don’t bounce. These bales are solid, fresh hay wra-pped up tight, with no mold in the middle.

With such a bad drought this season, seeing more than a few bales of hay spread out on one property is uncommon in Campbell County.

Hay is so tough to come by many ranchers have had to downsize their cattle herds, selling cows and giving away horses they cannot afford to feed.

But Gage and Winjum have worked out a system.

Three or four times a week, the couple or a hired driver travels 430 miles up to Wild Rose, N.D., to pick up 26 bales of hay, a full truckload on Gage’s semi. Once they get the hay loaded and securely strapped down — at least a two-hour process — the pair turns around and drives the 430 miles back.

While the two own 26 horses, they don’t need that much hay for themselves.

They know the livestock community is hurting, so they sell what they can at a fair price — $165 per bale, to be exact.

Winjum said some hay in the area is going for $250 to $300 per ton, up from the typical price of around $100 per ton last year. She said they’d sell their bales for cheaper, but they need to take transportation costs into consideration.

“We figured out how much it would cost to get Harold’s semi up and running again, and li-censing, permits in each state, insurance, tires, fu-el, truck driver pay and maintenance,” Winjum said.

As soon as she posted an Internet ad around Thanks-giving, they started getting calls. The couple delivers to a few regular customers, but they hear from someone new almost every day.

“It seems like most of the people are new people,” Gage said. “They’re just in dire need of hay, and they need it now.”

Janet and Bill Woodworth are regular customers who heard about Gage and Winjum through word of mouth. Janet Woodworth has been raising cows all her life.

“We’ve always had hay, and we’ve always been able to have some carry-over hay,” Wood-worth said.

“There was only one year we had to buy a little bit, and that was probably 15 years ago.”

Not only has Woodworth had to buy numerous bales of hay this year, she already has had to sell six head of her cattle in order to be able to afford to feed the rest.

“It’s a sad year,” Woodworth said.

“All this beautiful weather this fall and winter is not good for us. It’s getting scary for next year.”

This is the first year Gage and Winjum have done so-mething so drastic to be able to feed their animals, but they may have to keep it up if Wyoming doesn’t get more precipitation.

The couple isn’t making much money delivering the hay. In fact, they’re barely breaking even.

But the animal lovers are in it for the livestock and for the families whose livelihoods depend on them.

Text Only
  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Wheat tour to provide crop information

    Damage to wheat from the recent freeze will depend on growth stages and temperatures. It will take approximately seven to 10 days following a freeze to determine damage.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFA logo.jpg Drummond students receive honors

    Several members traveled to Alva for the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Interscholastic Contest.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - garber ffa web.jpg Garber FFA members place in speech contests

    The Ag 1 quiz bowl team placed fourth and qualified for state. On the second day of the event, the animal science quiz bowl team placed second and qualified for state.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danna Zook cutout web.jpg Producers need to consider cow supplements

    Springtime for many Oklahoma producers often means calving time.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Master Gardener logocmyk.jpg It’s time to dirty hands

    Bees are venturing out to visit the new flowers. Keep a close watch on your garden. Often, helpful pest-destroying insects are out, getting ready to work for you, also. These, and the bees helpfully pollinating flowers, shouldn’t be discouraged by the undiscriminating spraying of insecticides.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - 4H web.jpg 4-H’ers meet with state lawmakers

    Sen. Eddie Fields spoke to the group upon their arrival at the Capitol.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canola tour to have stops in area

    The tour will be held at the canola field of Flying G Farms located 91⁄2 miles west of Orienta on U.S. 412 and then north into the field.

    April 12, 2014

  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Money up front can mean bigger returns later

    Implants are a safe, effective technology that typically offer a 10-to-1 return on investment.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFA logo.jpg 9 area students to receive WLC program scholarships

    FFA members will tour our nation’s capital, visit with members of Congress and perform a service learning project within the Washington area, while building friendships with fellow FFA members from across the nation.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFA logo.jpg NW Oklahoma FFA members named proficiency finalists

    Three finalists are selected in each of 49 agricultural proficiency award categories. The state winner in each area will be announced April 30 during the 88th State FFA Convention held at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads