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High hay prices hurt farmers, ranchers

High Hay Prices Hurt Farmers, Ranchers

PUEBLO, Colo. - Aaron Yanker could have bought hay from a nearby farmer in Pueblo County. Instead, he bought it from a Nebraska farmer.

"It's frustrating because you want to support the local guy," Yanker said.

It's not that he couldn't find hay in Pueblo County, just not for $180 a ton. "If hay keeps going up and if we don't keep letting guys irrigate some hay ground, there's not gonna be any cattle in the country," he said.

Soon, there may not be anymore horses in his stable. Yanker says if hay keeps going up in price, he'll have to put them up for sale.

"If it keeps going up the way it is, for sure one. If it keeps going up any further, sell another one. And then at a certain point you just gotta get what you can for them," Yanker said.

But what outrages him most is knowing that one of his relatives in Otero County will soon have his water well shut off because of the drought. He says that's only going to hurt farmers and ranchers in southeastern Colorado, and eventually him.

Yanker said, "Instead of shutting off irrigation water, they should put mandatory restrictions on public golf courses and residential areas rather than just coming in and having a knee-jerk reaction and saying we're gonna turn your water off."

The Colorado Water Protective and Development Association will shut off water supply to its members on April 1. Now, farmers and ranchers are looking for other avenues to get water.

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