Northwest Georgia native David Swanson is sending some love back to the residents of his hometown — all the way from Mississippi — in the form of bales of hay.
Owner of Double S Ranch, a cattle farm that called Walker County home for 60 years, Swanson knows the importance hay, and the problems that a drought such as this years can cause for a cattle farmer and their herd. So in an effort to pay it forward, Swanson is shipping truckloads of free hay back to Walker County via an 18-wheeler tractor trailer.
"My sister's trucking company is hauling the hay for me," Swanson said. "She hauls 32 bales of hay per load. And 600 bales of hay have been hauled so far."
Back in the 1980s, Swanson said, Walker County went through a drought similar to the one it is facing now, with much of the area catagorized as either "severe" or "extreme" drought by the National Weather Service.
"Back then, getting hay for cattle during a drought [meant we had to go] through extension agencies," Swanson said. "When we got hay that time, some hay came all the way from California. And all the farmers in Northwest Georgia were able to get hay. Back then people donated hay and most of it came in on the railroad. I asked if something like that was going on now. I was told they might get hay in November, but what [are] the cows going to eat 'til November?
"We've had lots of rain and we wanted to donate the hay. We have been donating hay and they pay the freight on it. If people want more than one load, we charge a fair price."
And because Swanson's family was once helped the same way, he said he and his family felt obligated to return the favor.
"It was our turn to help people that did not have hay to feed their cows this time," said Swanson.
Email Katie Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.