A nationwide shortage of hay has set the horse world on its ear: You can buy a horse at auction in Michigan for what it costs -- $40 -- to buy two bales of Michigan-grown hay in Florida.
With hay so costly, horse owners here are dumping their stock either because they can't afford to feed the animals or they fear they won't have enough hay to last through the winter.
It's a bad situation and I especially hate to hear that a state that is having economic troubles on so many levels is facing this situation. But the part of the story that irritates me is this.
It began last spring when farmers eyeing the ethanol market planted more acres of corn and less hay.
Sounds perfectly reasonable and logical. The only problem it isn't true and the sad part is that the information is so easy to find that there really is no excuse as to why reporters don't check this information out.
Let's look at the harvested acreage for hay for the last two years.
2007 - 61,789,000 acres
2006 - 60,807,000 acres
Source : USDA
So it is obvious that last spring acres weren't diverted from hay production into corn. Not to say that there isn't a hay shortage, last year drought in parts of the country including my own limited hay production. Things like that can't be controlled, but fair reporting can be.