Hay Co-Operative Welcomes New Members

Ontario Hay and Forage Co-Operative banner (hands holding hay, a red container ship, cows feeding)

The recently formed Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative Inc. is welcoming more producers to join its start-up hay-processing and export development venture. The Co-operative will be holding public meetings for interested hay producers in Woodstock, Elmwood, and Lindsay on February 1st and 4th.

Meetings will be held at the following locations:

Woodstock: Quality Inn (Altidor Room) Monday, February 1st, 1:00 pm
Elmwood: Elmwood Community Centre Monday, February 1st, 7:00 pm 38 Queen Street West
Lindsay: OMAFRA Board Room, Thursday, February 4th, 1:00 pm 322 Kent Street West

The Co-op will provide an overview of its exciting new venture and update on the progress it has made in its initial organisation and membership drive. The Co-operative’s plan is to build a major doublecompacting hay facility in Southern Ontario which will ship farm-dried hay to emerging overseas export markets.

“We’re inviting all Ontario producers to join our innovative hay Co-operative,” said Fritz Trauttmansdorff, Chair of the newly formed Co-op. “By drying their hay and producing a consistently superior product, Ontario hay producers will gain access to higher value overseas export markets.”

Members of the Co-operative’s technology committee will be on hand to present their preliminary report on various big bale dryers currently on the market and their research into some of the new dryers under development. “This will be a great opportunity for producers to ask questions about the costs and benefits of drying hay,” noted Co-op Director Chris Martin, Chair of the technology committee.

Although still at an early start-up stage, the Co-operative has already established solid contacts within the industry and has gained the support of all sectors of the forage industry including equipment suppliers, seed dealers, crop input suppliers and end users. Already more than 30 hay producers have signed up as members of the Co-op.

The Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative will be conducting a comprehensive feasibility study to determine the economic viability of the proposed hay-processing facility. The hay compacting facility is projected to handle up to 100,000 tonnes annually and estimated to cost between $10 and $15 million. The feasibility study will determine the size and costs of the project more clearly and will identify the specific markets to be targeted. The Co-operative has collaborated closely with the Ontario Forage Council in the initial development of this project.

Directors of the Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative are Fritz Trauttmansdorff, Don Rowntree, Jonathon Blydorp, Larry Davis, André Larocque, Chris Martin, and Chris Riach. The Co-operative has retained the services of co-op business consultant George Alkalay of Northfield Ventures Ltd. to prepare the feasibility study and provide support with overall project development.

For more information, please contact:
Fritz Trauttmansdorff, Chair
(519) 647-2311

Ontario Hay and Forage Co-Operative, Inc.