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Some of the world’s best hay comes from the UP, but rain threatens this year’s harvest

Aug 23, 2017

It’s been a pretty rotten year for the farmers who grow timothy hay, a Michigan crop that's not very familiar to most.

Timothy hay soaked with water on Bruce Berkompas' farm
Credit Courtesy of Bruce Berkompas

Timothy hay is an important feed for horses, cattle and small animals, like pet bunnies and guinea pigs, among others.

Some of the best timothy hay comes from the eastern Upper Peninsula, but farmers there are enduring a season that will go into the record books for all the wrong reasons.

Bruce Berkompas is president of the Chippewa County Farm Bureau. His family has grown timothy hay in Rudyard for generations.

“There’s a saying out there that says you know, 'This is one of them years that I’d have been better off taking money and go to the casino,'” Berkompas said, “'because I maybe would have had more fun and not near as much frustration.'”

He said farmers who rely on hay sales will be hurting this year.

Listen above to learn which weather conditions have made that the case, and what ground that’s “like a clay pot” has to do with it.

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