Transport hamstrings hay help

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OTTAWA, Ont. – The recent hay lotteries in Alberta and Saskatchewan could be expanded by more than 10,000 bales if not for a critical missing link in the supply chain.

Pierre Brodeur, co-chairman of the Hay West campaign in Ottawa, says some 200 railway cars are needed to ship hay to western farmers desperate to feed their livestock.

“I’m sure I could fill another 200 railway cars because of the abundance of pledges coming in,” he insists. “That’s how the (hay) crop is and people are so generous. It’s overwhelming. The phone is ringing off the hook.”

Unfortunately, Brodeur says free transportation is the key to getting the support where it’s needed most. He plans to again approach CP and CN Rail, which together have already donated 187 cars. His hope is the Canadian rail giants will cough up more space.

“As we ask for more cars, we sense more resistance,” says Brodeur. “We felt more resistance for the last 100 cars. But the railway companies have been extremely co-operative up to now.”

Brodeur says CN has donated 50 cars: 20 have been assigned to two centres in Ontario, 15 to two centres in Quebec, 10 for New Brunswick and P.E.I., and five for Nova Scotia.

“The people in Belleville, Ont., were assigned 10 cars and they’re all disappointed because they could have filled 30, they say,” he says, for example.

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