“HAY FOR SALE!” Driving down a lonely country road in the middle of Smalltown, USA, you are more than likely to see a sign screaming at you in bright red letters about hay. This seems to be the way it has always been when you have some extra hay to spare for the year. There may be an ad placed in the local newspaper, phone calls made to friends and acquaintances who have cows or a dairy, or a sign posted on the side of the road with a number to call. While these methods are still common practice, a beginning hay farmer or someone looking to expand their operation may need new ways to reach a broader audience.
This was true in the case of Adam Verner whose family owned a hay farm in Madison, Georgia. The family farm had been in the Verner name for over 135 years; at its peak producing over 40,000 square hay bales, and 5,000 round bales were produced while also importing more hay and haylage from western states. This hay went to many ranches and dairies around the state and horse facilities in the Atlanta area as well as many bales going to the UGA Vet Science School. Verner Farms learned over the years that nothing sold hay better than just producing good, high quality hay.
“If you’ve got good hay, it will sell itself,” Verner says.
Verner believes, rather than marketing your hay to your neighbors and friends, entering it into hay contests such as the Southeastern Hay Contest, where winners are recognized at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, and the Georgia Farm Bureau Hay Contest is good practice in addition to donating it to local shows where hay is needed. With these tactics, the hay’s quality can speak for itself.
“Being a dependable producer that always provides a quality product will keep you in business,” says Verner. “It also helps to put yourself and your product out there through being involved in the industry.”
After Verner’s grandparents passed, the farm was sold, but the love for agriculture, and of course quality hay, still lives in his heart. He now owns a tractor dealership in Leesburg, Georgia, where he specializes in dairy, beef, and commercial hay equipment. He carried his ideals of being a dependable businessman with knowledge of the hay industry into his new venture and because of this, owns a thriving enterprise.