Hay is Going West!
The story of Eastern Canada helping Western Canada in 2002

How Can People Make A Donation To Help With The Hay West Relief Effort?

Donations are used to offset costs to farmers and others of moving hay to the rail collection points. 

By credit card. Contact the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
toll-free number at 1-888-678-CFHS (2347). 

At any Bank of Nova Scotia branch across the country. 

In Ottawa, at any CS CO-OP outlet. 
CS CO-OP Bank in Ottawa (1-800-667-2667), cheques can be made 
out to ‘Doucet ITF HAYWEST’  or by quoting account number: 459 8932 

Also check on line www.needfeed.com 

For more Donation Information  - 

Note: All hay being sent west must be fumigated even if it is sent by truck. 
          The Canadian Federal Government will pay for the fumigation. 

December 18, 2002 

Willard and Wyatt McWilliams, a father and son who farm at Navan near Ottawa are honoured by the City of Ottawa and receive the keys of the city from Mayor Charelli for their work with Hay West.

October 31, 2002 - tdc's FarmGate

It is ending at the same place it started - Navan Ontario.  It is here today that the last shipment of hay was being assembled for its shipment west. 

Some 110,000 tonnes of hay have been shipped west as result of the creative generosity of farmers of Eastern Ontario who have tried to make a difference by shipping excess hay from their own fields to their fellow farmers in Western Canada who have suffered the worst drought since the dust bowls of the 30's. 

It was the men and women in Eastern and Western Canada  who donated countless hours of their time - manning phones, making lunches and providing information to reporters and government officials who really made this happen.  Say Hay  concerts raised money, the railway who donated their rail cars and assembly areas and the federal government donated fumigation services for all the hay going west.

Over 1 Million Dollars  have been raised to help transport the hay from the fields in the east into the stomachs of cattle who were starving in Western Canada.

Hay West was led by Willard and Wyatt McWilliams, a father and son who farm at Navan  near Ottawa

Donated hay came from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

As one of the organizers in Navan today said.... We were just trying to help our friends in the West.

October 14, 2002 - Canadian Press

Calgary — Canada's country music stars came together on the weekend for two benefit concerts to raise cash for drought-stricken Prairie farmers.

"You're here tonight because you want to give and we're also here tonight to raise money," said actor-songwriter Tom Jackson, who along with Michelle Wright and Danny Hooper co-hosted three hours of the Calgary concert.

"If we had 30,000 people and they each gave a dollar, we'd have $30,000. But do you know how many people we have in this country? We have 30 million people," he said.

"We've got some stuff to take care of here."

The same show a day earlier at Edmonton's Skyreach Centre drew more than 12,000 people. About 9,500 tickets were sold for the Calgary show.

Mr. Jackson, who was the driving force behind the benefit concert last year for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said Say Hay was an opportunity he couldn't resist.

Say Hay officials said they had received $1-million before the concerts began and added another $500,000 in ticket revenue.

September 26, 2002 Canadian Press

Regina — Recent rains have replenished hay supplies in Saskatchewan, prompting some farm groups and bureaucrats to question whether it is necessary to continue spending millions shipping in hay from Ontario. 

Hay West, the campaign by eastern Canadian farmers to transport donated hay to their drought-stricken Prairie counterparts, has received $3.8-million from the federal government and $500,000 from private donors.

Companies around the country have made cash and in-kind donations and next month some 28 musical artists are holding a Say Hay benefit concert to raise funds for the campaign.

But critics say there is enough feed in Saskatchewan to deal with regional shortages after substantial rains in August improved pasture conditions and gave many farmers a late hay crop. 

They argue donations that have been pouring in for the campaign would be better spent on transporting Saskatchewan hay to those areas that still need feed. 

September 20, 2002 - CBC

CBC Radio Canada reported that 100,000 tonnes of hay had been shipped to Western Farmers  from Eastern Canadian Farms and more is on its way. 

September 19, 2002 - Kingston Whig - Jack Chiang

Packed ferry helps launch Wolfe Island haylift

Local farmers who want to help their drought-stricken counterparts in Western Canada will first have to surmount one obstacle. 

It’s a big obstacle: They’ve found that donating the hay is the easy part. Getting it on the train to Western Canada is a lot more difficult than expected. 

And getting the hay off Wolfe Island, where two-thirds of the donated hay comes from, is very difficult indeed. 

Jason Pyke is one of the 20 Wolfe Island farmers who have donated hay to help farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. He said that the Wolfe Islander ferry made a special 4:45 a.m. run yesterday to get a boatload of hay off the island. 

“We almost had a full load of vehicles – 12 different wagons, farm wagons and one highway tractor – and we had a police escort to the rail site where the hay was loaded,” Pyke said. 

“We had 212 bales of hay loaded today.” 

The total amount of hay from the Wolfe Island farmers is 3,000 bales. An additional 1,500 bales have been pledged by farmers on the mainland. 

August, 28, 2002 - tdc's FarmGate - Letter Received

My name is Terri Ross-Michaud. I live in Alberta. My daughters, my son an myself raise Morgan and Arabian horses. We are desperate for hay for our animals. We have found 50 bales of hay that we can have for free. This hay is in the Lydhurst area. I need 30 bales and have a friend who has Llamas who need 6 bales. The rest can be donated to another family that has advertised on www.needfeed.com  or the CBC radio need hay site. Three families could be able to feed their animals during the winter. This hay will be a life saver. The problem is we are here in Alberta and the hay is in Ontario. I need to know if there is any way of getting it to us. With all the publicity going around, there must be somebody who can help. I am not necessary asking for free transportation , though it would not be turned away, but I can't afford thousands of dollars either. What I can afford is around $800.00-$850.00. I know this is not much but it is close to one month of my total yearly income. If there is any way you can help or at least point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated and a wonderful blessing.

You can contact me at 1-867-995-9529..or email me dgjvm@telusplanet.net 

Thank You - Terri 

August 23, 2002 - Globe and Mail

The largest load of hay donated to drought-stricken farmers so far was divvied up among 400 Alberta cattle producers today.

The feed is being delivered to the Prairie producers as part of a national campaign called Hay West, in which farmers from eastern Canada are sending bales of extra hay to the bone-dry West, which is suffering from lack of rainfall, a grasshopper infestation and, as a result, dwindling foodstocks.

August 19, 2002

Lyle Vanclief,  Federal Minister of Agriculture announces that the federal government will support the Hay West campaign to the tune of $2.2 million to pay for an additional 187 box cars, fumigation and shipping costs associated with shipping more Eastern Canada hay to western farmers.

Vanclief also said Saskatchewan farmers can expect to see $172 million of already announced relief money by October.

August 16, 2002  

Mary Hudson of Burnbrae Farms in Brockville suggests that it might be more efficient if western farmers ship their valuable breeding stock cattle east to over winter in Eastern Canada where they have more than enough hay to feed their own cattle. 

Alberta helps make Eastern generosity a Western Reality

Contributes $200,000 to Hay West baling project

Edmonton...Surplus hay standing in eastern Canadian fields is one step closer to helping feed Alberta's beleaguered livestock industry, thanks to $200,000 in Alberta government assistance to the Hay West program. 

Premier Ralph Klein said government funds will help harvest and bale bumper hay crops in Eastern Canada. 

August 15, 2002

Ottawa, August 15, 2002 - The Agricultural Institute of Canada Foundation (AIC Foundation) is pleased to announce a special project to help harvest and transport donated hay to send to farmers in Western Canada. "The Hay West Harvest Campaign is being initiated by the AIC Foundation because professional agrologists and agricultural scientists who work with and for farmers across Canada see the need. These professionals and others in the agriculture sector are in a position to see the need first hand. 

Through the AIC Foundation we can offer them, and donors across Canada, the chance to make a difference." says AIC Foundation President Wayne Wickens.

"AIC Foundation will collect donations and use those funds to help pay for the harvest and transport of donated hay that might not otherwise get to where it is needed most."

Eastern Ontario farmer Wyatt McWilliams is thrilled with the offer of support. "The generosity of farmers in donating baled hay and services has been just overwhelming, but there are so many more farmers out there who
want to help too. Every day we get offers from farmers who have hay standing in their fields, but they don't have the resources to harvest and transport it to the rail depot. The funds donated to the AIC Foundation will allow us to get more donated hay on the rails and heading to our farmer friends in western Canada."

The AIC Foundation encourages everyone who can to make a donation.

Funds collected will be used to hire the equipment to harvest and transport the donated hay from the farms to the rail depot. As a registered charitable organization, AIC Foundation will issue charitable receipts for the
donations it receives. Co-ordination of the harvest will be handled through the Hay West office in Ottawa.

To donate funds send a cheque or money order payable to the AIC
Foundation to:
The AIC Foundation
Hay West Harvest Campaign
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1112 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J3

To donate by credit card call 613 -232-9459 extension 303 or 306 during
business hours (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Ottawa time) or send a fax to

Farmers wishing to donate hay should contact the Hay West office at
1-866-HAY WEST (1-866-429-9378)

The AIC Foundation is a charitable organization. Its mandate includes developing programs for the agricultural community and general public with respect to the national importance of agriculture. The AIC Foundation has taken on the Hay West Harvest Campaign as a special project to assist in effort to harvest and transport donated hay to the drought stricken areas of western Canada.

For Information:

Jean Sullivan, PAg  Communications Coordinator - Agricultural Institute of Canada
141 Laurier Ave West  Suite 1112 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J3
T: 613-232-9459 ext 303
F: 613-594-5190
E: news@aic.ca 

August 8, 2002 - as reported by Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was in Smiths Falls Wednesday to watch 
some of the hay being loaded and announced $250,000 in federal aid 
to the Hay West campaign in Smiths Falls, Ont

With a little bit of friendly persuasion from the federal government, 
CN and CP Rail have freed up 187 rail cars. This could mean
24,000 tons of hay could be shipped west.


Photo: Tom Hanson/CP

Ottawa is providing Hay West, the volunteer program, with office space, a toll-free line for those wanting to help, 
1-866 HAY WEST, and $150,000 to cover some of the fuel and other costs to truck hay to the rail sidings.

August 5, 2002 - as reported by CTV News 

First shipments of hay have arrived in Wainwright Alberta. 

August 4, 2002 - 6.00 pm

All hay shipments have left Brockville.

August 2, 2002 - Reported by the CBC

CAMROSE, ALBERTA - They drew lottery tickets in Alberta Friday morning. 
The grand prize wasn't cash or a car, but bails of hay. 

Fifty lucky farmers had the winning tickets and they will be the first recipients of feed from a rail shipment expected to arrive from Eastern Ontario on Monday.

August 1, 2002 - 8.00 pm 

tdc's FarmGate finds that there are still sealed box cars of hay at the Brockville railway loading

August 1, 2002 - 10.30 am

The Toronto Star reports - The first of 27 rail cars loaded with 800 tonnes of hay started 
to move out of Brockville yesterday.

Brockville was the first gathering point, now another 15 CN Rail cars are being loaded in Ottawa, 
and 25 in Smiths Falls.

Jack Graham, mayor of Bristol, Que. and a friend of McWilliams, got involved a few days ago 
and five railcars will be picking up hay there.

In Alberta alone, 1.2 million of the province's 2 million cattle are facing starvation on parched pastures and empty barns.

It's estimated that 65 railcars of hay will feed 1,000 head for six months.

More than 4,000 ranchers have entered a lottery to receive the Hay West bounty, but less than 100 names will be drawn.

July 31, 2002 - 7.30 pm

Box Cars of Hay Being Fumigated

Box Cars Filled with Hay for Shipment to the West
Being Fumigated at the Brockville Rail Yard

Sign on the Box Cars

July 31, 2002 - 1.52 pm

National effort to feed livestock launched
Globe and Mail Update

After receiving calls from as far away as upper New York state to help drought-stricken prairie farmers, an Ottawa-based effort to transport hay from Ontario farmers to Western Canada has gone national.

Ottawa city councillor Clive Doucet, who was spearheading the effort along with councillor Phil McNeely, announced Wednesday that they had set up a national agency called "Hay West" to allow people from across Canada and the United States to raise money to move 25 rail cars loaded with hay to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

A spokeswoman in Mr. Doucet's office said that concerned Canadians from New Brunswick to Victoria have been flooding the coucillor's office with calls asking how they can donate to the cause.

Callers will be able to donate money through the Humane Society, which is the national charity who will be handling the books.

People will be able to get tax receipts for their contributions.

Mr. Doucet is challenging Ottawa residents to donate a dollar each.

However, organizers say that 25 loaded rail cars will not be enough to feed all of the hungry livestock.

Approximately 3,000 farmers in Alberta alone have put in their requests to enter the lottery, while 6,000 have entered in Saskatchewan.

Of those, it's expected that 30 lucky producers in Alberta will receive hay and between 25 and 45 from Saskatchewan.

Each producer will be given a semi-trailer load, roughly 15 tonnes.

The hay has been donated by farmers in Ontario and eastern Quebec over the past couple of weeks.

Although the hay has been sitting ready to send out to the Prairie provinces for several weeks, a federal fumigation order delayed the shipment. The fumigation was ordered last week by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to kill a pest called the cereal leaf beetle that could be lingering in the feed. 

The donated hay needs to air out after being fumigated. 

Alberta and Saskatchewan are free of the beetle, so the hay has to be treated before it's shipped out. 

Along with a hot, dry summer and bone-dry soil, Western farmers are also suffering from a grasshopper plague — the worst in a decade for Saskatchewan and one of the worst-ever for Alberta.

Canadian Alliance MP Kevin Sorenson, who represents the Alberta riding of Crowfoot, is handling the distribution along with fellow Alliance MP Myron Thompson from the riding of Wild Rose, Alta.

A voice-message on Mr. Sorenson's constituency office phone says that the province is no longer accepting entries for the lottery and that the winners will be selected next week.

The rail cars filled with hay are expected to leave Eastern Ontario between August 8th and the 13th.

July 30, 2002 - 6.00 pm

Box Cars  

 Box Cars are seen loaded at the 
 Brockville  Rail Yard.

Most of the hay that was seen piled upon previous 
visits has now been removed from the loading
area and presumed loaded into box cars
in preparation for fumigation. 



July 29, 2002 - 12.05 pm

We are Very Frustrated.  

These were the sentiments of volunteers who were "loading" hay into the railcars. The fact
was that there were hay bales that Eastern Ontario farmers had given stacked on the loading area
in Brockville but not railcars to be seen.  

The volunteers had been told that the fumigated preferred to fumigate the bales in closed box cars.  What the
fumigator failed to notice was that present day round hay bales do not fit easily into the doors of box cars
but are really good on flat bed box cars. 

Volunteers told FarmGate that they did not have the equipment to put the round bales into the box cars
and if they did, it would be very difficult. 

In the meanwhile, the volunteers sat on their loading equipment waiting for the railway to deliver them
empty box cars that they could load the hay.

July 27, 2002 

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen " The federal government is paying for the fumigation which is to take place today. The hay must then sit 48 hours before being moved." 

Reported in the Brockville Recorder and Times that a second shipment of hay is being considered by volunteer organizers.

July 26, 2002 4.00 pm

At the loading yards, tdc's FarmGate is told that they are presently loading hay into the rail cars.
When an organizer is asked if more hay is needed - She responds by saying that for the time being
this is enough.

July 26, 2002  1.00 pm

On a CBC noon hour call in radio show, one Eastern Ontario caller says that he has been shipping hay to Western
farmers and never has he been asked to fumigate his hay prior to shipping.

July 25, 2002 - 4.30 pm 

It is a Go! As announced to the organizers of the Hay West at the Brockville Railway yard. by a representative of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the man who will fumigate the hay bales.

They have given permission for the hay bales to be loaded into the railway cars.  When the cars are loaded they will be moved to a Brockville railway siding where the hay bales will be fumigated.

The organizers told tdc's FarmGate that they knew of at least 5 transports who had hay ready to ship to Brockville.  

This hay will be moved to the Brockville loading area
tomorrow and with a little luck and no more government
tinkering - the hay will be in the stomachs of western
cattle by the end of next week. 


Stephen Clare of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
consults with the fumigator at 4.30 pm in Brockville

July 25, 2002 - 2.00 pm --- from CBC Radio News 

There is a press conference held at the place in Brockville where all the bales of hay are stored ready to be shipped.
At this news conference a spokesperson from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency refused to give specifics on 
how the fumigation will be done, who will do it or when it will be done.  They basic say that it has to be done
on all shipments of hay to the Western Provinces. 

Only one truckload of hay has arrived at the Brockville Rail yard today. 

July 25, 2002 1.10 pm --- Brockville Ontario

FarmGate asked the Mayor of Brockville if he was going to allow the hay bales
to be fumigated in Brockville

The mayor responded via e-Mail - I don't know anything about the situation except what 
I heard from the media. I will check with the MOH.  (Ministry of Health) 

July 25, 2002 12.00 pm  --- Brockville Ontario 

A comment from a Ontario Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson stated that he did not know why there was
a problem because the cereal leaf beetle was common in the Praire Provinces and in the Plains States of the
United States. He also said that shipments of hay had been sent west in the past without being fumigated. 

He also pointed out the fumigation might be difficult because of the high density of some types of bales.

Some Link References about the Cereal Leaf Beetle
Montana State University
Purdue University
North Carolina State University
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

From a CBC report --- Thursday July 25, 2002 8.00 am

Ottawa city councillor Phil McNeely, who has been in the forefront of the effort to get farmers in the capital region – where weather conditions this year have provided a bumper crop of hay; to pitch in and help. 

His executive assistant, Rob Jellett, said Agriculture Canada surprised everyone with a phone call on Wednesday. 

The spokeswoman on the line told him the cereal leaf beetle, which is common in Ontario hay, isn't found in Alberta. "As a result, we cannot ship any hay that has not been fumigated," he said. 

That process would take several days, he said, and could jeopardize the entire campaign. 

"I have no idea how much it's going to cost or how quickly it can be done or if it's going to be allowed to be done," he said. "CN Rail, and naturally so, has some concerns about spraying of chemicals in their train yards." 

To fumigate these bales they must be covered, the fumigate used and kept under wraps for 72 hours.

Officials in Brockville have not commented on whether or not this will be allowed in their municipality. 

Wednesday July 24, 8.00 pm ---  Brockville Ontario

Canadian Western farmers are facing big losses as their fields are not producing because of the drought.
Farmers in Eastern Ontario have bumper crops and want to help by send hay west to their Prairie friends.

A meeting was held in Eastern Ontario on or about July 8th and an agreement was reached whereby Eastern Ontario producers would ship hay westward.  At this meeting was a Canadian government representative who did not voice
any concerns. 

On July 24, the first shipments were prepared to go west. From 6.00 am until 8.00 pm 
51 truckloads of hay were delivered to a loading area in Brockville.  The target is to get
500 tonnes to be sent to farmers in the west.

Then they were told to put everything on 
hold by an official of Agriculture Canada. 

 Here are some of the images that were recorded shortly after 8.00 pm on July 24, 2002

Five hundred tonnes will feed just 250 head of cattle -- less than the average herd -- for the winter. There are 6.6 million head of cattle in the province raised by 30,000 cattle farmers. Seventy-five per cent of the cattle in Canada are raised in Alberta. 

Your Comments About Hay West ?

Hay West: A Story of Canadians Helping Canadians

Who Do We Contact For Updates On The Hay West Relief Effort?
Ottawa Councillors Clive Doucet (613) 580-2487 and Phil McNeely (613) 580-2489, MP Don Boudria, 

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Hay West Site

Hay West Telephone Number Toll Free Line 1-866-HAYWEST (1-866-429-9378) 

Humane Society of Canada, Executive Director, Michael O’Sullivan (toll free 1-800-641-KIND, cell phone (416) 876-9685
      and by email www.humanesociety.com

If you have a Hay West Story you want to share with viewers on tdc's FarmGate 

Send it to tdc's FarmGate Hay West Story 



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