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Local horse farmer finds solution to growing hay costs

The drought continues to worsen here in North Carolina. Because rain isn't falling the price of crops, like hay, are rising. That means horse owners are having a tough time keeping up with the cost of feeding their animals. The drought is making it so expensive to feed horses, many people can't afford it. Horse rescue agencies are taking in a record number of horses in recent months after the dramatic price increase for hay many of those horses rescued in North Carolina. But at the Desperado Horse Farm in Rocky Point, it's feast not famine. Thanks to a little ingenuity and foresight on the part of its owner, Chris Lutterloah. "We immediately started clearing land preparing land and growing winner rye for the winter," Lutterloah said. It was that green, that saved him some. In the summer months he planted grass on more than 20 acres, that would grow to feed his 20 horses. "They graze on that. We turn them out as much as we can to save our hay supply," Lutterloah said, "We are just as happy with this rye grass as Donald Trump would be with a new casino." In some parts of the country, a bale of hay that used to cost $12 can now go for as much as $100. That dramatic price increase is partly the reason why many farmers are forced to sell off their horses at bargain prices. "There's people selling horses worth several thousand dollars and they're selling them for hundreds of dollars." Lutterloah says all in all he's pretty lucky thanks to some good contacts. He only pays $4 a bale, when he paid $2.50. But buying 200 to 300 bales at a time, that $1.50 can add up. If it hadn't been for greener pastures that price difference could be tough to swallow. The price of horse feed has also gone up. One local feed store says because of the drought, a bag of horse feed has gone up from $6 last year to nearly $8 this year.

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