Hay The Latest Target For Thieves As Prices Skyrocket

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – If the drought wasn’t enough for farmers and ranchers to struggle with, now they are facing a growing threat.  Thieves are targeting pastures and barns for suddenly valuable hay bales.

It’s the nature of ranchers like James Lockridge to give you something if you need it badly enough. “Come up and ask us. Surely we can work something out.”

Mitch Waters runs a feed store that’s such a fixture, people drive 50 miles to shop there.  “Got out of school in 77 and been here ever since.”

But now both men, are putting their livelihoods behind locks.  Signs are posted, keep out. They know where all the area security cameras are, and are intent on protecting something that’s never been worth as much as it is right now.  “Our convenient hay barn here, for just the drive up customers.”

Yes, hay, is the new target for thieves.  Round bales that used to sell for $20 are now topping $175.

The night watchman at Master Made Feed in Grapevine has scared off a half dozen prowlers already, and Lockridge says he’s lost more than 150 bales from a Grand Prairie Field – a $26,000 loss.

“If you want to steal a bale of hay. We’re going to press charges on you. You get caught stealing hay. You’re going to jail. We’re just not even going to play around no more,” says Lockridge.

It’s so valuable and becoming so rare that even the hay falling off the bales on the back of a truck is being picked up, put in bags and sold.

“It’s going to be a secured product because people are going to be in need of it and who knows what’s going to take place this winter,” says Winters.

With winter around the corner Lockridge is worried about having enough to feed his own animals, and is hurrying to get everything secured in lots now locked or guarded by round the clock security.

Hay is becoming so rare that Master Made Feed is paying people a finders fee if they can hook them up with willing sellers.


One Comment

  1. HAAAAY! says:

    There’s a gay horse joke in there somewhere, I just know it!

  2. tpc4545 says:

    The round bales are outlawed in some states,because the cows were not getting a square meal.

    1. bill says:


  3. nomad says:

    Who would ever guess that grass could be worth as much as…..”Grass” 😉

  4. ssr2011 says:

    How are these thieves picking up a 800 – 1200 lbs roll of hay. They range in size from 3x4ft to 5x6ft, you’re not just going to throw it in the back of your pickup.

    1. cropdoc says:

      He is talking about small square bales: 60 pounds each.

      1. tejanodiablo says:

        a square bale doesn’t sell for $175. .. a round bale does

      2. cropdoc says:

        The writer is talking about picking up small square bales or busted round bales on the side of the road. The price he spoke of was related to half ton bales (round or square). Hay for the real ag world sells by the ton. Alfalfa is $300/ton FOB farm gate. Coastal is $240/ton FOB farm gate. Good luck finding either.

      3. Gbird says:

        I don’t know saying that, “and Lockridge says he’s lost more than 150 bales from a Grand Prairie Field – a $26,000 loss.” sure makes it sound like it’s the big bales being stolen. 26,000/150= 173.3333333.

    2. RAN says:

      Actually you can put one of the large rolls of hay in the back of your full size pick up. You just need the right equipment. All it requires is a winch mounted in the bed of your pickup and then you weld a bar with a spike on it sort of like a fifth wheel rig. You hook the winch to the bale, drag it onto your bed, and as you are doing so align it so the spike goes through the center. Lift it up and off you go.

  5. HCM says:

    It is amazing to me how stupid some people are when it comes to livestock and agriculture…..Some of the above comments verify that.

    1. Get A Sense Of Humor says:

      Uh, that’s how much the bales weigh, genius. Are you in farm/ag? Unless you’re referring to the JOKES about gay horses, weed, and square meals. JOKES, Cletus, they’re JOKES.

      1. Rintx says:

        In Texas we’ve lost over 3,000 homes to the wildfires (that’s over 100,000 people displaced), ponds and lakes have gone dry because of the drought putting livestock at risk, and the lack of hay is pushing many people financially to the brink which is why people are stealing hay. It’s NOT A JOKE here. I guess there are people in this country who don’t understand the problem here because the majority of the media doesn’t live in this area so doesn’t report on it. “Jokes” made about someone else’s tragedy just shows the low class nature of the “joker”.

      2. pgabdo says:

        Thankyou Rintx, they have not a clue but we do.

  6. George Taylor says:

    This is no joke to Texas farmer’s – next year it could be some other state suffering from little or no rain fall. I’ve been where these folks find themselves and brother it is no fun and very costly to hang onto your herds. Before you city slicker who crack jokes – we will see who get’s the last laugh – because this will cost beef prices to esclate tremendously – and suddlenly that’s not so funny – is it?

    1. ..... says:

      No tax money to foolish people! Keep your nasty beef. I eat deer you want water move to where the water is you fools. pure Michigan Now Texas comes crying who’s the welfare moma now? the federal government was built on westward expansion we in the east have been paying more then our share for to long!

      1. Native Texan says:

        Mr or Mrs ……. FYI, the situation in Texas has also affected the deer population (like DUH!) no water for beef, no water for wildlife. And as far as Texans crying, stop projecting on us what you would do. I saw Texans working hard after several hurricanes and the recent wildfire’s to recover, rebuild and replace. THere was almost no one crying “Help me help me!” like evidently we would see from you!. Texan don’t need your kind of “help” or “welfare”we are fine on our own and will make it on our own. Our “welfare” starts at the end of our own arms with Texas Hands helping Texas recover. Welfate is apparently for you Easterners. Time for us to secede!

  7. Mario says:

    This site reports your IP address to Facebook

    1. Chicago Nick says:

      Not if you don’t sign in with Facebook connect. 😉

      1. RAN says:

        You need to read this article by Nik Cubrilovic regarding that.

  8. Scatkat says:

    Hay thieves are not just in Texas. We had twenty bales stolen out of our storage barn last week and we’re in Florida, where almost everyone here has plenty of pasture grass thanks to all the rain that we have had over the last few months. The hay was purchased over the summer with extra money so that we would have enough to feed our horses this winter. Because money is tight right now, we were trying to stock up so to speak.

  9. Chicago Nick says:

    What the hay? 😉 Man these lowlives will steal anything and we never heard of these kinds of lowlife thefts of infrastructure, air conditioner units, furnaces, anything not bolted down until that certain segment of people started illegally consuming the nation from the inside out. NEVER>

    I never heard of someone stealing manhole covers and the likes in my 47 years on this earth and we’ve been through tough times before and didn’t have this going on.

  10. D. Carson says:

    I’ve been driving on I-10 and I-20 in Louisiana this last week. Today I saw 5 flat bed trucks each with at least 20 round bails of hay headed West. Early in the week I was on I-10 and saw 10 trucks with hay headed West. They must have been headed to Texas. If this is happening every day someone is buying a lot of hay.

  11. cropdoc says:

    Hay is being shipped in from as far away as Canada for Alfalfa, Arizona for coastal, Mississippi for Bahia, and many other places. The 2nd La Nina has begun and we are in part two of a bad dream. This next year will be just the same based on NOAA forecasts as of last week.

    Texas produces massive amounts of beef for the US, South Korea, and Japan. This same area produces the forages and feed for these cattle. Now, we have neither and included in this are New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. When everyone wakes up they won’t be able to afford hamburfer, milk, ice cream, peanut butter, or many other things.

    1. notarancher says:

      I’m not the best person to throw the first stone, but it certainly shows that we should be trying to get local economies going. (With the prices of oil going up).

      Good luck to all.

  12. stoxrox says:

    Eat more chikkin’

  13. Tyrnandy says:

    HI bt.degunino.net

  14. Todd says:

    It won’t be so funny when similiar articles are written in the not too distant future about loaves of bread.

  15. Rann Xeroxx says:

    When my wife and I went to the Michigan Upper Peninsula we noted how many farms were just growing hey and wondered about that. Now this story clears that up.

  16. BuBu says:

    Grammatically speaking, this is one of the worst news articles ever written and posted on the internet. Either Jason Allen is an absolute dumb ass or the hot intern who typed it up and posted it online for him is an absolute dumb ass (which still makes Jason an absolute dumb ass for not checking her work). Either way, it’s a horridly written piece. I don’t even have an English or journalism degree, I can run circles around all the bozos who think they’re reporters.

    Take the following three examples:

    1) But now both men, are putting their livelihoods behind locks.

    2) Yes, hay, is the new target for thieves.

    3) If you want to steal a bale of hay. We’re going to press charges on you.

    If I have to explain what is wrong with the above examples, then you need to turn your computer off and became a hay thief.

    1. harland says:

      Here In North Dakota, oil field pipe is coming in from Texas and those trucks are loaded with hay going back. Good hay around here is 160 to 180 a ton compared to 1/3 of that last year, then you have to add a good 90 for freight. I don’t know how ranchers can afford to pay that. I’d sell the cattle and buy them back when conditions improve.

      1. Sharon G says:

        Unfortunately not many people can or will buy the cattle and feed them through the winter. Texas isn’t the only place where money to pay for feed is tight. It is bad all through the States. The problem is that in Texas they don’t have the feed to buy and thus the product has to be trucked in and the price goes up even higher. If I had a truck and trailer I’d fill it with hay and take it down, just for the cost of my gas. I feel so sorry for the ranchers. Just remember, ranching and farms are the back bone of our country. We need them.

  17. harland says:

    No Sharon. There is always a market. They are not going to let these cattle starve.

  18. rozehr says:

    This dairy farmer’s wife in NNY feels only sadness toward our southern states miseries. You have to walk in another’s shoes to understand. Please, folks, don’t pass judgement when you don’t know the pain. I will not be surprised to see the day, soon, when there will be many more of us being hard-pressed to find a meal.

  19. jesse says:

    Man, this is just sad. It’s disturbing how hard times are getting for some people. Hay suddenly a high target value item…. ouch.

    1. harland says:

      Hard times yes but caused by drought, nothing else. Our climate is fickle, sometimes too dry- sometimes too wet. Ranchers know this and roll with the punches. It’s never easy and usually costly but the rewards can offset it. As has been stated, the best help is at the end of your own arms.

  20. April Reeves says:

    This is such a sign of the downfall of the US in both economy and human suffering. It flows nicely into the Wall Street protests: people are desperate and desperate people do desperate things…. At least the protesters are asking for relief and change before they do the same…

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