By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News


ARGYLE – The recent downpour of rain hasn’t been enough to help ease the the dilemma facing North Texas farmers and ranchers. The months of extreme heat and the continued lack of rain over the summer has further complicated a hay shortage in the region.

The drought has driven up the cost of hay and has forced ranchers to search out of state for the essential supply of food.

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In the aftermath of what was a record-breaking hot, dry summer, lush pastures and the availability of hay are memories, but they both are a vital source of food at the Ranch Hand Rescue in Argyle.

“Financially, it’s the worse we’ve ever seen,” Bob Williams with Ranch Hand Rescue said. “Our last two shipments of hay we got from Louisiana.”

Williams runs the rescue facility for abused horses and animals. As his animals scrounge for edible greens, he worries about how much green he needs to keep his horses fed.

Williams says the cost of hay has tripled – from about $70-$80 per bale, to about $240 per bale. What’s more, he says, the cost to ship available hay is cutting into his budget.

“It’s not the cost of hay – it’s the fuel to get it here,” Williams explained. “Right now, we’re seeing about $4 a mile, that’s what we paid to get it from Louisiana.”

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Now, the Fort Worth Stockyards Championship Rodeo is organizing a fundraiser – Hay for Horses. Money generated from ticket sales will help curb Williams’ cost to buy hay.

“This was something that was brought to our attention and we’re going to go forward with it whole-heatedly,” said Nate Krieger with the Fort Worth Stockyards. “It’s just so sparse – we need to get some things in for these animals.”

Animals like those being nursed back to health at Ranch Hand Rescue.

“I think when people notice the weather cool off, they think it’s not as serious – but this drought is a serious thing and we’re going to be in need for quite a while,” Krieger said.

The fundraiser is set for Friday, September 23 at 8PM. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the rescue center and its efforts to buy hay.

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Williams says his facility will also distribute the hay to other non-profit organizations that help abandoned or abused animals.