Farmers using Facebook to buy and sell hay; Facebook page 'The Hay Connection' started two weeks ago, now has more than 7,000 fans

TULSA, Oklahoma , August 29, 2011 () – The Oklahoma drought has started a trend that merges business and a social network.

The Tulsa World reports that farmers have been using Facebook as a way to buy and sell hay this month.

About two weeks ago, Clint Round of Glenpool began a Facebook site called The Hay Connection. Round's brother, Casey Round of Big Cabin helps administer the site that now has more than 7,000 fans.

At first, the brothers posted ads from other sites and served as a go-between. Now they say buyers and sellers are using the site to find each other, adding an element of convenience to a difficult time.

"The hay haulers say they're doing five times more business than before we started it," Casey Round said.

The Rounds were raised on a ranch in Jay, and both hold agriculture-related degrees from Oklahoma State University. Both said they have relatives and friends in agriculture and just wanted to help others. They are not earning any money from the site, they said.

"The reason it's working is its neighbors helping neighbors and friends helping friends," Clint Round said. "It's a down-home, agricultural community with good people helping good people."

Many farmers in dry areas reported that they were able to produce only about a third of the hay they did last year. Most either had to buy hay or sell off some of their herds, he said.

Ranchers from the Southwest typically are the ones in need of hay, but people from California to New York have been interested in buying hay this year.

"Even someone from New Jersey wanted hay," Clint Round said.

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