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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 19, 2007

CONTACT:

Brian Long, director                       
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
                       
(919) 733-4216, ext. 242

N.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
donates $18,000 to NCDA&CS hay-relief efforts

RALEIGH – The N.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has donated $18,000 to help North Carolina farmers cope with a massive hay shortage brought on by extreme drought, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced today.

 The funding will assist the Ag and Equine Partners hay relief programs. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services set up the programs to help livestock and horse owners defray a portion of the cost of transporting hay from outside the state to their farms.

“I want to thank the congregations of our state’s Evangelical Lutheran Church for their generosity and compassion for their neighbors,” Troxler said. “This contribution greatly enhances our efforts to help livestock owners across North Carolina.”

The Rev. Dr. Leonard Bolick, bishop of the N.C. Synod, said that because North Carolina did not suffer from a hurricane this year, church leaders decided to redirect money from the N.C. Synod Lutheran Disaster Response Fund toward drought relief.

“Many of our synod’s 238 congregations are in rural areas,” Bolick said. “They know that when farmers are hurting, it impacts not only their families but their communities as well. The damage from this widespread drought is a true disaster for family farms.”

In addition to the original contribution to the department’s relief programs, the Lutheran synod has started “No Hay in the Manger,” an effort to collect hay-relief donations from its Lutheran members and the community. Almost $2,000 was donated in the first weeks. See www.nclutheran.org to contribute. Money collected will be sent to the department’s fund.

The NCDA&CS is helping farmers connect with one another through the Hay Alert Web site (www.ncagr.com/HayAlert), which allows farmers to place free listings seeking or selling hay. It also has a section for finding or offering hay transportation services. Listings are searchable by county, state and forage type. Farmers also can use the Hay Alert service by calling toll free at 1-866-506-6222 weekdays. Operators will take callers’ information and add it to the Web site or search the database for them.

Organizations and businesses interested in contributing to Ag Partners or Equine Partners may contact Chrissy Lucas at (919) 733-7125, ext. 255, or christina.lucas@ncagr.gov.

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NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 733-4216; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture

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