In fact according to recent Harvard study, hay is not just for horses. Hay is a fabulous source of fiber, is low in cost, and is widely available. For decades the hay industry has been stifled by this harmful myth of hay being 'just for horses.' Many within the industry believe it was an insidious lie promulgated by the makers of oatmeal like Quaker, and Carnation Instant Breakfast. Bill Turley, a hay farmer from western Pennsylvania has been trying to undercover what he calls "the hay hater conspiracy" for years.
"I'm just trying to make an honest living. I sew my fields, and reap them when they're ready. My hay is some of the finest you can buy, but for some reason people only want to buy it for their horses. Little do they know that sheep, goats, cattle, and even people can eat it too. Why, every morning I wake up to a steamy bowl of haymeal and radish drink. It's delicious. I might look like I'm 35, but I'm 72. It's all because of the hay. But no, those stupid oatmeal quakers have to shrink my market with the whole 'hay is for horses' campaign."
Mr. Turley has brought up his concerns before, even picketing by his town hall with signs strapped to himself and some of his farm animals. The signs are more clever than one might expect from a hay farmer. On his sheep the sign says, "Baaaaai like hay too." On his cows, taking from the Chick-Fil-a commercial campaign, is written "Eat more hay." But, his own sign is more direct with the inscription, "Eat haymeal for breakfast! Screw the Quakers." It might be easy to see why he has lost some supporters. Confused quakers who live next to his farm now refuse to do business with him. When he tried to explain they just threw instant oatmeal in his face.
"It's a tough rode I travel, but I believe deep down that one day hay will take its rightful place on the throne of whole grain foods," said Mr. Turley.
I think we can all agree that Mr. Turley's cause is a noble, but hard one. The misconception is so widespread that even his horses get ornery when he reaches in their feed bags for a handful of hayliciousness, even nipping him and stomping around their corrals in angst.
Good luck Mr. Turley.