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Missouri Department of Agriculture warns producers about hay scams

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 8:51 pm

EFFERSON CITY—The Missouri Department of Agriculture reminds livestock producers to be wary of potential scams involving hay sales. The Department has received reports from producers who paid for hay upfront through a wire transfer, only to have no hay delivered. Dry conditions across much of Missouri has left pastures short and hay scarce, causing many livestock owners to search for hay from outside sources.

“We encourage livestock producers to use extra caution,” said Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “The vast majority of sellers are legitimate and honest. These few bad actors are taking advantage of a serious situation and hay shortage. Make sure the seller is legitimate before you purchase hay or any other products.”

The scams are driven primarily through fake accounts on social media. In most instances, the account appears real and gives no immediate indication of a scam.

Producers are encouraged to keep these tips in mind when looking to purchase hay:

Purchase from someone you know, if possible.

If you do not know the seller, ensure the seller is reputable.

When possible, view the hay in person before any exchange of money. Do not rely on photographs on social media.

Be cautious of any wire money exchange with someone you do not know.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and MU Extension manage online hay directories, where livestock producers can search for hay made available by other producers. The MDA directory can be filtered by county or state and is regularly maintained by Department staff. The MU Extension hay market listing can be filtered by region of Missouri, hay type and bale type.

If you are the victim of a scam involving hay, contact your local authorities.

For more information about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at Agriculture.Mo.Gov.