'A good day'
Longtime hay sellers try to keep prices down for customers
By Krista Allen
Special to the Times
KERLEY VALLEY, Ariz., March 15th, 2012
(Special to the Times - Krista Allen)
They line up every Tuesday and Friday to buy bales of hay for their livestock. But many of the ranchers are feeling the effect of a perfect storm.
"Ayóo íli (it's expensive)," Jimmy Nockideneh said.
He'd been waiting since 5:30 a.m. parked near the front of the line.
He said there's absolutely no plants or weeds for his livestock to graze on where he lives 8 miles north of Cedar Ridge. Several cows and horses gather at a small patch of grass near his home.
"Why can't people restrain their livestock," he said. "I hate it. They're probably there right now."
While the cost of keeping livestock has doubled or even tripled, Robert Jim, from Tuba City, says there's nothing that can be done. And he says there's nothing the vendors can do too.
"I wish I could say to some big dogs up there (in Window Rock) that they're wasting money on casinos," Jim said. "We got a whole field right here. The tribe could use this field to grow alfalfa and they could sell their hay right here.
"Then we could pay tax - it's OK to pay tax for tribal use," he continued. "The economy is falling, but they're just wasting millions on casinos."
"Prices of hay keep going up," Garrett Gleave, the vendor from Kingston, Utah, said. "It keeps getting higher, but we try to keep them as low as we can."
So why have hay prices soared?
Due to a number of factors including the lingering drought, Gleave said, and rising fuel prices.
As prices continue to climb, Gleave and his brothers - Clayton, Dwyatt and Waylon - sell their three-string bales for $15, cow bales for $13, and two-string bales for $7.
They brought three truckloads of hay to Kerley Valley including half-ton round bales that sell for $130.
Garrett Gleave said the round bales are a good deal because they equal 10 three-string bales that would cost $150.
"We're cheaper than anyone else, so people are pretty good with us," he said. "If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here."
"Those guys (vendors) are all right with their prices," a lady from Cameron said.
She said vendors who sell their bales of hay for $19 are outrageous because she's trying to make ends meet.
The Gleave brothers have been selling hay in the Tuba City area with their father, Stanton, for nearly three decades.
They really communicate with their customers, said a man from Tuba City, one of Gleave's helpers.
"They're good people," he said.
"For years we've been selling here," Garrett Gleave said. "We know who they are and we know them by name.
"This is a good day - it's busy because it's payday," he added. "We like to sell hay here."