By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
PLANTERSVILLE – Paul Wood may not be able to feed his cattle this winter.
For the second time since August, hay the 77-year-old cattle farmer uses to feed his cattle has been burned. He now may have to sell some of the herd.
Wood said 56 bales of his hay, valued at nearly $2,000, were found burning Sunday near his home at 287 County Road 830 in Plantersville. Four days after the fires were discovered, the charred bales were still smoldering, and so was Wood.
“I’m going to have to get rid of some of my cattle because I can’t feed them all,” said Wood of his 35 beef cattle. “This is costing me money, and I don’t like that. I don’t know why a person would target me.”
In August, 27 bales were found burning in the same location.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case as a possible arson. Sheriff Jim Johnson said he believes there was intent on someone else’s part to burn the hay. He said cases like these aren’t uncommon. In 2010, a man was charged with burning $26,000 worth of hay.
“We are working to find out what and who is behind this hay being burned,” said Johnson. “We take this just as serious as we do any other crime.”
Because of a nationwide drought this year, Wood said hay has not been easy to find. He said even though he has one more cutting coming up, he doubts it will be enough to feed the cattle for long.
“It’s just a bad situation for me all together,” said Wood. “In August, I had to actually go out and buy hay to feed the cows because of the fire. But there is not much out there to buy right now. This has not been a good year for growing hay.”
If you have any information, call the sheriff’s department at (662) 841-9040.