BELEN— Livestock owners will now have an easier time finding hay dealers, thanks to a new website developed by a pair of New Mexico farmers.
Owners and creators of hayfinders.com, Orlando Castillo and Joey Fresquez, know about the difficulty of locating hay and launched the site to connect the consumer directly to the farmer.
“There are more than 24,000 farms and ranches in New Mexico,” Fresquez said. “Hayfinders.com helps livestock owners in need of hay to access small and large quantities, as well as help the farmers who have hay available.”
Castillo and Fresquez, who are brothers-in-law, have explored different career paths, although they’ve always had a tie to ranching and farming.
Castillo was born and raised on a small alfalfa farm in Valencia County, while Fresquez grew up in a ranching community in northern New Mexico. Fresquez, married to Castillo’s sister, now owns the family hay farm.
In addition to farming, Castillo has a background in web development and, with Fresquez’s knowledge of the current hay market, creating hayfinders.com was the next step. When the duo knew they were ready to move forward with their venture, they visited the New Mexico Small Business Development Center at UNM-Valencia.
“… we were just starting out, (needing) guidance and their team was able to step in and help us. We knew we had a good idea,” Fresquez said. “Orlando had web technical knowledge, we both know the farming community, but we didn’t have the business side.”
Chris Garcia at the development center helped Fresquez and Castillo by walking them through the process of obtaining a business license, developing a business plan and forming an LLC and partnership agreement.
Right now, Hayfinders is a local venture, but Fresquez and Castillo are confident that farmers throughout the state and eventually the country will soon be using the service.
“People from Texas and California already travel to New Mexico to buy hay,” Fresquez said. “It’s our hope that Hayfinders.com makes the process easier for all, helping New Mexico farmers and the overall economy.”
Farmers posting to the website receive the first month free, then pay $12.99 a month