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On Aug. 28, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas. He said, “As part of our continued effort to monitor the impact of the fire at the Holcomb, Kansas, beef processing facility, I have directed the U…

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I think the timing is the best it has ever been for cattlemen to realize that we are sunk if we do not do something very soon.

One group put figures out that the week after the Holcomb, Kansas, packing house burned and they put $15 on Choice beef that the packer and retailer margin of profit was over $700 per head and that may have just been packer profit. That was after they bought our fat cattle $5 per hundredweight lower with beef a lot higher. This should be the same as price gouging after a disaster when certain companies raise prices all for taking advantage.

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The one thing that was very frustrating about the fire at the Tyson packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, was another example of complete monopoly by the packer and retail industry.

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The big news in the cattle business is the Tyson Foods packing facility in Holcomb, Kansas, that received extensive damage as a result of a fire. Tyson has announced it will rebuild and get back to operation as soon as possible. They also announced that they will pay all full-time employees …

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It’s amazing how fast we went from wet to dry in the matter of three or four weeks. Most of the pastures did get plenty of growth early but they are very dry now.

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The feeder market seems to be gradually picking up a little steam the last few weeks. Most of our pastures in our area have lots of grass. One rancher whose ranch is about 10,000 acres told me that he thought he could run 300 extra cows this summer.

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A real estate agent called me the other day and asked me if I was interested in a certain property that was for sale. I asked him if they charged a buyer’s fee along with charging the seller a fee.

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This article will be dedicated to my Mom. All of us four kids were very lucky to be raised by Mom and Dad. 

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There was a group of cattlemen that got together to talk about what could done about packer and retailer control and manipulation of the market and the one definite theme was there definitely was a problem.

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In the last three weeks when most feeder cattle would be coming off wheat a lot of the area was too wet to get trucks in to where they could load them. And the other big factor was the market had fallen enough that a lot of the sellers didn’t know what to do.

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I am not for a lot of new laws but one law that I wish they would pass is to make it illegal to use a computer to call your phone. And a lot of these scammers even get a local number so they can even more so mislead the person answering the call.

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There is more talk and concern about this fake meat being developed now. Even at least one of our largest packers has invested in this process. All of us including individuals and definitely cattle organizations need to get off high center and get involved in this. 

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You say what can I do to change this manipulation of our fat cattle? You say, I am only a small operator and nobody is going to listen to me. I feel the same way at times but I also see what happens if we do nothing.

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I don’t mind taking less for cattle when I think there is a good reason such as over-supply. But it does make me mad when the packer is making $300 per head plus part of the offal and we are losing money or breaking even.

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One of my buyers from the sale barn said, “You cannot really blame this downturn in the cattle futures on the packer and retailer because of all the extra fund trading in our business.”

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The people who know me well know that I tease in a very dry, sarcastic way. A friend of mine a little older than me had a light stroke about a month ago.

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As I was coming to the sale this morning on the radio the ag guy quoted choice beef at $230 and select at $221. What they need to quote is a price for the packer and another beef price for the feedlot seller. 

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Last week we were selling a string of roping calves. And I guess from my standpoint I thought most of those ropers were being fairly conservative.

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Running a sale barn can be somewhere between interesting to challenging to frustrating. For several months I thought our middle aged bred cows were cheap enough and maybe still. But finally this week we had several more bidders on bred cows and good pairs. We had a dispersal of 4- to 5-year-old bred cows to calve September and October that brought from $1,260 to $1,325.

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We received some very nice rain last week with most getting from an inch to 2 inches. And it is amazing how much the wheat grew in the next three days.

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A man called me this morning and said he had been reading the articles I had written over retail and packer control. He had made several calls to different people and organizations about this also.

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There are a lot of different and interesting scenarios in life. We have one guy who hangs around the sale barn that one of our workers has just been extra nice to.

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I am driving through the country 100 miles south of Woodward and the wheat does have a very pretty green color to it. My grandpa loved to farm and also liked cattle. My dad only farmed to run cattle. I think that’s the part I inherited. Green wheat is very pretty to me just as green grass is, mostly cause it’s a sign we can buy more cattle.

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The bred cows and pairs seem to be in more demand the past few weeks. Tuesday we sold some pairs for $1,700 per pair. I think a lot of ranchers don’t realize how much effort and time it takes to match up a set of cows to their calves and get it right. And it can often cost them money if they…

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I was talking to a cattleman who starts a lot of calves. We were talking about how sometimes it is so difficult and expensive to start cattle. He thinks a lot of these higher quality cattle with great genetics have lost some of their ability to survive.

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Here is a thought: If 5,000 people would invest $10,000 toward a new packing house or packing retail business, is that enough to get the ball rolling?

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I heard one person on the radio who said there is a lot more interest in animal traceability now than there was five years ago. I can very bluntly tell you I am not one of those people pushing for this.

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Most of the cattle sales in our area are winding down by the end of Dec. 21 and will be shut down for two weeks. It will be good for a lot of people.

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On the concern of packer and retailer control and manipulation of the fat cattle market, it was suggested to me that instead of sending a dollar to the checkoff, how about collecting that money to build a packinghouse?

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They came out with news early in the week that President Donald Trump and China had made a 90-day concession to open some trade with some stipulations.

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I got a call from a very well-respected man who managed and owned a large feedlot for years. He just called to say what I wrote recently in High Plains Journal was very much on target on packer and retailer control and how their manipulation of the market is going to push the individual out …

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It’s that time of year to stop and think of all the things we have to be thankful for. I am very thankful for being born in America where we have so much freedom and opportunity.

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Sometimes I feel the longer I’m in this business the less I know. It is so hard to predict what factors sometimes affect the market and at times those same factors don’t bother it at all.

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I started out my Monday morning feeding some cattle when I noticed a 200-pound calf still nursing his mother was sick. I had strung out some cake and was counting them walking down the line when I noticed another calf that was even more sick.

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It is still very frustrating to trade fat cattle at $111. We have no bargaining power the way we do business. Luckily, we have a very competitive feeder market. Our 800- to 850-pound feeder steers brought $156.50 to $159 and the 700- to 750-pound weights topped at $167.

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Last Thursday an hour before the sale started we went out to sort enough cattle and push them up toward the ring so we would never run out of cattle and have to stop the auction. One of the heifers that was sorted off the day before was blind and was mixed with other odds.