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By Jerry Nine

(April 17)--The cattle market has been frustrating for the past month or two. I don't mind taking less for cattle if we are over supplied. But I do mind if the futures completely controls the market and we drift lower simply because traders are trading only numbers that have nothing to do with cattle. And it is very frustrating if beef stays just as high in the grocery store as it was when fat cattle were $20 a hundredweight higher. I would say the only cattle feeders who have made any money in the feedlot in a long time are the ones who are partners with the packing houses and share in their profit.

They, too, talk of losing money but I doubt that and if so for only a short time. If everyone would have been losing money in the feedlot then feeders would have cheapened up a year earlier. Some say the packers want to weed the small operator out and control it all. I say they probably couldn't care less about the smaller feedlots and cattle feeders. They probably think if they can survive then that is fine--if not then so be it.

I have said before that I do not want to own a sale barn if we get to where we only have three order buyers for all the feeder cattle. I try to support the market by putting a price on all calves and feeders not allowing them to highly discount cattle more than I think. If we get to where three buy all the feeders--it will completely change the cattle business more than anything we have ever seen all the way to the cow-calf man.

I picked up my two younger boys the other evening from their sitter. The minute we got into the pickup the 11-year-old said to me, "Well he might as well go ahead and tell you dad--I know he is going to." He was referring to his 13-year-old brother. I said, "What?" But nothing was said. So he repeated it again, "my brother might as well go ahead and tell you," and then he said, "you know I am getting a little older."

When he threw in the term "I am getting a little older," I thought this subject could be quite interesting. I said, "Well tell me if you want--either way." Then I said, "I imagine you could probably tell me stuff on him."

Again, he said, "Well I am getting older." We drove home a few miles with nothing said. As we walked in the house it was just the 11-year old and me. He said, "I guess I might as well tell you--I have a girlfriend." This cute little blonde girl only lives a mile down the road. As we were driving by their house the next day I said to the two younger boys, "Well, shall we stop and visit the neighbors?" The 11-year-old said, "I know what you are saying." I said, "I'm just trying to be good neighbors."

Date: 4/22/2013


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