Farmers take a risk to make a living
By Jerry Nine
(June 26)—This has been quite a year—that is, if you like surprises. Fat cattle had not made money for quite some time but stocker cattle were still making money. Starting last fall calves were still high enough that coming off wheat with the price of feeders the stocker operator took a loss also. Then if you farmed wheat in western Oklahoma in late spring, we received three or four freezes. Coupled with a drought it has been very challenging to stay afloat. I am not crying over spilled milk. I am simply talking reality of a farmer or rancher. If you had a good oil well, those farmers or ranchers seemed to do well, but for most of us there’s not much use of us waiting at the mailbox for our check. You have to operate large enough if you are going to make a full-time living in the farming or cattle business, most have to borrow at least a million dollars and borrow quite a few million to make a living. I still like the business I am in but to say the least it is high risk. Most city people would not believe you if you told them how much you had to risk each year to try to make a living. One farmer told me last year that he cut 88,000 bushels of wheat on his farm. He’s also baled 110 bales of wheat. This past year he cut 8,257 bushels of the same acres. He did bale 3,000 bales of hay because the insurance evaluated a lot of his wheat to make only 1 or 2 bushels per acre. The freezes were very detrimental for farmers but the drought was worse. Would people who live in the city be willing to risk their whole year’s paycheck to try to make a living.?
Our cow market was a lot better this past week. Our top cow actually brought $9 cwt. more this past week than the week before. Our cow numbers three weeks ago along with bulls and calves that came with them totaled 1,900 head. Last week we sold just a little over 1,000 and this week we sold only 460 head. Either our farmers are too busy to mess with selling cows or our numbers are getting short.
Last week a gunman went into a Quick Stop to rob them. He shot the first man he came to and then walked up to the next guy to shoot him. Before he pulled the trigger, the man pulled up his mask to see who he was. Then the robber shot him also. Everyone else in the Quick Stop was on the floor with their heads covered hoping not to be shot. The robber hollered out, “Did anyone else see my face?” One of the men spoke up in the back of the room and said, “My wife did.”
Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.
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