Malatya Haber Cattle feeders try to make money
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Cattle feeders try to make money

By Jerry Nine

(Sept. 25)—I went to the farm store in Woodward this past week. I picked up several snap links that secure a chain so the gate does not accidentally open. I walked up to the counter and said, “You can either charge that to me—Jerry Nine—or Woodward Livestock Auction—either one.” She scrolled down the computer and found Woodward Livestock. She said, “I am sorry, sir. We have eight names on the list that can charge, but your name is not one of them.”

The lady at the next checkout counter said, “What is the problem?” She said, “He works at Woodward Livestock but his name is not on the list that can charge.” The other lady said, “No, he owns Woodward Livestock.” I asked if I could see those names. Two of the employees no longer work there, but I guess they could still charge to the sale barn. Perhaps if I work there 13 more years then maybe then I can get on that charge list. Some people just cannot be trusted.

A feedlot owner in Nebraska said he was shipping a pen of cattle to the slaughter plant two months ago. He told the cowboy to bring four extra steers. He gate-cut the four off and took them to the local meat processor. He then went to the grocery store and priced those individual cuts exactly as the grocery store prices, selling the four head to individual consumers. After paying the processing and collecting the money the markup was $510 per head. This would include a lot higher slaughtering cost, as the packinghouse can do it a lot cheaper. This allowed him nothing for the offal. He said he owned the steers 150 days and was losing between $100 to $170 per head. The packer, retailer and grocery store owned that animal a total of 30 days and the markup was probably $800 or more when you include the offal and cheaper killing costs. I find this interesting and frustrating. I am glad for all three to make good money but it is ridiculous when cattle feeders are taking a blood bath.

Raising kids is interesting. My 13-year-old announced to me very excitedly that he now had armpit hair under one arm. I responded by saying that is very exciting. I think the excitement in his voice was a lot stronger than mine.

Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.

Date: 9/30/2013


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