Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ranching worries

The facts I am about to tell you are true.  Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent ..... that is assuming that at least one of those at the liars table each morning is innocent, which is doubtful.
With inputs such as fertilizer, fuel, feed and mineral prices reaching all time highs, talk around the liars table at morning coffee has been rather disheartening.  Economic losses from cattle are expected to equal or surpass that of the mid 70's when losses were upwards of $200 per head coming out of the feedyards.  Losses from the feedyards now are in the $3-400 area, which if you take into account the value of the dollar, is quite similar.
Now for those of you who are historically challenged (or too young to remember) let me reiterate some facts; a long costly war was coming to a close; an election year was approaching; an economic slowdown/recession was the headlines of each paper; fuel had reached an all time high; climatologist of the day were warning of an approaching ice age; Democrats controlled the House and Senate and a Republican was in the White House.  (am I having déjà vu?)   And the ranchers I now drink coffee with each morning were 20-25 years old and owned nothing.
We now slip from the past to the present:  "I should have done something other than cattle ranching!" Clyde said to start the morning session, "I should have been a chicken rancher."
With that statement Chester gave a snort, "You'd made a great chicken rancher!  Now why would you want to raise chickens?"
"Well," Clyde began as he defended his statement, "you only feed them until they weigh 4 or 5 pounds instead of 12-1400.  So it seems to me you couldn't loose more'n 50 cents a head."  That brought a round of nods around the table showing agreement with Clyde's math.
"Nothing preventing you from starting now is there?" asked Chester.
"You know," replied Clyde, "I hadn't thought about that, but there's an idea.  Want to pardner with me?"
"Are you serous?" a surprised Chester retorted.
"Now think about it," continued Clyde.  "We could get us a few hundred chickens and get them good an fat.  Then go on one of those TV info-mercials as a way of selling out our steers."
Chester is now staring at Clyde with a wrinkled brow thinking his rancher buddy has his hat on a little tight.  "We could do like that ole boy that's always selling stuff on TV.  The 'Wait, that's not all' guy.  Put a picture of a steer on there.  Tell about all the cuts of beef he'll produce.  Price him and then say 'Wait!  That's not all.  Buy now and get a free chicken!'"
Who knows .... might actually work


Jenni said...

Interesting historical perspective. We came out of it okay before, and I imagine we'll come out okay again. I hadn't realized the troubles some of my neighbors must be having. It seems like times are tight all around. I think Hank Jr. was right, though. A country boy can survive.

MUD said...

Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to start a chicken ranch near Ottawa? A good friend asked me to finance the operation and we dang near went broke. I finally visited the operation and we could not figure out if we were planting them too colse together or wrong side up. MUD

Anonymous said...

As you said, it is an election year. Promise a chicken in every pot.