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Jinglebob - Might this be why?

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Maple Leaf Angus

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Jinglebob - This is a column of mine (Original Design) that was printed a year or two ago. I think that it points out a big part of the reason that primary producers have so little clout in determining a fair price for their goods. Yea or nay?
"Chain Reaction".

“...they are going to be the death of us..,” Bill said to my Dad and me over a pickup load of seed corn we were unloading one warm spring day. Although the conversation took place almost 30 years ago, the full impact of what he was saying became apparent only gradually through the years since then. The topic of discussion was the grand opening of the new supermarket recently come to our small town. As an exuberant teen I had been extolling the beauty of the big aisles and the wide shelves packed with more variety than was usually seen in those days. As an older farmer, Bill didn't share my excitement.
“ But you can buy your groceries cheaper at a big store like that,” I pointed out.
Bill was more than a little gruff with his startling reply,“I'd gladly pay a nickel a pound more for my groceries at the corner store because those big stores are going to be the death of us farmers and put us out of business.” Shaking my head in disbelief, I tossed off the last bag of seed corn and dismissed his words as those of a grumpy old man. (50 seemed old, as a teenager, but somehow that changed, too)
Needless to say, Bill's personal resistance to the appearance of a chain store
in town did not interfere with its successful operation. Shoppers would fill their carts weekly at the shiny new store while the “corner store's” parking spaces were frequently empty and its aisles were crowded only because they were much narrower. Competition was tough in the shadow of the chain store and through the years other food retailers who offered the local shoppers their selection met with varying degrees of success. Although most customers supported the small stores in principle, the greater space and abundance in the big store proved to be an irresistible draw and the majority of the grocery dollars were dropped into the big cash register.
Does it matter? Was Bill's protest more than just a grouchy outburst on a busy spring day? Was the opening of a supermarket in our small town 30 years ago in any way related to the disappearance of vast numbers of farmers from the countryside since that time?
Bill predicted it. He said that “the guys who run those stores are going to end up telling us what they will pay us for the stuff we grow.”
The pressure exerted by the buying power of large retail groups has led to consolidation and attrition in the supply and service industries and reduced the number of buyers of farm produced goods to a level where there is little or no competition required to gain ownership. And in place of a fair price, farmers have believed that higher production would boost their flagging incomes.
Some years later, Dad retired from the seed corn business and it was just as well that he did because the company that he sold for phased out all their small dealers. Too inefficient, they said. Bill retired and moved to town, leaving the farming to the next generation. Occasionally, you'll see him out on the farm helping out in the busy season. But every day and everywhere you look you can see Bill's words being fulfilled as farmers struggle to make it through another season or situation with their usual determination, trying to do more than they should have to do to succeed and taking what they are being given.
Maybe there is a “Bill” out your way. Take a minute and listen.
 

HAY MAKER

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Thank you for posting that,MAPLE LEAF ANGUS.............good luck
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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You are welcome, HAY MAKER.


Incidentally, I have a few more that might be of interest, if anybody would like to take the time to view them.
 

rancher

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Maple Leaf Angus said:
You are welcome, HAYMAKER.


Incidentally, I have a few more that might be of interest, if anybody would like to that the time to view them.

Post them, I would like to read them too.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Will do.

Keep an eye out for "Original Design" on Coffee Shop. After it rains here. Trying to get some spring stuff done while the sun shines. Seems we've had lots of nice sunny days this spring. But soon a nice day would be a rainy day. We've had less than a tenth of an inch here all spring and the grass isn't doing anything and won't till it gets a good shot of rain. Cows are getting tired of dry hay.
 

Jinglebob

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Maple Leaf

Sounds right.

So many things that have been predicted have come to pass and so many haven't. The key is figuring out which is which.

We lost our little country store some years back. The contract with the post office is what kept it going so that they could compete with "town " groceries 60 miles away. The greatest thing about it was that you could run a bill. Never found of any in town who would do that! And they would open up late at night for emergencies. Or even bring supplies after a blizzard! Great people!

When the new owners took over, now remember he is a preacher, and his congregation told him he couldn't sell beer or tobbaco products. He couldn't get as good of a deal with the postal dept. so that cost him. The store closed within a few years and they took our post office away a few years later.

As far as the big grocery chains, I guess it is all free market and competition. I like things about the big and the little. Seems like there ought to be a place for all. As far as Walmart, my son and I prefer higher prices and poorer service. And we get it at Walmart! LOL!

Kind'a like these malls. Used to be you drove up in front of a store and parked and went in and did your business. Now you park quite a ways a way (but you get great exercise, which is good unless you are in a hurry) and walk your legs off getting to the store and around all of the other people who are there (all of the time carrying your purchases, which again is great exercise) and finally make it back to your vehicle, if you can just remember where you parked it. Aww, ain't progress grand!

As for other stories, I say post them. Maybe Macon will come up with another room just for story telling and longer posts. (Psst. What kind of a name is Macon anyway? Not that theres anything wrong with it, I just have never heard it for a name for a person before. Come to think of it, I think I've only heard of Macon, Georgia before. :lol: )
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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And don't forget Macon, Mississippi. Home to friends of mine. Yes, I do have friends in the US inspite of some of my rants at them. :)

Macon Mississippi is also home to the catfish farmer that "owned" our first BSE cow. But that's O.K. Still nothing wrong with the name "Macon". :)
 

Murgen

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And don't forget Macon, Mississippi. Home to friends of mine. Yes, I do have friends in the US inspite of some of my rants at them.

MLA, words of wisdom are never discounted, thanks for sharing. Sometimes on Ranchers we get caught up with the topics posted on here and forget about the things that really matter, besides money.

Thanks for the visit the other day and I think if anybody was to meet you and realize what you are doing now, they would also notice you are well suited for the job.

I noticed, meeting your family briefly, and thinking about it after I left, that this business of agriculture is more than the money we make from it, and more about the people that take care of the land. and the realtionships we have built.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Thank you for your kind words, Murgen. Not sure that I'm all that deserving.

There are a lot of times that I/we lose sight of the most important things.

John.
 

Clarence

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To have progress, we must have competition. To compete we must expect smaller margins. To off set smaller margins, we must increase volume. When we increase volume we squeeze out the little guys.

We used to say in order to be a rancher or a farmer you had to either marry into it or inherit it. That is no longer the case, at least not unless you were the only child. It is a fact of life, more and more of us, if we want to remain in this business will be working for those who can put up the money necessary to operate on very small margins, and on a larger scale.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Clarence - I was not trying to belittle competition in that piece. In fact, if anything, it pointed out the need for healthy competition.

I'm not clear on whether or not you were affirming the trend toward greater attrition of the "little guy" in your first paragraph. You are obviously correct in your statement, though, that increased volume on one producer's part has the effect of reducing the number of players. When stated as a hard, cold fact, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. But when I take a look, as you too likely can where you live, at the human impact of the trend toward ever larger operations, it makes me pretty sick to see what's happening.

I've only farmed (not ranched like you do) for about 25 years, and when I look at the changes that have taken place in that time, it is shocking. Most of the farm houses in the area are either gone, empty or occupied by renters who have no interest in the land or culture around them.

There have been a lot of good young guys and girls who left the land, not because they didn't want to farm, but because they had no chance at all to compete with a big outfit or corporate "farmer" from miles away that came and bought or rented the land around them. Good young people, who were discouraged by the size of the debt they would have had to assume in order to farm, and then often take insulting prices for what they grew.

Some of the fault lies at my own feet; the sometimes bitter feelings that I expressed about the system may have done their part to discourage my kids from farming. But would I really want to see them get into a business that demands so much and makes few promises in return?

Yet, when I think of the tremendous opportunities that have come my way because I ignored the banker's advice and bought my first little farm in '83, I think, maybe it isn't so bad after all. There is no better place for raising a family and learning the value of hard work and a dollar.

Better quit, I could go on for hours . . .
 

Clarence

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MLA:

I am neither promoting or condeming competition. I am just trying to put more cards on the table. Change is inevitable, but still it is very much on my mind, as it is with all who are engaged in agriculture. I do not know what changes we should accept and what we should not, or even if it would make a difference. But I do think we should have a goal.

I am still living in the same home that I was born in back in 1929. My family too, has been more involved in farming than in ranching most of the time. My family, on my mother's side, have been engaged in agriculture for about 125 years. On my father's side, from all accounts and available history, my ancestors most likely were engaged in farming in North America for about 340 years.

Today we do not farm just to sustain our family and perhaps a few others, but do to modern technology, it has become a much larger picture. We can compete and do a better job, be more efficient, produce a better product, or do a better job of marketing, but it don't last for long, soon everyone catches up.

I won't say I am sadened by what I see today but it surely is thought provoking. I alway remember that someone has to produce the food to feed the world. Someone has to pay him to do so.
 
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I'm not against competition either-- as long as its open and fair--Thats why I support mandatory Country of Origin Labeling on all products ( just being honest to the consumers) and then lets compete....

I'm not so sure tho that selling out our Ag industries (which is also our nations guarantee to a food supply) to the cheapest country that can supply a product will not come back to haunt us in the future- we've seen where many of our longtime European and North American allies have not only deserted us but backstabbed us-- I have troubles putting our faith in the shakey South American, Asian and Middleworld countries when food production for the US citizens come to question........These countries that we've fed, kept from starvation, rebuilt, and maintained for years have no allegiances at all......
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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ot - i'm just taking a stab in the dark here, but i'm guessing that you are off your meds again. if you read your above post carefully, you will see that you stated one point in your first paragraph and then completely contradicted it in your second.

Which one do you stand by? :???:
 
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Maple Leaf Angus said:
ot - i'm just taking a stab in the dark here, but i'm guessing that you are off your meds again. if you read your above post carefully, you will see that you stated one point in your first paragraph and then completely contradicted it in your second.

Which one do you stand by? :???:

Both- No contradiction-- Looks like world trade is here to stay- just be honest and open with the consumer.....

And I'm not convinced that the sellout of our ability to provide ourselves our nationwide food supply won't come back to bite us in the butt... Historically our strong Ag and Manufacturing industries have brought us thru over 100 years of world crisis's when others suffered.......
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Oldtimer said:
Both- No contradiction-- Looks like world trade is here to stay- ....

I think so, too. The troubling thing about that reality is that too much of the so-called "world trade" is actually "Monopoly". Much of the stuff that is traded around the world passes through the big hands of a few corporations. They don't care who produces it, as long as they get it to go through their name.

So while we sit here and squabble over a border/subsidy program/put your pet peeve in this blank, like a bunch of kids scrapping in a sandbox, the likes of cargill buys up another packing plant or processing facility and grins all the way to the bank.

i guess they think that as long as our fights are with each other as "competitors", we won't recognize them as the real threat.

When i was a kid, we would play the game of monopoly by the day. i remember well that when one player gained control of the two sides before you got to "Go", it was game over for the rest of the players. See any similarities?
 
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Maple Leaf Angus said:
Oldtimer said:
Both- No contradiction-- Looks like world trade is here to stay- ....

I think so, too. The troubling thing about that reality is that too much of the so-called "world trade" is actually "Monopoly". Much of the stuff that is traded around the world passes through the big hands of a few corporations. They don't care who produces it, as long as they get it to go through their name.

So while we sit here and squabble over a border/subsidy program/put your pet peeve in this blank, like a bunch of kids scrapping in a sandbox, the likes of cargill buys up another packing plant or processing facility and grins all the way to the bank.

i guess they think that as long as our fights are with each other as "competitors", we won't recognize them as the real threat.

When i was a kid, we would play the game of monopoly by the day. i remember well that when one player gained control of the two sides before you got to "Go", it was game over for the rest of the players. See any similarities?

Its what I've been saying for sometime-- and Canada is just a pawn in this entire situation.........Why else would the big multinational packers spend so much money and lobbiest holdcards to kill COOL... I really truly believe that in a few years, when all these other US free trade agreements go into effect which allows product from anywhere to be funneled into Canada as a US product, Canadians will be screaming for a COOL law........Unless we beat them now and get a labeling law put into affect.....
 

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