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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Monday, April 29, 1974 - Page 24

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 29, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                12 Thf Cedar Rapids Gazette: Mon.. Apr. 29. 1974 By Terry Ryaa WEBSTER CITY (AP) Hans Nelson was ankle deep in the feedlot muck helping prod the last of 68 fat steers toward the truck ramp. They were twins to the slaughterhouse. "1 don't know if we arc actually losing ilia; much money on these, but we'll never Ret wages for raising them." he said. "We're just sort of throwing that in." The Nelson brothers, Harry and Hans, farm acres in central Iowa, including the 120 acres their Danish immigrant father started on. They raise corn, soybeans and oats from the flat, black earth, most of it to feed their livestock. They market about 2.000 hogs and (iOO cattle a year. "1 suppose you could come right nut and say we.lost money on these cattle that went said Harry Nelson a few hours later. "I'm talking the cost of corn at today's prices. I'm talking an hour for our labor, the vet bill, the other bills. We should have had more a head. Keep Going "But it's a business, just because you don't make it on one bunch well, you keep on going." They broke even on the sale of the steers. The Nelson brothers lost money the last three times they sent cattle to market. Their situation is not unusual. During a time of declining slaughterhouse prices, cattle feeders have been caught with animals they paid record high prices for last year and fattened on record-priced grains. The American National Cattlemen's Assn. estimates the industry has already lost more than billion. Until recently, say some cattlemen, the lower prices they were being paid were not reflected at the supermarkets. After 25 years of farming, the Nelsons have the money behind them to ride out the hard times now. Some cattle raisers, however, are reconsidering. Empty Pens There are empty pens in the high-volume feedlots of Texas and Colorado and many farmers are not putting cattle on feed for delivers' next summer and fall. Consumer beef shortages may be the end result, but farmers are feeling the pinch now. "Nixon was right when lie said the farmer never had it so said Harry Nelson. "But he forgot to mention that it was 73 that was good, not '7-4. Already we're taking a beating." Harry, 5-1, and llaiis, 47, were silting in the remodeled kitchen of Harry's farmhouse. Hans lives on another piece of their acreage, nine miles away by dirt road. "The Harry's wife, Irene, poured the coffee. Like most Iowa farmers, Hans Nelson has an opinion on just where the trouble started: "It all began last year when the government put the ceiling prices on. And it got worse when they tool; them off." Shortly before price controls were lifted last summer, market ready cattle were bringing cents a pound at the Central Iowa stockyards in Webster City. They went for -H cents a pound during the first week of this month. Lost The Nelson brothers bought 68 young heifers last fall for They fed them IS pounds of corn a day. plus protein supplements, and paid the veterinary bill and other expenses. They could have sold the corn 50 bushels an as much as S3 a bushel. After putting 600 pounds on each one. they sold the heifers last month for exactly what they paid for them originally. "When you add it up, 1 guess we lost about on said Harry. "And that's with no allocation for our labor. "We are really a bunch of small businesses competing against each other. That's what we he went on. "First to the fields, first to get the corn planted, first to get it harvested. This is what makes us what we are." "Is it worth it for us to feed these cattle and not make a lot of money? Probably, now, we can say, 'yeah, it said Irene. "A young farmer who is starting out and he's mortgaged to the teeth at the bank would not look at it the same way." Wall Street Cowboys The other people hurting real bad, says Hans, are the feedlot investors. The so-called Wall Street cowboys, they are doctors and lawyers and business men found it profi- table in recent years to buy young cattle and AP WireDholo Harry Nelson, left, and his brother, Hans, chat in front of the cattle pen at their farm near Webster City. They farm acres in central Iowa, raising corn, soybeans and oats to feed their livestock. They market hogs and 600 cattle a year. Iowa City Soil Official Gets New Position COUNCIL BLUFFS Kendell Olin of Iowa City has been named lo direct activities of the agriculture department's Soil Conserva- tion Service (SCS) in an 11- county area of western Iowa, according to Wilson T. Moon, sta'te conservationist. Olin will begin work as area conservationist in Council Bluffs on May 12. supervising soil and water conservation activities in Audubon, Adair, Carroll, Cass, Crawford. Guthrie, Greene, Harrison, Monona, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties. Olin has been Johnson county district conserva- tionist in Iowa City for the last four years. He began work with the soil service at Centerville in 1957 and worked with the service at Onawa and Rockwell City before moving to Iowa City. Olin succeeds Leon Fuderuerg as area conser- vationist. have them fattened in commercial feedlots. "I got a brother-in-law, a banker, out in California and he's been getting into cattle. They got feedlots out there that you just buy a pen and hire them Hans explained. "And he's been bragging to me about how- much money he made. 1 told him, 'Just wait, you're going to see the other way one of these times.' Well, he's got a bunch now he's going to lose his butt on." Hans Nelson looks bigger than his 6 feet, 180 pounds. Big bones, red cheeks, deep- etched lines around the eyes and an inch-high crew cut on top. He and. Carol, his wife, have a son and two daughters. Still Hoping In their latest purchase, the brothers bought 73 fresh heifers weighing 625 pounds each. They will feed them for four months, pay the bills and lake them lo market at about pounds. They remain optimistic. Hans: "We're hoping to make money on them, there's no question of it. We don't do this (or the fun of it." Harry: "Sure we have pur ups and downs. We've lost money times before. It's just like any business. If things don't get no worse, we'll make out all right on these." To keep things from getting worse, they say, cattle raisers must convince the American housewife to start buying beef again. "They quit eating beef last July when it got so said Hans. "It was all the publicity it got. They started eating macaroni. The thing is. we got lo get them aware that beef is a good buy now and get them back to eatiiig it." WASHINGTON (AP) Reports of planting troubles in the Soviet Union this spring are not cause for concluding that Russia soon may be on the prowl again for huge quantities of U.S. grain, according lo agriculture department ex- perts. The Soviet press charged .this week that bad weather and inefficiency on the farms had caused delays in planting grain crops for harvest later this year. Roger S. Euler, who specializes in Communist-area agriculture for the depart- ment's Economic Research Service, said the reports were not particularly alarming. Given a break in the weather, Soviet farmers still could catch up, he said. Quite Early "It's still quite early lo tell what might Euler said. "Unless there is something else lhal we don't know about, this shouldn't be taken too seriously at this lime." According to Pravda, the leading Communist party newspaper, planting delays have occurred partly because of a cold and rainy spring. It also chided Soviet farmers for mismanagement. As of April 22, the newspaper said, only 41.7 million acres, or 16 per- cent of the intended acreage, had been planted. A year earlier, 107.2 million Lower Yields Per had -been planted. Th Soviet Union then wenl on I a record grain crop Cause Iowa Corn million metric tons c wheat and other grains, comeback from 19' DES MOINES (UPI) Corn Other top producing counties production across Iowa was were Sioux, Pottawallamie, down by 25 million bushels, Plymouth and Woodbury. poor weather and othe problems reduced the crop I 168 million tons. with few counties increasing had more than 20 pro.duclion over 1972 figures, bushels in Negotiations according to a report issued by Leagt Ihe Soviet the state Crop and Livestock The c (he negotiated with U.S Reporting Service. production was Monroe, in mid-1972 to bu The reporting service said J.ccorded a cwn flf 2 lhan 
                            

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