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Country Today Newspaper Archives Feb 9 1983, Page 3

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Eau Claire Country Today (Newspaper) - February 9, 1983, Eau Claire, Wisconsin Wed. February 9, 1983 the country today Page 3milk Hauler May think retirement in t so bad right now Barron if the truth were known Lester Erickson probably looked out the window last thursday morning and sighed Relief that he Wasny to still on the milk route. When he retired last year after toiling on the milk route for More than a half Century he reminded his interviewer a a in a still interested in trucks and will run a route now and then for another still in the life Ofey men the most dedicated i Hauler there must come a Day when he looks out the window at swirling Snow that obscures even the Best of roads and says a to Heck with it a or Ever something stronger. That Day might have been last thursday when the seasons heaviest Snow was tossed around at will by the strongest northwesterly winds of the Winter. Lester Erickson did no to have to say a to Heck with the milk he had called it quits to getting up at with the chickens and going to bed with nightmares of what tomorrow would bring on the roads. It was during the Winter of �?~32 that 17-year-old Lester Erickson started what was to be a 50-year Job of hauling milk in Barron county. At the time it did no to involve such mechanical things As cranking up a truck. For him the new Job merely meant rising at 3 . And driving a team and Sleigh to 20 Farmers who shipped to the Barron cooperative Creamery. Last year or. Erickson turned Over the reins of his route to his son in Law Verl Verhulst it. 2, Barron. But now 68 and living at it. I Barron or. Erickson still has the feel for the Road. As a 50-year Veteran of the milk hauling business or. Erickson has received considerable publicity but he notes with genuine Pride a school project done by his 12-year-old granddaughter Kristin last year from photos he had collected Over the years. The poster sized project traced the history of milk hauling a a history or. Erickson helped build. The Veteran milk Hauler re Calls his experience with hauling with a team and Sleigh was relatively Short when compared with his experiences behind the wheel of a truck. A i just got in on the Tail end. People were still putting their cars and trucks away for the Winter. The next year we did the route with a 1933 or. Erickson recalls his routes with the Sleigh were not As difficult As might be imagined. The Sleigh was equipped with a veneer cab that contained a stove and Frame to keep a Coffee pot going on top. The horses followed a Trail that skipped the roads and Cut across Fields and woodlots. A we could sit Back and play cards and when the horses stopped wed get out and Load cans a foe said. Or. Erickson Points out that Dairy Wasny to always the big Money maker for Barron area Farmers. His father like Many of his neighbors grew potatoes for the Chicago Market. A your Uncle de was a broker for a Chicago potato Market and would let us know when the Price was Best for Selling a he. Recalled. While most growers hauled their potatoes into Cameron a the old warehouse is still standing a said or. Erickson but his family a did it the hard Way and were Able to sell their potato crop later in the season for a better Price. A dad would Cash our Check around Christmas time for our Christmas presents and the taxes a he recalls. The Erickson family grew 25 acres of potatoes. In a Plant and Harvest by hand Era that was a Large Field. Lester recalls As a boy cultivating the big Field Lengthwise and then crosswise Between potato plants. The Job would take from 7 . To 6 . With a break for lunch using a one horse walking cultivator. The potatoes were planted by hand. It took two 80-Bushel loads of seed potatoes to do the Job. A dozen neighbors and relatives used hand planters to cover the 25 acres in a Day. Young Lester worked steadily keeping the seed Wagon moving at the Pace of the planting Crew and filling the hand planters from the Wagon Load of seed potatoes. In his Early years As a milk Hauler or. Erickson and his employer Norman Frisinger would take off the single deck milk can Van and put on a potato rack. A we probably have done it but everything that could haul potatoes was put to work a he said. The milk Hauler in those Days also served As a farm Supply delivery for Farmers who were accustomed to going to town on saturday for their shopping. The top of the milk can Van a which carried about 5,000 pounds of milk on a truck rated for a ton and a half a a would be loaded to carry Lime for Patron Farmers. A i could save the Farmers Money if i went directly to the Railroad cars and Load up what Lime they needed. At times i had As much As 7-tons on that truck a said or. Erickson. The milk Hauler noted that for Many years the milk trucks would make free deliveries of various commodities that were sold by the local farm Coop. Later the haulers were allowed to charge for delivering supplies and eventually the Creamery discontinued Selling Lime and Salt to its patrons. A the Guys were sure glad when that was discontinued a he said. After several years of working for or. Frisinger or. Erickson purchased his own truck a Brand new Ford in 1941. Just before this he had been working along with Jerome Jackson a a Barron area Hauler who now runs three trucks on his routes. Or. Erickson a new Ford Cost $1,020 i did no to have to pay that much since i had a Trade in a he recalled and he was Able to buy gasoline for 20 cents a gallon. While he hauled milk by Sleigh during his first Winter he the Early years history maker Lester and Irene Erickson show a poster that depicts the history of hauling a history Lester helped make during his 50 years on a route. Milk Lester Erickson poses near a milk truck that he drove Back in 1939. Could buy breakfast a a hamburger and a Glass of milk a for to cents. He would bring in a Load from 10-12 Farmers by 6 15 . And take the Sleigh out again and bring in another Load by noon. At noon he fed his horses at the Barron county farm. A it was managed by Charlie toy then a he recalls. A that was the first place i saw automatic drinking cups used for livestock. At Home we used to dip water from the River and fill a Stock tank that was equipped with a Wood burning Heater. We made a lot of trips to that tank with firewood and buckets of water a he said. When hauling milk or. Erickson saw the changes of curing in the Fields and on the farms As Well. A when i first started hauling i saw horses working in the Fields. Then an occasional steel wheel tractor. Farmers sold Cream and then whole milk. Milk houses got better roads kept improving and trucks got better. A a few years ago it someone would have predicted that everybody would abandon cans and ship their milk in bulk we never would have believed it. Now about 50 percent of the Farmers Are using pipeline milking systems a he said. From a single deck milk can Van which held about 72 cans that weighed 28-pounds empty he moved to a two tiered Van that held 108 cans. With some loading strategy Only 24 cans had to be lifted to the second deck. In the late 1950�?Ts or. Erickson purchased a half then full interest in a bulk route. In the 1960�?Ts he was bringing in four loads of milk per Day. In 1970 he sold half interest in his routes to or. Verhulst. A Verl comes from a Dairy background a or. Erickson noted. A this father was a cheese maker in the Marathon county through most of his milk hauling years or. Erickson also milked cows of his own. His barn had stanchions for 14. His 80-acre farm had 55-acres under plow. A i never had a barn Cleamer or silo loader while i was milking cows up until to years ago but a neighbor now rents the barn in the Winter and he has put in both a barn cleaner and silo unloader a he said. Or. Erickson a wife Irene has remained his partner in both the farming and milk hauling facets of his career. The couple have one daughter Carolyn who by Way of her husband Verlys interest remains involved in the family business. Kristin 12 and Kurte 7, Are showing an interest in 4-h activities and provide material for new recollections by their proud grandparents. Through All his years of driving a horse teams and milk trucks a Lester Erickson Hasni to had an Accident. A a in be always driven carefully a never in that much of a hurry a he said. In fact or. Erickson a easy Pace on the Road helped him Start another Hobby that he continues to enjoy a the collection of aluminium cans and returnable bottles from Roadside ditches. A i used to be Able to pick up a Case of empty Beer bottles or two from spots where people would have a party along the Road a he said. A now i usually walk out to the Highway in the morning for something to do. Along the Way ill find a can to flatten and put into my pocket. But you know i think people Are finally getting the message i done to find nearly As Many cans and bottles littering the roads As i used while Irene admits that it is sometimes hard to find something to keep Lester Busy during his retirement he is ready to fill in for another Driver and take a milk hauling route whenever possible. After All that a Why he stayed with it for Over 50 years. A i always enjoyed the work and i saw several generations of Farmers grow up along the route a he said. In one of several articles written about his past experiences or. Erickson was asked what he misses the most since he has retired. A my truck a he replied. A Philip j. Tremblay Puc May be around for 2-3 years state Corn growers told to Dixon the Reagan administrations payment in kind Pik Grain Creage reduction program will Kely be renewed for a second and possibly a third year the resident of the Wisconsin Corn rowers association said Here is week. Jerry Franz a Poynette Corn rower told the groups annual meeting feb. 2 that the firm of Hase Econometrics has been ired to study the Impact of the program on the . Grain a plus. Final figures will not be available for some time or. Ranz said. A but we re pretty certain this ill be a two year program and if preliminary figures Are any in cation it will probably be a Iree year program a he said. Or. Franz said the ultimate Jai of the Pik program is to ring Corn stocks Down to about me million bushels per year. Act ring to the state agricultural reporting service about 2.36 billion bushels were being stored by the government As of Jan. I 1983. About 26.6 million bushels of that total Are from Wisconsin a reporting services spokesman said. The plan will allocate surplus Corn to Farmers who agreed to reduce their Corn acreage five to 50 percent during 1983. Kieran Powers executive director of the state agricultural stabilization and conservation service said no figures have been released on participation in the Pik program because such information could disrupt . Grain markets. That information ban will continue throughout the life of the Pik program or. Powers said. He reminded Farmers that the sign up deadline for the program is March la. Farmers who wish to Idle More than 50 percent of their increase must submit bids to ass offices which will be accepted or rejected based on county production targets. Bids will be opening March 18, or. Powers added and Farmers whose bids Are rejected will still be guaranteed participation in the program for less than 50 percent of their acreage. He urged Farmers to be aware of certain penalties for violating Pik contracts before they sign up. The Pik program will guarantee participants an equal or greater return than if All their acreage had been planted or. Powers added. A this is one government program that i am truly in favor of a he told the group. A when the surplus of Corn is gone this program Dies and the quicker we get this program to die the better off we All will or. Powers said the most asked question about the Pik program is where Farmers will receive their surplus Corn allotments. He explained that participants will be asked to designate their preferred local warehouse. However Federal officials will ultimately decide which storage facilities will serve which Farmers. A your warehouse could be too Miles away. It could even be 200 Miles away a or. Powers explained. A so much of the commodity is going to be traded by paper transactions. Its not going to be physically moved from warehouse to farm to Market in Many the value of a Farmers allotment can be roughly determined by checking the futures prices for no. 2 yellow Corn he added. Allotments will be released by the government on nov. I a so it can hit the markets after the Peak of the Harvest a or. Powers said. Or. Powers said ass officials will be particularly watchful for participants who violate soil conservation requirements of Pik contracts. Idle land must be planted with one of several approved cover crops which must not be Cut before july i he said. Participants will also be subject to six month periods during which grazing on Idle land is prohibited or. Powers said. Soil conservation requirements of 1982 Grain set aside programs were a widely abused in Wisconsin or. Powers noted. A you must remember that this is a big Money program for the government a he added. A the penalties for violation of contract will be severe to the tune of Between 57 cents a Bushel and one half of the target Price per Bushel times yield times program details Are available at county ass offices or. Powers added. Donald Soberg administrator of the state agriculture departments Trade and consumer Protection division warned the group that the states Grain securities Law does not give a a Blanket guarantee that a Farmer wont lose when he deals or stores the Law Only requires certain storage warehouses to show proof of their financial stability or. Soberg explained. Grain dealers can be licensed in Wisconsin without bonding requirements or minimal financial information he added. A state advisory committee is currently studying ways of putting More Teeth into the Law he said. In the meantime or. Soberg advised Farmers to take the following Steps when considering Grain dealers and storage facilities a insist on written contracts which specify transaction dates prices Grain amounts and delivery dates. A avoid delays in contacting authorities when contract terms have not been honest. A avoid contracts which Call for deferred payments. A be wary of dealers who Promise unusually High prices and economic incentives or who historically make late payments or request a temporary holding period before checks Are cashed

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