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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 20, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE June U.S. farmers winning war of nerves WELLINGTON, Kan (AP) A record wheat crop is being harvested in the United States, but much of it will not reach market until farmers decide the price is right Emboldened by prosperity and stung by the profiteering last year by speculators, farmers are determined to captain their economic ship as never before. And the course they chart might mean higher prices for the U.S. consumer, although the potential impact remains unclear at present Elevator operators and grain dealers in Texas, Oklahoma and early harvest areas in the U S reporting that large amounts of grain are being held off the market Dealers say they have been able to buy only 10 to 20 per cent of the grain already in, while usually at this time farm- ers have sold 50 to 60 per cent of their harvest 'Bv mid-July the American farmer could have under his control 90 per cent of the world's supply of free said Charles Rhodes' executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission "It's a war of nerves and the farmers have control for the first time Lacks reserves The U S government no longer owns any wheat, having cleaned out its holdings during the last two years' increase in export demands In the past, prices often were affected by large government-held surpluses, the release of which could tilt the supply and demand equation and keep prices down Several experts said that for the first season in decades, the wheat farmer in the U S can afford to hold his grain off the market and wait for a rise in prices. Thomas Ostrander, a Wellington farmer with acres in wheat and the president of the Kansas Wheat Raisers Asso- ciation, said the holdout movement began spontaneously and is picking up steam Profits from last year's crop help the ef- fort, he said "We have a lot of farmers who wrote off their bank loans last year for the first time since they started farming, said "There was more equipment sold this year than ever Farmers can afford to be stubborn this year." George Herren of the Union Equity Wheat Exchange elevator in Enid. Okla., said he believes market fluctuations last vear gave farmers an expensive education Prices climb Prices early in the harvest season were running under ?2 a bushel The usual 60 per cent of the crop was sold then. Later the impact of large wheat exports to the Soviet Union and elsewhere drove the price up. It peaked at 76 a bushel in mid-February, long after most farmers had sold "I don't think they'll fool the farmers this Herren said "They're more sophisticated now and more deter- mined I had one farmer tell me 'We're going to keep the wheat right here When the price is right, we'll sell, even if have to haul it to Houston (for export) ourselves Higher wheat prices would ultimately mean higher con- sumer prices for flour, bread, other bakery products and a host of items linked to the price of grain. Experts disagree, however, as to the extent of the increase and where it would occur They also note that rising labor and production costs would account for part of the total increase Bakers contended in January that rising wheat just under a push the cost of bread to SI a loaf. A U.S. agriculture department official said, however, that wheat would have to go to 160 a bushel for a one-pound loaf to cost at the retail level if grain prices alone were responsible for the increase. The official said that the average price of a one-pound loaf of bread last November in the U.S. was 31.5 cents, of which 4 8 cents or 15 per cent represented the wheat cost The agriculture department estimates total wheat acreage in the U S for the 1974 harvest to be 64 4 million acres, com- pared to 53.9 million acres harvested in 1973. Production is forecast to reach 2.09 billion bushels, up from 1 7 billion last year Aldermen split over tax ruling CALGARY fCP) Aldermen are divided in their views toward a district court ruling invalidating the city's 1974 mill rate. Some say the city should appeal, some say the city was wrong in the first place, while others haven't made up their mind The three way split mill rate saw sin- gle family homes taxed at 539 mills municipal portion 34 4, school supplementary requisition 19 5 1 apartments at 68 9 mills i municipal portion 494. school requisition and commercial industrial property a? 83 mills 'municipal portion 366. foundation plan 26 9 school requisition 19 5 1 The province is paying education foundation levy for residential property owners under a lax rebate system 1. S Turcotte. ruling nn an application bv Calgary properlv owner Clifford Kenning said the didn 1 have the authority to approif a municipal lax rale for apartments at a level higher than 1he rate for commercial industrial properU referring to the municipal portion of 49 4 miHs for apartments against 1be municipal portion of 36 6 mills for commercial industrial propertv The city had held the view 1ha1 provincial legislslirm which that commercial industrial tat must not be lower residential lax in ine entire mill rate, but Judge Turcotte called this interpretation "absurd CAUTION URGED Mayor Rod Sykes and Aid Peter Petrusak said an appeal should be considered. The mavor said, however, that council should not act hastily on the matter Aid Petrusak said the ruling "has penalized pensioners, homeowners and small businesses." But Aid Ross Alger said the city should not appeal Even when an appeal is made, ft is unlikely that it wiil be heard by Alberta Supreme Court before September In the meantime municipal taxes are payable July 1 "I was not entirely surprised by the ruling." Aid Alger said "There's no question that what we were duifig was contrary to the view of the provincial government Municipal Affairs Minister Dave Russell called Calgary's mil) rale illegal shortly after it was approved by city council Mav 27 However, he said he would rather see a Calgarv property owner take the city to court Aid Eric Musgreave said council should accept the ruling "H puts council in an embarrassing position, but we shouldn't appeal the decision Save Vtork a little magic with light and shadow 1499 I IT 3q' yd a-37 R 14990. 'Shadow Play'. Proud bearer of the DuPont Fashion label. With a plush, multi-level texture that flows from light to shadow for a fabulous, richly patterned effect. 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