Weather, Grazing Fees, and Financial Pool to Help Stockmen

Little was mentioned about individual sheep men during the middle of June 1921, but there was some important business being conducted to help the livestock owners, both sheep raisers and cattle men, to be able to survive the continued downturn in the market and drought conditions. In the coming weeks, more will be said about this as the cattlemen and sheep raisers join together in their annual summer meeting to discuss what was common problems for both and make resolutions to fight some of the injustices that both organizations perceived and how best to handle as a joint force.

Weather Conditions Still Causing Havoc in the Livestock Business mid-June 1921

There were few mentions of the sheep industry during the second and third week of June 1921. No newspapers in southern Arizona mentioned sheep, but the cattlemen were thinking of borrowing money to assist them in moving their livestock to greener pastures in California, Kansas and Texas.  Shipments of cattle to Mexico had stopped when it was realized that the United States government would tax cattle brought back into the United States. It stands to reason that if there were flocks of sheep in the southern area, they also would need to be relocated due to the prevailing drought but I have no information to confirm this hypothesis.

Grazing Fees reduced

Good news was received for both cattle and sheep raisers as grazing rates on the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache reservations were being reduced for the summer.  Sheep which usually graze there are assessed at 40 cents for the summer would now be assessed 23 cents and yearlings at 29 cents.  Cattle was also reduced to $1.40 per head from $2.40.  Stockmen were cheering as it was evidence that the government was lifting a part of the financial load from the already over-burdened industry.  Senator Cameron, Arizona Senator, was credited with the reduction in grazing fees for both industries. It was estimated that there would be a savings of $100,000 to cattlemen and $10,000 for sheep raisers. The commissioner of Indian Affairs, Ex-Senator Burke, North Dakota, waived advanced payment of these fees until the close of the year.  It was believed that this move would keep many livestock businesses from failing in Arizona.

Financial Pool to Help Stockmen

Another piece of good news received by the stockmen in Arizona and the west was that two groups would each raise funds to help the livestock industry across the country.  J. P. Morgan and other eastern financiers from New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other locations had agreed to raise $25,000,000 as half of a pool for making loans to the livestock industry. The other $25,000,000 will be raised by western bankers. A committee from each group meet in Chicago to determine the conditions for the loans. The funds would be advanced to banks in the stock raising sections or cattle loan companies. Sheep raisers and cattle growers were eligible to apply for funds. The newspaper, Coconino Sun, Flagstaff, reported that “Interest charges would be at current rates with maturities six months on the paper. While about two years are required for the turn-over on the livestock, it was said loans would be subject to renewal at maturity which would make the paper eligible for rediscount by federal reserve banks.”

In another article, it was stated that western congressmen and officials of the federal reserve had asked congress for immediate loans up to $100,000,000 to help the livestock industry in the west. The money would come from the profit made by the federal reserve the previous year. President Harding was said to be in favor of such a plan. With the approval by the President and major banks, it was believed that congress would sanction the plan. The plan was to allow stockmen to have money for at least three years, perhaps five, for the loans. Interest would be required on the loans.

The Coconino Sun, Flagstaff stated, “It would be a godsend to both cattle and sheep men, many of whom owe their local banks for money borrowed for last year’s operations. Very few cattle growers but what need borrowed capital to carry them through this and probably the next three years, the time it takes to produce a beef animals for the market. The sheepmen, also, need money, to build up depleted herds and tide them over until production begins to show a profit again.” (This is a correct quote from the newspaper! It is an awkward worded sentence but I did not want to change it. I think it is clear what the newspaper was trying to state.)

Other news for the middle of June 1921 was that the Babbitt Bros. Sheep Co. arrived with four bands of sheep.  Lou Charlebois had also arrived the first of the week from Wickenburg and would remain in the vicinity until cold weather made it necessary to take his sheep south again.

Since we started this article with weather, we shall end it with weather.  It was reported that Spring Valley was one of the fortunate ones to have good rains for three days in a row. Heavy rains were still needed to fill the stock tanks with water, however. Too many livestock were using the same water tanks and rains were needed to fill these same tanks. Some livestock men had already begun hauling water to fill tanks where the livestock had been located when brought north. The newspaper reported though, “The rains this week were pretty general in northern Arizona. The long drizzly rain Monday night and all-day Tuesday assured us of a good grain crop. Old-timers say to get a rain like it in the middle of June is almost unprecedented, and some of them insist that it is a forerunner of a very dry July.”  What is interesting about this statement is many of the sheep raisers I had interviewed for Where Have All The Sheep Gone? Sheep Herders and Ranchers in Arizona – A Disappearing Industry had said the same thing about too early rains brings a dry summer. With the dry conditions now in the state, lets pray for a good monsoon season whenever it might start and let it not end until the last day of September.  Then, we need to have a good snowfall this winter in our mountains with a snow melt that will add to the livestock water tanks, reservoirs, and rivers. 

A mixer of sheep on the Rovey Dairy Farm, Glendale, Arizona

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