Looking Back: Franklin County history Aug 29th

Franklin County’s history

Take a look back at Franklin County history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on Aug 29th.

25 Years Ago

August 29, 1996 –  Thursday

Some say they cannot break even on calf sales

“Veal Deal Upsets Farmers”

veal deal
A mother licks her newborn calf Wednesday at the Alan Meyers farm near Greencastle.  The calf will be raised for breeding.

Franklin County farmers are taking a big hit when they head to auction with calves.  

A calf weighing less than 80 pounds can sell for less than a consumer TOPIC: for a pound of veal cutlets. Agriculture “Prices are disastrously low,” said William Reagan, Franklin County Extension agent.

Prices are less than half of what they were last year.  However, they won’t make or break local dairymen, who are seeing a gradual increase in the price they are paid for milk.

About a half million dollars this year will not go into farmers’ pockets or the local economy because of the low prices. Veal demand is low.  Americans, who bought 5 pounds a year in 1960, now buy less than a pound.

“It doesn’t even pay for us to put it in the meat case,” said one local butcher.  “If there’s one person in 100 who buys veal, you’re lucky.  I think the younger generation doesn’t even know how to prepare veal.”

Record amounts of animal protein are competing for consumer dollars.  Farmers are producing near-record amounts of beef and chicken.  

“It’s not much more than supply and demand, exacerbated by drought in the South and high corn prices,” said Pete Marigliano, spokesman for the American Meat Institute.

The cycle is expected to turn upward later this year.

Calves are a byproduct of milk production. A cow must give birth to produce milk. Female calves, heifers, are raised to produce milk.

Few bull calves become adults. Soon after birth, most males of milking breeds are auctioned.  If milk-fed, a calf up to 300 pounds can be sold for veal. “

Although they have real low prices now, in two years you can figure it will go the other way,” said Lynn Eberly, a Fayetteville dairyman who stopped selling his male Holstein calves a month ago.  Instead of taking a $2,800 loss at auction this year, he figures he can feed them grain for two years and sell them for beef in two years at a profit.

But few dairymen are willing to take the risk of feeding high-priced corn to animals that won’t produce milk.  Corn costs two-thirds more than it did at this time last year.

“We don’t have the size or the room” to raise male calves for market, Greencastle dairyman Alan Meyers said.  He already raises a few bull calves to sell as breeders. The decline in calf prices has hit the family’s budget.

Amos Martin’s answer in Antrim Township is to produce more milk: “You’ve got to make volume.”

It’s dairy tradition to increase milk production when money is tight. But low calf prices have some dairymen gambling with the future production of their herds.

One way to cut back is to buy cheaper semen from a genetically less desirable bull.

Sometimes it costs more to produce a calf than a farmer can get on the auction block.  Semen for impregnating milk cows can cost $10. Farmers are earning $5 to $25 for a typical bull calf.

“I think there are other places to cut back,” Meyers said.  “I don’t think it’s worth potentially lowering the genetic value of the animals you’ll be working with two years down the road.”

“You only get what you pay for in semen,” Eberly said.  “Why sacrifice four years of good income from a good cow?  It doesn’t make much sense to cut back your income.”

Genetics and breeding have played a major role in increasing cows’ milk production. The upside:  Beef producers also are paying less for feeder cattle, cattle they raise for meat.

Elwood Myers, who raises 300 cattle near Waynesboro, watched beef prices end a two-year fall in June.  His beef, now going for 70 cents a pound, went for 85 cents in 1994.

‘It’s been rough,” he said.  “We try to get along with what we have,” rather than buy new.

Corn prices this fall are the next determining factor for beef prices, he said.

50 Years Ago

August 29, 1971 – Sunday

“Firemen Win Contest Trophy”

The Newburg-Hopewell Fire Co. won first place in the pumping contest at Roxbury.  The contest was sponsored by Pleasant Hall Volunteer Fire Co. and Lurgan Township Lions Club.

The Newburg Firemen won with a time of 1:18,30.  Second place went to the West End Fire and Rescue Co.; third to Walnut Bottom Annex of the Vigilant Hose Co., and fourth to the Friendship Hose Co., Carlisle.

Kenneth Scott, team captain, accepted the first place trophy.  Other team members were Ben Wheeler, Glenn Hamilton, Carl Cramer, Tom Gamble and Ray Spreelier.

100 Years Ago

August 29, 1921 – Monday

“R.R. Policeman Fights Trespasser Atop Train”

Chambersburg – Sergeant Richardson of the  P.R.R. police force on Saturday night had a fight with two trespassers atop a moving train, as a result of which he is nursing cut knuckles.  The railroad policeman fought the men from the local station to Long’s crossing, where one jumped from the train.

Sergeant Richardson, however, succeeded in landing one of the men, Frank Morris, who was arraigned before Magistrate Haulman this morning and was sentenced to 20 days in jail.


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