Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project
The Globe Gazette
Six Macs Buying Their Eighty ----
Six Macs Buying Their Eighty ----
By JOHN VAN DER LINDEN
Although he's always farmed much larger places before, "Bud" McLaughlin is glad to be working an 80 acre plot now. He wants
to prove that a farmer can make a good living on a small place by growing everything possible on the home soil and raising
cows and chickens for cash to get other necessaries. "Everybody should be interested in seeing that more people go onto
small farms," he says. "Too many renters are thrown off larger farms into the city on relief. Places like this are their
only chance for survival." "Anyhow, there's no point in taking on too much land and farming it halfway; I'd rather
farm a small farm intensively and really do it right."
"Everybody should be interested in seeing that more people go onto small farms," he says. "Too many renters are thrown off larger farms into the city on relief. Places like this are their only chance for survival."
"Anyhow, there's no point in taking on too much land and farming it halfway; I'd rather farm a small farm intensively and really do it right."
"Some folks say it's foolish for a family with three boys to take such a small place but I figure it's our only chance to get on top. And I have to look ahead, of course, to the time when the boys may leave the farm."
The Six Macs have a wonderful chance with the help which they have obtained from the tenant purchase plan of the farm security administration, Mr. McLaughlin believes.
They were granted a $6.500 loan for buying the P. L. Peterson farm and for necessary remodeling and improvements, along with similar loans in five other Cerro Gordo county farmers this year and to scores of tenant farmers in other parts of North Iowa.
Tenant purchase farmers have 40 years in which to repay the government, and have to pay only 3 per cent interest. In the McLaughlin case, payments are only about half of what they have paid this past year on rent, so there'll be more cash than ever left for fixing up the farm and taking care of it.
"Bud" - that's the only name John McLaughlin is known by - applied for a TP [Tenant Purchase] loan way back last July on a long chance, and it wasn't till December that he and his approval came through.
"In September we were vacationing in South Dakota," he tells the story. "We got Sunday and found a letter in the mailbox saying that we had to be in Mason City for an interview Monday. We'd got home just in the nick of time."
First there were 25 families in the running, then the field was shaved down to 10. "Even then we didn't think we had a chance," Bud says. "But we got it."
This is the first year that the government has issued tenant purchase loans in Cerro Gordo county, although some tenants in other North Iowa counties got them last year also. It is not yet known if they will again be available next year, but if they are, just as in the past, all tenant farmers in the area will be eligible to apply. County TP committees, chosen by the department of agriculture, narrow the application sdown and choose the recipients of government aid. Last year some hundred Cerro Gordo county tenants applied.
Among the improvements which the loan will help finance are a new chickenhouse, remodeled barn, remodeled kitchen, new cistern, and REA lighting; also a silo. The latter will not only serve as a ready storehouse for feed at all times, but by keeping plenty of silage in it "Bud" will have a reserve to fall back on in case of drought or bad years. There's a possibility that a feed grinder may be installed instead of a silo.
The seven room house is in good shape; was remodeled and new woodwork put in a year ago, and painted. The full basement has two large rooms and is all ready for the furnace which the Six Macs plan to put in later.
"Bud" has been selling cream to the Rockwell co-operative creamery for 20 years. Now he is considering sale of milk also, since the extra cash will come in handy. He has ten cattle. Last year he milked eight, and the cream netted $45 a month for 9 months.
His cattle are all grade Guernseys, but "Bud" is thinking of working into the blooded stock. He saw some Guernseys at a fair about four years ago, and took such a fancy to them that he got busy - he's raised all his present herd. All are TB and Bangs tested.
"Bud" has divided his farm thus: 24 acres for corn, 14 for pasture, 14 for oats, and the rest in alfalfa and soybeans. Full-blooded Poland Chinas [hogs] furnish a good part of the Six Macs income, and will eat a good part of the corn. Each spring an fall he raises between 25 and 30 pigs.
He reports that the spring pigs have been doing well on shelled corn and whole oats, and water. They averaged 270 pounds when 6 1/2 months old last fall.
McLaughlins Enjoy Hunting; Women Sew
There's a shiny 12 gauge Winchester hanging above the kitchen door at the Bud McLaughlin farm, for in spare time Bud likes to go out after a bit of duck or pheasant, in season of course.
For part f their recreation, Mrs. McLaughlin and Dorothy are active in the home project work. The McLaughlins aren't members of the Farm Bureau, but both women enjoy the home project sessions, especially the sewing. Dorothy has been secretary of the Pleasant Valley group now for two years.
Even the pets get their share of recreation on the Six Mac's eighty. Shep, the big collie does a bit of his own hunting. The six cats mix business and pleasure and keep the place scot-free of rats, mice and such pests.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2014
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