- 2011 . . . A History of Service
at cooperation among livestock producers date back to the American
Revolution, but it remained for the Committee of Fifteen to put
the cap-sheaf on an organization to solve the problems of livestock
marketing which involved: "...cooperative marketing, orderly
marketing, livestock production and marketing information and
inflated prosperity brought to the United States by World War
I lasted only about 18 months after the Armistice was signed.
In the fall of 1920, a wide-spread slump in agricultural prices
engulfed the nation's farmers.
Britain, which during World War I had bought over 50 percent of
its meat imports from the United States, reduced its meat buying
volume to less than 5 percent by 1921. Other European nations
recovered from the effects of war very quickly. And with recovery
came a search for new markets and farm supplies. They looked to
Argentina, Canada, Australia and the USSR, by-passing the United
States, and leaving American farmers with an entry to fewer foreign
the domestic market failed American farmers. Although the meatless
days of World War I had passed, the ingrained habit of buying
less meat persisted. Americans were eating less meat per capita
than ever before. Chaotic markets for livestock and farm products
both at home and abroad were accompanied by record productions
of livestock and feed gains. Surpluses piled up with the harvesting
of each new crop.
1921, the value of all livestock on farms and ranches in the United
States had declined from $665.4 million to $427.2 million. Regardless
of grade, quality or finish, livestock farmers were being forced
to dollar-off their cattle, hogs and sheep. At Chicago the average
price of steers had dropped from $15.50 per cwt. in 1919 to $8.20
per cwt. in 1921. Hog producers suffered similar price drops from
$21 to $13 per cwt. during the same period. Lamb prices were down
from $16 to $9.85 per cwt.
during other periods of agricultural distress, farmers showed
a strong desire to work together through their own organizations.
James R. Howard, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation,
called a conference of the representatives of all livestock and
farm organizations to be held in Chicago on July 23-24, 1920.
The results of that exploratory meeting were successful and another
"National Live Stock Conference" was held on October
8, 1920. At the October conference, action crystallized in the
form of authorization for a "Live Stock Marketing Committee
of Fifteen" to give special study and consideration to livestock
marketing problems and submit recommendations. The appointment
of the Committee of Fifteen was announced on January 3, 1921.
committee included: Chairman C. H.. Gustafson, Farmers Union,
Omaha, Neb.; A. Sykes, vice chairman, Ida Grove, Iowa; H. W. Mumford,
Illinois Agricultural Assn., Chicago, Ill.; served as Secretary/Treasurer.
committee members were: Harry G. Beale, Mt. Sterling, Ohio; J.
E. Boog-Scott, Coleman, Texas; W. J. Carmichael, National Swine
Growers Assn., Chicago, Ill.; W. A. Cochel, Hereford Breeders
Assn., Kansas City, Mo.; C. E. Collins, Kit Carson, Colo.; E.
H. Cunningham, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Des Moines, Iowa;
Howard M. Gore, Clarksburg, W.V.; J. B. Kenrick, Sheridan, Wyo.;
W. A. McKerrow, Central Cooperative Commission Assn., St. Paul,
Minn; J. H. Skinner, Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind.; and O.
O. Wolf, Ottawa, Kan.; J. R. Howard, American Farm Bureau Federation,
Chicago, Ill. served as ex-officio member.
were: John G. Brown, Monon, Ind.; James Clemmens, Kansasville,
Wis.; W. S. Corsa, White Hall, Ill.; John M. Evvard, Iowa Agricultural
College, Ames, Iowa; E. C. Lasater, Falfurrias, Texas; and William
H. Pew, Revenna, Ohio. C. V. Whalin, Bureau of Markets and Crop
Estimates, Washington, D.C. served as advisory member.
marketing plan submitted by the Committee of Fifteen was adopted
unanimously at a conference held in Chicago on November 10-11,
1921. "The need for a national live stock organization representative
of a very large number of the rank and file of live stock producers
in all parts of the United States has long been felt," the
Committee said. "Such an association properly financed and
directed should be able to represent wisely and with authority
the live stock producers' interests wherever and whenever they
was their plan that these terminal cooperative commission agencies
be built upon the business furnished by the individual shippers
and by the local cooperative livestock shipping associations in
the country. The committee further recommended that, when cooperative
commission firms were established at the various terminal markets,
separate stocker and feeder companies be simultaneously set up
to handle the purchase orders received from farmers.
The report of the committee was adopted with little change. As
a result, the National Live Stock Producers Association (NLSPA)
was organized in December 1921. This association was organized
and incorporated under the laws of Illinois as a nonstock, nonprofit
type of cooperative. The objects for which the association was
organized are set forth in the articles of incorporation as follows:
be an agricultural organization instituted for the purpose of
mutual help without having capital stock and not to be conducted
for pecuniary profit; to promote the general welfare of livestock
producers, and to provide better and more economical methods of
marketing and buying livestock; to buy, handle, sell, and market
livestock for its members and others; to cooperate by contract
and otherwise with other associations or individuals conducting
business for similar purposes; to reduce speculation, manipulation,
and waste in the marketing of livestock, and to establish local
and terminal agencies and associations to carry on the business
of marketing livestock."
The corporation was financed by the Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio farm
bureaus, and by the Illinois Agricultural Association. These organizations
contributed a total of $7,000 to the project, which was enough
to launch the enterprise.
membership fee in the terminal agencies for individual livestock
producers was originally set at $10. This applied also to a partnership
or corporation producing livestock. The membership fee for shipping
associations was based on the number of cars handled by them the
previous year. Any association that had shipped from one to 50
cars during the previous year would pay $50; one shipping 51 cars
would pay $50.50; that is, an additional 50 cents would be paid
for every car over 50 shipped during the previous year. Not all
of the houses that were established charged a membership
fee, and those that did so later refunded it to shippers.
Any shipper could transfer livestock to the associations without
charge, but in order to participate in the refund, it was essential
that he be a member of the organization. When the membership fees
were discontinued, membership certificates were issued to producers
upon request before or at the time they sent stock to a given
operating plan of these agencies was merely to receive, sell,
handle, and purchase stock, to run the business as economically
as possible, and at the end of the year to refund to shippers
all savings over and above a surplus set aside to provide for
On December 22, 1921, the National Live Stock Producers Association
came into being as a legal corporation, and on December 28 of
that year the first meeting of the board of directors was held.
The organization began business in Chicago with two paid employees.
F. M. Simpson, an employee of the Illinois Farm Bureau was loaned
to the National Live Stock Producers Association to establish
the first offices at National Stock Yards, Ill. and Indianapolis,
Ind. He served as General Manager from 1921-1922. Simpson was
also the first editor of National Live Stock Producer.
First Board of Directors: President: John G. Brown, Monon,
Ind.; Vice President: Charles E. Collins, Kit Carson, Colo.; Secy/Treas:
E. H. Cunningham, Des Moines, Iowa; Harry G. Beale, Mt. Sterling,
Ohio; J. E. Boog-Scott, Coleman, Texas; J. R. Fulkerson, Jerseyville,
Ill.; Howard M. Gore, Clarksburg, Va.; H. H. Parke, Genoa, Ill.;
Hugh Spnvat, Boise, Idaho; O. O. Wolf, Ottowa, Kan.
Board of Directors -1929: Dr. O. O. Wolf, Kan.;
J. N. Horlacker, Iowa; George Wilson, IL; E. C. Rector, Ohio;
B. B. Brumley, McComb; Murray Parker, Ind.; H. H. Parke, Ill.;
John O' Mealey, Mich.; F. G. Ketner, Ohio; Lee R. Highlen, Ind.;
George Potter, S.D.; George T. Higginson, Sr. Ky.; E. A. Beamer,
Mich.; J. R. Fulkerson, Ill.
The plan was to establish cooperative commission agencies on the
principal livestock markets wherever a farm organization or group
of farm organizations could present evidence to show that an agency
could be supported.
capital upon which to begin operations was loaned by the following
Farm Bureau $2,000.00
Indiana Farm Bureau $2,000.00
Ohio Farm Bureau $1,000.00
Illinois Farm Bureau $2,000.00
project undertaken was the establishment of a cooperative commission
agency at National Stock Yards, Illinois. The Illinois Agricultural
Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation also cooperated
in this project. The agency was opened January 2, 1922. Producers
Cooperative Commission Associations were opened at five other
central markets that year.
Commission Association, Chicago, Ill., June 19
Producers Commission Association, Peoria, Ill., June 25
Cooperative Commission Association, East Buffalo, N.Y., Nov.
Raisers & Producers Commission Company, Ft. Worth, Texas,
following year, 1923, six more agencies were established:
Commission Association, Kansas City, Mo., March 5
Commission Association, Sioux Falls, S.D., May 3
Cooperative Commission Association, Cleveland, Ohio, May 15
Commission Association, Oklahoma City, Okla., July 2
Producers Commission Association, Evansville, Ind., Sept.
Cooperative Commission Association, Pittsburgh, Penn., Oct.
livestock industry had grown immensely and by this time, was considered
as big business. But when abuses within the industry began to
appear, there was an outcry and demands in Congress for legislation.
As a result the Packers & Stockyards Act was passed by Congress
in 1921. In general, the purpose of the Act was to protect the
livestock producer and the general public against "any unfair,
unjustly discriminatory or deceptive practice or device"
in the marketing of livestock or livestock products. The industry
was now for the first time receiving some protection through regulations.
its development and expansion, the National Live Stock Producers
Association was also greatly aided by the passage of the Copper-Volstead
Act of 1922. This Act known as the "Magna Charta" of
Cooperative Marketing made it clear that cooperative enterprises
did not violate the anti-trust laws and defined their legal basis.
By the 1920s, four or five large packing companies had virtually
gained control of the terminal markets. Livestock producers shipping
their livestock by rail found themselves at the mercy of the packer
buyers who were not paying competitive prices.
Producers Livestock Commission Association was established at
the National Stock Yards in January, 1922, and Producers Commission
Association started at Indianapolis in May, they found they were
not exactly welcome on the terminal markets. Everything was done
to prevent them from succeeding.
were assigned the most inaccessible pens and frequently obstacles
were placed in the alleys to make it more difficult for livestock
to reach "Producers" pens. Ultimately buyers of livestock
put "Producers" on their "black list" and
refused to buy their livestock.
took courage, conviction and "guts" for livestock Producers
to persevere under such conditions. However, "Producers"
not only met the challenge but kept right on expanding.
withdrawal of packer buyers from the Sioux Falls market caused
a decline in market receipts and a consequent loss to commission
agencies. The Producers Commission Association at Sioux Falls
closed their house on March 1, 1924. The Oklahoma City terminal
agency suspended operations for an indefinite period in March
June 8, 1923, the Producers effected an affiliation with the Farmers
Union at Sioux City, Iowa. The business was operated under the
name of Farmers Union & Producers Commission Association.
The arrangements made at that time were tentative and the Producers
withdrew from the organization on November 1. On October 1, 1923,
the Central Cooperative Commission Association of South St. Paul
became affiliated with the National Live Stock Producers Association
and was a member until October 1, 1924, when it withdrew from
March 15, 1924, the Producers Commission Association was opened
at Sioux City, Iowa. On February 10, 1925, the Producers Cooperative
Commission Association at Cincinnati, Ohio, was organized. On
May 1, 1926, the Michigan Live Stock Exchange affiliated with
the National Live Stock Producers organization.
MARKETING ACT OF 1929
Hoover was elected as President in 1928 and took office March
4, 1929. The previous Republican Administration was very adverse
to national farm relief legislation as supported by all of the
general farm organizations but was committed to giving every encouragement
to the development of farmer cooperatives.
Hoover proposed an agricultural marketing act with a revolving
fund of $500 million to assist in further organizing and developing
farmer cooperative marketing associations. The proposed measure
was enacted into law by a Republican Congress and was approved
early in June 1929. As provided in the law, the president appointed
a board of very capable men, nine in number, many of whom had
previous extended experience but were sympathetic with agriculture.
Alexander Legge, at that time, chairman of the board of the International
Harvester Company, was among the number, and was selected as chairman
of the Federal Farm Board.
other members of the Board were: James C. Stone, Ky.; C. B.. Denman,
Mo.; Samual R. McKelvie, Neb.; William F. Schilling, Minn.; Charles
C. Teague, Calif.; Carl Williams of Okla.; and Charles S. Wilson,
B. Denman of Missouri, at the time of his appointment, was the
active president of the first National Live Stock Producers Association
and was considered to be the member of the Board who was predominately
the spokesman for the cooperative marketing of livestock. The
Board soon developed a capable staff of men familiar with the
problems of livestock marketing, among whom was C. G. Randell,
formerly with the Livestock Division of the United States Department
national economy was beginning to become somewhat shaky and by
November 1, 1929, the bust had come and agriculture was taking
its share and more of the beating. The Farm Board, therefore,
became exceedingly solicitous to move into the livestock situation
to the limit of its ability and authority. Most of the leaders
of general farm organizations were skeptical of the possibilities
of the Agricultural Marketing Act, but were kind to the members
of the Board, and indicated readiness to support the Board in
every way. The situation across the board was extremely critical.
The apparent change in administration was not helping.
few days before the Wall Street crash, on October 23, 1929, the
Farm Board called a national conference of livestock producers
and leaders of farm organization to convene at Chicago. All of
the leaders of the cooperative livestock marketing associations
attended the meeting. The studies of the Farm Board seemed to
indicate its belief that all cooperative livestock selling agencies
should be federated into a national organization so as to establish
an effective and practical national organization that could further
develop cooperative livestock marketing agencies for terminal
and direct marketing, and also create livestock credit corporations
that could support a program of cooperative livestock marketing.
of the old controversies that had been mulled over by the Committee
of Fifteen were raised in the conference. The Farm Board presented
a definitive plan for organizing a national livestock marketing
establishment. While the plan, as presented, was acted on by the
conference unanimously, but with reservations, a committee of
nine was authorized and appointed. Its make-up sought to consider
the Farm Board's plan and make a report later with any recommendations
of changes as it saw fit.
Committee of Nine reported back to the conference on December
5, 1929, and its report and recommendations were not satisfactory
to the Farm Board. The Farm Board thereupon took the matter out
of the hands of the Committee of Nine and reconvened those attending
the conference of October to consider further recommendations
of the Board.
second conference meeting was held at Chicago, February 25-26,
1930. The new proposal of the Farm Board called for the organization
of the National Live Stock Marketing Association with an authorized
capital of $1 million with only cooperative livestock selling
agencies to become members. There were to be as many directors
as there were members. Included in the membership were the National
Order Buying Company, the Western Cattle Marketing Association
and State Live Stock Marketing Association.
this conference a more detailed program was presented and called
for the organization of:
of these corporations were to be organized with capital stock
and be tax exempt. The membership capital stock of the National
Live Stock Marketing Association was to be available only to:
National Feeder and Finance Corporation and the National Live
Stock Publishing Association were to be completely owned and controlled
by the National Live Stock Marketing Association. The National
Feeder and Finance Corporation would handle all feeder operations
at the national level and assist in organizing and financing regional
livestock credit corporations which might in turn extend credit
to livestock producers who would become members and patrons of
member marketing agencies of the National association.
National Live Stock Publishing Association would establish and
maintain a magazine for distribution among cooperating livestock
producers covering organization matters, public relation matters,
and market conditions. The National Live Stock Marketing Association
was to establish relations with its members through contracts
and was to maintain a Sales Board to assist its members in marketing
problems. Income in part to the national organization was to come
from car fees on decks of livestock handled by its members.
foregoing National Plan, as submitted by the Federal Farm Board,
was approved. But before the plan could become effective, a certain
number of marketing agencies were also required to approve the
plan. This was accomplished and the plan became effective November
6, 1930. The Bylaws provided for one Director from each member
marketing agency and four at large Directors, one each from (1)
American Farm Bureau; (2) National Grange; (3) National Farmers
Union; (4) American National Live Stock Association (which became
the National Cattlemen's Association, but later to change its
name to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association).
of the National Live Stock Marketing Association and its two subsidiaries,
National Feeder and Finance Corporation and National Live Stock
Publishing Association was completed on May 10, 1930 under the
Corporation laws of the State of Delaware. Careful study had concluded
that the corporation laws of Delaware were very satisfactory and
much more flexible than the corporation laws of other states,
permitting these corporations to perform the many functions contemplated
in the plan.
first Board of Directors meeting was held in Chicago on May 12,
1930, and its second meeting June 10 - 11, 1930. It was hoped
by many that at the board meeting on June 10 and 11, other eligible
marketing agencies would become members, but this did not happen.
A. Ewing of Decatur, Ill. was elected its first President. C.
A. Stewart was named as General Manager and P. O Wilson, Secretary/Treasurer.
O. Wilson held this position for 33 years until his promotion
to the position of Executive Vice President. From 1930 to 1962,
under P. O. Wilson's guidance, the National Live Stock Producers
Association, serving over 400,000 farmers and ranchers on 105
livestock markets throughout the United States, marketed a total
of 331,549,254 head of livestock valued in excess of $16,441,402.
As chief loan officer of National Feeder & Finance Corporation
during this period, Mr. Wilson supervised loans of $12.8 billion
through six regional credit corporations affiliated with National
Live Stock Producers Association.
was one of the 50 agricultural leaders honored as "Pioneer
in Agricultural Marketing" by the American Marketing Association
in 1963. The recognition was given to the 50 agricultural leaders
in observance of 50 years (one man for each year) of organized
marketing services. George L. Mehren, assistant secretary of agriculture,
presented the awards on behalf of the Washington, D.C. Chapter
of American Marketing Association.
his 33 years of leadership, the Managers of 17 Producers Member
Marketing Associations affiliated with National Live Stock Producers
Association at Toronto, Canada in July 1966 presented P. O. Wilson
with a testimonial plaque.
Wilson retired in 1964 but continued to served as a consultant
to National Live Stock Producers Association until his death in
of the Producer agencies except one indicated their readiness
to join the new organization. The Farmers Union agency at St.
Paul joined the organization. All other agencies, including the
Central of St. Paul, refused to join.
very much the pattern of the recalcitrants after the ratification
meeting of the Committee of Fifteen in 1922, there was proposed
by the dissenters another organization which later was organized
but did not function for any length of time. It was organized
at Omaha on July 22, 1930, and was called the "Farmers Livestock
Marketing Association," with headquarters at St. Paul. It
proposed to be an order buying company largely. It was never able
to obtain any support from the Federal Farm Board.
National Live Stock Marketing Association completed its organization
(May 6, 1930 actually) (Incorporators' meeting May 12, 1930) on
July 15, 1930. The following cooperative marketing agencies became
the initial members:
Producers Commission Association, Chicago, Ill.
- Cincinnati Live Stock Producers Association, Cincinnati, Ohio
(formerly, Producers Cooperative Commission Association)
- Evansville Producers Commission Association, Evansville, Ind.
- Michigan Live Stock Exchange, Detroit, Mich.
- National Order Buying Company, Columbus, Ohio
- Peoria Producers Commission Association, Peoria, Ill.
- Producers & Texas Livestock Marketing Assn., Kansas City,
Mo. (formerly, Producers Commission Association)
- Producers Commission Association, Sioux City, Iowa
- Producers Cooperative Commission Association, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Producers Live Stock Commission Company, Springfield, Ill.
- Producers Livestock Cooperative Association, Columbus, Ohio
(formerly, a consolidation of: Producers Cooperative Commission
Assn. of Pittsburgh, Penn. and Cleveland, Ohio)
- Producers Live Stock Marketing Association, National Stock Yards,
Ill. (formerly, Producers Live Stock Commission Assn.)
- Producers Marketing Association, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind. (formerly,
Producers Commission Association)
- Texas Livestock Marketing Association, Fort Worth, Texas
- Western Cattle Marketing Association, San Francisco, Calif.
1930 the following agencies have joined the National: Producers
Livestock Marketing Assn., Louisville, Ky.; Oklahoma Livestock
Marketing Association, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Tennessee Livestock
Producers, Inc., Columbia, Tenn.; Producers Livestock Marketing
Assn., North Salt Lake, Utah; Producers Livestock Marketing Assn.,
Omaha, Neb.; Producers Marketing Association, Indianapolis, Ind.;
Mississippi Livestock Producers Assn., Jackson, Miss.; Interstate
Producers Livestock Assn., Peoria, Ill.; California Livestock
Marketing Assn., West Sacramento, Calif.; Equity Cooperative Livestock
Sales Assn., Baraboo, Wis.; Empire Livestock Marketing, Inc.,
Syracuse, N.Y.; Central Livestock Association, So. St. Paul, Minn.;
MFA Livestock Association, Marshall, Mo, and United Producers,
Since its inception, National Live Stock Producers Association
was located in the Livestock Exchange Building in Chicago. In
1975 under the guidance of Charles A. Pratt, National Live Stock
Producers moved its headquarters to Livestock Exchange Building
located in Denver, Colo. For an interim period, National Livestock
Producers Association was then located in a modern building outside
the Denver city limits, in Wheat Ridge, Colo. In May 1997, National
Livestock Producers Association moved its headquarters to the
Lake Avenue Corporate Complex in southwest Colorado Springs.
For the first time in its 73 year history, the National Livestock
Producers Association's Board of Directors includes members of
management from the member organizations. The new director structure
allows for two directors from each member agency: one being elected
for the directorate of the member organization and the other being
the chief executive officer. With the change, the board now comprises
30 marketing directors and 12 credit directors.