We Applauded in Hypnotic Frenzy

There are oodles of things left that I have not written up. I like to nail down stories that I’ve experienced, or know about—Horse thief stories this side of the Cascade Mountains have been passed up by writers of the west. I heard quite a few stories, but can’t get them verified. Why was it so popular to steal horses? A horse is pretty big booty to try and hide. It would be of interest to find out what made a horse thief a horse thief. Was it a love for a horse that they couldn’t afford to buy?—From the beginning of organized law in Lincoln County, the role of early day sheriffs and superior court judges fascinates me. 

All this thinking brings up a couple of shady promotional deals. There never has been any Lincoln County farm organization that ever got involved in any jail house ‘bait type’ of scam. However, a lot of wheat farmers did get interested in a Santa Claus kind of promotional scheme. 

It happened in 1977, just before the beginning of the Holiday season. At that time, farm prices were starting on the down hill side, causing farmers to reach out at anything that might work. All at once, organizers from Colorado invaded us. This group of crusaders called themselves ‘The National Farm Organization.’ 

Even though the price of wheat at that time was at a fairly decent price, the N.F.O. had a very simple remedy that no one ever thought about before~Go on strike ‘til the price of wheat would float to $6 a bushel—We were never told how to plug up the leaks of other wheat producing countries that would sell wheat to hungry people in far away places. Of course, when things got complicated, the organizers took a powder.[*]

Where are you guys at now, since we need you so badly? Please come back to Davenport with a better idea. Remember when you were here, we applauded in hypnotic frenzy when your organization promised a glowing price for our wheat. You said all we had to do was to shut off our tractors and combines ‘til we get six bucks a bushel. We are now willing to settle for half the price you promised us. It beats the price we are getting now. Sure, a few of us were skeptics that night, but that shouldn’t have discouraged you guys from coming back with a workable program. After all you said that we farmers have to stick together, we need a little more information on how to do that. 

Years before the National Farm Organization caused high hopes to float around, promoters from Canada came to the Inland Empire with a magic leaf feeding powder. Powerful blow machines came with this packaged deal, so the magic stuff could be blown on to the wheat plants with hurricane force. In theory, the dust treated puny wheat plants were supposed to take off like the Jolly Green Giant, and kill weeds at the same time. The dirty looking stuff did look impressive as it clung to the plants, but all it did was bum holes in the leaves. 

Grange dealers got stuck with tons of this finely ground rock, that was soaked in a weak 2-4-D Solution, plus a mystery chemical that even Lind Experiment Station couldn’t identify. It did have some small value as the powder had the power to paralyze some weed plants. 

I believe I was the last farmer to pollute the air with that stuff. The Grange dealer in Davenport gave me a bargain on all the powdered rock he had left, and a nearly new blower was thrown in for free. Although it killed the mustard in the wheat, the powder that hung in the air didn’t do the lungs any good. Motto—If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 


Kik-Backs No. 3 "High Powered Salesmanship" page 52 (home)     (thread)

Walt Kik

Interactive chart of historical daily wheat prices. The price shown is in U.S. Dollars per bushel. The current price of wheat as of March 01, 2024 is $5.4484 per bushel.