Bio: Selz, Ed and Frances (Loyal Area Farmers - 1974)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Selz, Spry, Schwarze

----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 10/24/1974

Selz, Ed and Frances (Loyal Area Farmers - 1974)

Mingling with Mary (By Mary Woods)

Within the past few months news reports, newspaper articles, posters, and just simple conversations between two people, the issue of the farmer and his future has been stated. Whether it is a farmer in the state of Wisconsin, or the state of Texas, or a businessman on the street in some city … everyone agrees that the farmer is making news. It becomes apparent, after talking with people, that no one really understands the great conflict that is now being discussed. A visit to a farmer’s home in Clark County gave this reporter his view on the present situation, and what he sees as a future. No way does this article attempt to favor the farmer, nor the person who is on the other side of the fence. It perhaps may be different from the viewpoints held by many people, but it just happened that, that is the way things go.

Ed and Frances Selz, farmers in Clark County think and believe that they are going to make it! They are just two of thousands of farmers who ask themselves that question every day. Prices are high, and prices are low, and there doesn’t seem to be any compromise. But according to Ed Selz, “the farmer who is efficient, and determined is going to be the one to sit in the driver’s seat in the future.”

The Selz farm consists of 210 tillable acres out of a total of 280 acres. The dairy farm has 120 registered head of Holsteins of which 60 are milking. Selz states that last year the family of eight could live on 50 dairy cows but with the increase in food, clothing, and other essentials, a decision to milk 60 seemed to be the answer.

Frances and Ed Selz moved to the Loyal area in 1972, after having a farm in the Humbird area with his two brothers, which was also registered Holsteins. He states that the reason he made the move was to have his own place where land was available for building and expansion. Commenting on the move, he states that working with his two brothers gave him the knowledge, and experiences that he needed before he started out on his own. He began his farming in Clark County with one-third of the dairy cattle and one-third of the appraised dollars. He purchased the necessary machinery, and today the only equipment that he does not own is a combine, and corn picker, with the work being custom done. Purchasing the equipment was perhaps one of the biggest expenses that he faced with one tractor costing $9,000 then, compared to $11,000 today.

Questioning the Selzs on the budget that a farmer is facing today, Ed notes that being economically aware is a great factor. He explains this by stating that he uses sawdust for bedding instead of straw. The sawdust costs him $3 per ton while a bale of straw would cost between 50 cents to a dollar. As for cost, and expenses, he pointed out that soybeans cost approximately $20 per 100 pounds, and shelled corn runs about $4 a bushel. He is presently making $7.20 per 100 pounds of milk, and saw the peak of milk prices in June when it was up to $8.72, and referred back to 1972, when he received $6 per 100 pounds. He continued to add that he believes that prices for feeding the herd is presently too high, but in time prices will average out. Asking about the price of cattle, he states that a cow recently sold brought $21 per 100 pounds.

“You have to take the bad with the good,” states Ed and Frances. “You never heard the farmer doing too much complaining when the prices were high last spring, but now it’s all they can talk about.” They continued to add “that perhaps the farmer who is really hurting is the one who just started out and has nothing to fall back on, but if he sticks it out … he’ll make it.”

For the Selz family, life is also enjoyable and not all work. They both enjoy bowling, and Frances enjoys taking an active part in the Clark Jackson Deanery, of which she is, presently serving as president. Wed is a member of AMPI, Wisconsin Holstein Association, National Holstein Association, Dairy Shrine Club, serves on the board of directors for the Neillsville Farmers Co-op, president of the Clark County Holstein Association, and partakes in state and county fairs. He also takes an active part in the Loyal Lads and Lassies 4-H Club, and is immediate past president of the 4-H Leaders Federation. They also take pride in having the Selz lan prefix for all their registered cattle, he is also on the Kow Kountry Klassics Sale Committee.

The Selz family consists of six children, Mark 13, David 12, Ricky 10, Anne Marie 9, Steven 8, and Bobby 2. Both Mr. and Mrs. Selz explained the family ties that become apparent on the farm, and express the pride and happiness that comes knowing the children enjoy the farm work … but still have time to enjoy their school activities.

The future of the farmer is everyone’s guess and no one’s answer. Politicians are aware of the problems, stating their commitment to take action. Farmers are organizing special activities to better inform the people, whether it is done in the right or wrong matter. But, Ed and Frances Selz, typical Clark County Farmers, continue to understand both sides of the question, and take into consideration that good times will come if they wait with the right action taken.

The issue of the farmer will make the news again tomorrow, and Ed and Frances Selz, till read about it … but perhaps only the bad side of the picture realizing that there is a good side … but it’s something that a farmer finds in himself, and his work and perhaps not all from his pocketbook.



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