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article number 382
article date 09-30-2014
copyright 2014 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Bragging Rights if You are a Missouri Livestock Producer, 1904
by Walter Williams

From the 1904 book, The State of Missouri, an Autobiography.

EDITORS NOTE: While we certainly give our author kudos for assembling a book which now gives us a very informative history of Missouri, his writing style could turn away modern readers unless they are forewarned. Our author gloats, is repetitive and goes into [enumerations] which could detract from the very interesting discoveries about ideal conditions and monetary results from raising livestock.


MISSOURI could not be better situated so far as climate and location are concerned for the development of the highest types of the domesticated animals. Between the severe rigors of the northern climate and the warm suns of the semi-tropical region, she possesses in a marked degree, conditions which are favorable for the economical production of all classes of animals.


Far enough north to escape the blistering suns of the southern lowlands, she escapes many of the serious diseases common to those regions; the insidious splenetic fever does not intrude itself on Missouri pastures.

Missouri’s grazing lands are still far enough south that animals may be maintained exclusively on them for ten months in the year. The State has thus an unusual advantage over those sections of the country where the animals must be wholly supported for six months of the year on crops grown expressly for their winter sustenance.

Missouri summers are never so hot nor Missouri winters so cold that expensive shelters are required for protection. Sixty-five per cent of all the cattle fattened in the State are fattened practically without shelter.

A nation or a state that reaches distinction for its live stock must not only have a favoring climate, a fertile soil, and intelligent people, but it must have available markets, and here Missouri stands without a rival. In the midst of a large population, with large cities north, south, east and west, she has at her doors, a market for all the surplus animal products of the farm.

All the surplus breeding animals are quickly absorbed by the great ranges of the West and Southwest. These favoring circumstances have conspired to make Missouri one of the greatest live stock localities in the world.

The value of the live stock industry in Missouri in 1903 was $200 million. This does not include the value of farms, barns, and other equipment employed in the live stock industry. In total valuation she is exceeded only by Texas, Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas. There is no other single industry in the State that can compare with this in total value.


More than one-third of the entire population of the State is dependent directly or indirectly upon the business of producing the domestic animals. Not only is there an enormous investment in animals, but the anima; production, as compared with other State industries, is also large. In 1899 the farmers’ income from animals and animal products was $97 million.

The stock farm represents the stable element in all agriculture. The tenant farmer is invariably a grain farmer. The live stock farmer owns his farm; he builds and owns his own home; he lives upon his own farm; his success and his growth mean rural development, good rural schools and healthy rural social conditions.

In the United States in 1899 were approximately 68 million head of neat cattle, valued at $1.5 billion. Of this number Missouri possessed 3 million head, valued at $75 million.

Missouri had four and one-half per cent of the number of animals in the United States, but this four and one-half per cent represented five per cent of the total value. The quality of the live stock in Missouri, therefore, is much above the average of the quality throughout the United States.

By the census valuation, one hundred Missouri cattle are worth as much as one hundred and eighteen cattle taken from the country as a whole. There are only four States in the Union that have a larger number of cattle than Missouri.


Four million and six hundred thousand swine are found within the borders of Missouri. This is seven per cent of the total in the entire United States. Only two States, Iowa and Illinois, have a larger number of hogs than Missouri.

Missouri is not generally credited with being a sheep State, but she has more sheep than any bordering State except Kentucky. The number of sheep has rapidly increased in Missouri during the past ten years. She now has 1 million head.

One-ninth of the value of Missouri live stock is represented by her mules. Missouri has 296,000 mules. This is nine per cent of the total live stock valuation.

The live stock industry of Missouri is the principal source of profit to a million of its most stable citizens. There is no State in the Union whose farmers are so largely engaged in live stock production as are the farmers of Missouri. In the United States as a whole, only thirty-three per cent reported their principal income as coming from live stock and dairying; in Missouri 55.3 per cent.

Missouri has more live stock farms than any State in the Union; one hundred and fifty-seven thousand, four hundred and seventy-two in number. This is evidence unimpeachable of a prosperous, contented and happy rural population. The social, economic and agricultural aspects of such a widespread interest in improved live stock are of the highest interest.

The strictly grain farmer requires but a small investment of capital for the necessary tools to carry on his business. The live stock farmer, on the other hand, must not only possess the same tools but he must have a much larger amount invested in animals, in feed and in barns and sheds.

Live stock farms have a higher value than grain farms, and this higher value is directly traceable to the production of live stock on such farms. The typical live stock farm (including equipment) is worth $4,100, while the hay and grain farm is worth only $3,600 or a difference of $500.

It is, therefore, an economic advantage to have the farmers of any given locality interested in the handling of cattle, horses, sheep and swine. That which is an advantage to the local community, must be equally advantageous to the State. Missouri stands at the head of all other States in the Union in number of stock farms.


Eighty per cent of all the available elements of plant food removed from the soil are returned in the excrement of the animals. Attention to live stock husbandry explains at once the wonderful fertility of Missouri’s cultivable area. There is scarcely a State in the Union whose annual production is so constant and unchanging from year to year as Missouri. The accumulated fertility of Missouri’s farming lands continues to produce under all circumstances of wind or weather.

The 157,000 stock farms of Missouri represent a total area of 21 million acres. This is an area larger than that comprised within the borders of the States of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. There are seven other States in the Union each of which has a total area less than that devoted to live stock farming alone in Missouri.

The total amount of money invested in live stock farms and the necessary equipment for the carrying on of live stock operations in the State of Missouri is $650 million. The total amount of money devoted to the animal industry in Missouri is more than is invested in the same industry in the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Arizona and Nevada combined. These States have an area nine and one-half times as large as Missouri.

With one-fifty-second the area of the United States (including Alaska) she has one-fourteenth of the wealth invested in live stock farming. The largest manufacturing industry in the great manufacturing State of Massachusetts is the textile industry. The amount of money invested in this industry in Massachusetts is only $275 million, little over one-third the amount invested in live stock and dairy farming in Missouri.

Of $220 million received from farm products of Missouri, $140 million came from the sale of products from live stock farms. This is 65 per cent of the total income from the sale of farm products from 50 per cent of the farms and 61 per cent of the total farm area.

This income represents $6.86 per acre. All other farms, exclusive of live stock and dairy farms, produce at the rate of $5.81 per acre.

Thus the live stock farm of Missouri produced at the rate of $1.05 per acre more than the grain farms. If all the live stock farms of Missouri had for a single year been turned into grain farms, the diminished income to the State would have been $22 million.


It is to the advantage of any State or Nation to have its farming lands owned by the tillers of the soil. Sixty per cent of the stock farms of Missouri are owned by the men who till them.

The equipment on the average Missouri stock farm includes fifteen neat cattle, four horses, one mule, twenty-six hogs, five sheep and a fraction of a goat. The investment in live stock for each of these farms is $7 per acre or $915 for the whole farm. The total value of the farm is $4,100.

The productive power of Missouri farming lands can be illustrated in no better way than by the annual returns per acre.

The live stock and dairy farms of the United States produce at the rate of $5.12 for each acre. The same class of farms in Missouri yield $6.86 per acre. The report also states that the Missouri farmer spends twenty-nine cents per acre for labor and fertilizer, while the same farmer throughout the United States expends thirty-eight cents per acre for labor and fertilizer.

The net difference in favor of the Missouri farm per acre is $1.82.


It is often stated that the produce from an acre of New England land is far greater than from the same area of the western farm. Census reports do not indicate that there is any such difference notwithstanding the careful intensive methods employed by the eastern farmer and the much higher price received for farm products.

A comparison of the income per acre from Missouri live stock farms with the similar income in the Atlantic States shows that in spite of the intense culture and nearness to markets, the Missouri live stock farmer receives a greater income per acre than the eastern farmer.

The Missouri live stock farm yields a gross income of $6.86 per acre, the eastern farm of this class yields $6.22 per acre.

But this is not all the story, for on account of a more fertile soil and a long pasturing period the Missouri farmer spends less for labor and fertilizer. While the live stock farmer of the Atlantic States spends sixty cents per acre for this item, the Missouri farmer spends only twenty-nine cents.

Thus the Missouri live stock farm is yielding a net profit of ninety-five cents per acre more each year than the same class of farm on the Atlantic Coast. The average Missouri live stock farm is yielding $125 more than the live stock farm of the same size in the Atlantic States.


Every important breed of cattle, horses, sheep and swine is represented in the State. The cattle breeds found here are Shorthorn, Hereford, Aberdeen-Angus, Galloway, Jersey, Holstein, Red Polled, Polled Durham, Polled Hereford, Brown Swiss, Devon and Guernsey.

The breeds of hogs are Poland-China, Duroc-Jersey, Berkshire, Chester Whites, Essex, O. I. C., Tamworth, and Large Yorkshires.

The different breeds of horses in Missouri are American Saddle Horses, Standard Bred Trotter, Percheron, English Shire, Belgian, Clydesdale, Cleveland Bay, Shetland Pony, German Coach, French Coach, Thoroughbred and Morgan.

Sheep are represented by Shropshires, Hampshires, Southdown, Rambouillet, Merino, Cheviot, Suffolk, Dorsets, Hornless Merino and Persian Sheep.

Angora goats are also common.

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