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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2008
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    Palm Beach Gardens, FL
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    Default Open letter to Feed Stores. Print, get signatures & send.

    Open Letter to local Feed stores:

    This letter is being written to you on behalf of all the horse owners, barn managers and barn owners signed below, asking you to consider the following:

    This is October 2008 and for a year and a half now we have all faced constant and relentless upward trending in pricing of livestock and equine feed, bedding and hay. As people that have to make a living, just like you do, we understand that rising costs have to be passed on to the end user. Everybody tries to do the best possible job negotiating prices with vendors, and we appreciate you acting on our behalf in your interactions with the feed and bedding suppliers.

    As a horse owner and barn owner and manager I have observed the following:

    1. Many, many horses have left equestrian areas because people cannot afford to feed them any more. A bag of feed has gone from $9 to $19+ now, which doubles the price of a single bag of feed. A bag of shavings has gone up from $4 to $7 per bag. Hay has gone up 50% plus.
    2. I see horse barns completely empty, and I mean completely empty. Nobody is subject to exemption... from the “not so expensive” to the “super expensive” barns. Local horse owners are moving/selling/disposing of their horses because they just cannot make ends meet. Seasonal equestrians will not bring down as many horses as they have in past years because they do not have the money to do so.
    3. I see good people that have been employed in equestrian related fields for many years or for their whole lives.. looking for jobs… any job will do as long as they can make some money.
    4. I see horses for sale at pennies or simply for free. I see kill buyers scooping up horses for these pennies with outcomes that are not good.
    5. I see horses’ basic care being skipped over (from trimmings to vaccinations) ultimately endangering the horses and the owners (EEE, WNV for example)
    6. I see local rescue organizations going crazy, trying to pick up the horrible pieces from these effects.
    7. I see solid equestrian businesses and barn businesses closing because the cost of maintaining a horse on full board is soo high that the owners just cannot afford it any more.
    8. I see training and lessons being cut back because people don’t have the discretionary spending. That is for our very beginner equestrians that are just starting out (that will carry the sport forward) to those that have many years of horsemanship under their belts.
    9. I see people’s livelihoods going away with the current economy. Even those that placed their savings in the safe financial institutions are losing their live savings and/or retirement savings.

    With all that being said, as your customers drop off one at a time because they just cannot do it any more, you will be affected, or more affected, by all of the above whether it is from any single issue or a combination of issues… but customers that have been with you for a long, will go away.

    In an ironic twist of things (a plummeting economy), the prices of gas are going down, which has been one of the major reasons why our feed costs have increased.

    We ask you as our middlemen to contact the feed companies, the hay people, the shavings people and demand they bring their prices down and pass the price reductions on to you and your customers. Everybody has to go a more lean route, horse owners, feed stores, and the hay companies, shavings companies, feed companies. If we don’t unite and ask, it cannot happen. If this does not happen, the end result will be detrimental.

    We ask that you challenge them on their best practices to help bring costs down.

    We ask that you challenge yourself and your staff for best practices to help bring costs down.

    We ask that you look at your delivery charges, which are individually based, put in place a best practice program. As you already are delivering by area, take a look at the “individual delivery charges” that are tacked on to each order and bring them back down.

    We do not begrudge you to make a living. We all have to do that, we ask that you look and take action.

    In return, we will be able to continue to keep our horses and continue to be loyal customers to each of you.

    Thank you.


    Horse owners of America



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2005
    Posts
    759

    Default

    While I understand the ideals posted by the OP, what people need to understand is that a decrease in gas doesn't mean an immediate decrease in costs. How long did it take for the prices to increase for the products you buy in light of the increase in gas prices? The timeframe it took for the companies to absorb the costs of fuel while keeping their prices the same, put them behind financially. Now that oil is less than $100 a barrel, we cannot expect them to drop suit as an immediate response. Suppliers and vendors are feeling the pinch of the economy same as us.

    Quality ingredients cost more than sub-par ingredients. A cheap bag of sweet feed costs about $10 a bag here. It's not senior feed, nor is it Triple Crown. Will your horse survive on it? Yes, barring any special needs. As horse owners, are we being forced to make decisions we'd rather not have to make to afford our hobby? Yes. Whether that decision is selling your horse(s), making alterations to your husbandry techniques or making sacrifices in other areas of your life, there are still alternatives to "primo" horse keeping. Much like my life as a college student living on cans of soup when I'd much rather be eating steak.

    The economy as a whole needs to be fixed before we can reasonably expect results for a group of people maintaining horses primarily for a hobby. The horse market reflects only a minute portion of our gross national product. Let's fix finance, banking and the housing market first. If that means I pay more, then so be it.
    Last edited by Katie-Nicole; Oct. 10, 2008 at 02:52 PM.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    Bonsall, CA- with my horses finally home again!
    Posts
    2,165

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Katie-Nicole View Post
    While I understand the ideals posted by the OP, what people need to understand is that a decrease in gas doesn't mean an immediate decrease in costs. ...
    ...Suppliers and vendors are feeling the pinch of the economy same as us.

    ...As horse owners, are we being forced to make decisions we'd rather not have to make to afford our hobby? Yes. Whether that decision is selling your horse(s), making alterations to your husbandry techniques or making sacrifices in other areas of your life, there are still alternatives to "primo" horse keeping. Much like my life as a college student living on cans of soup when I'd much rather be eating steak.

    The economy as a whole needs to be fixed before we can reasonably expect results for a group of people maintaining horses primarily for a hobby. The horse market reflects only a minute portion of our gross national product. Let's fix finance, banking and the housing market first. If that means I pay more, then so be it.
    Agree 100%. There are a lot of things I can still cut out if I had to in order to keep my horse- training/ lessons, extra supplements, "premium" feed like Purina Ultium, move my horse to a cheaper but further away barn, sell my trailer (if anyone out there is still shopping for a trailer!), non-horsey stuff like eating out, going to concerts, buying new clothes because they are cute (don't need them though)... etc.

    As much as we like to all think they are necessities, horses are in fact a hobby. And the huge industry supporting that hobby- trainers, shows, retail, etc- need to remember that at the end of the day, their clients are paying for a hobby, and hobbies usually suffer first in an economy like this (compare it to the travel/ tourism industry network). Eventually the concept of supply/ demand will work as it is intended to in a free market economy, and the price point of goods and services will adjust to reflect that shift in balance.

    But you can't blame feed stores that your hobby now costs a lot more than it did a year ago.
    ~Living the life I imagined~



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2006
    Posts
    1,621

    Default

    and unfortunately for every customer who sells the horse due to high costs- that means the feed store just lost a customer - and how do they keep themselves afloat if the customers are dropping? higher costs...it is a viscious circle- and the feedstores I think are doing their darndest to try to keep themselves afloat, an keep themselves affordable for the customers- I would rather pay a few more bucks than have my feedstore close completely.... I personally am glad I am not a feedstore owner right now.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2004
    Location
    Rolling hills of Virginny
    Posts
    5,967

    Default

    Horses are luxuries. If you can't afford to feed them, it's not the feedstore owners' fault.

    Their costs are rising too, so what would you have them do? Keep the prices low and go out of business, just to accomodate you? OP, your thinking obviously concerns only you and how things are affecting you.

    I'm not sure how you decided that it was someone else's responsibility and financial burden to make sure you're able to afford your horses. Total bassackwards thinking.

    That's like sending a letter to the local, independent gasoline station owners, bemoaning the price of gas. They have to make a living, too.
    The plural of anecdote is not data.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
    Posts
    11,285

    Default

    First of all, I think you'd be sending this letter to the wrong party!!!! The people it should be addressed to are the people in Washington, DC. They sat around with their heads God knows where for years while things went South--and we, the public, questioned nothing.

    It isn't just the price of gas that is contributing to this problem--it's the housing market, the job market, the economy, etc. but the reason for these problem all eminate from the same place--Washington, DC! So, send your letter there because the feed stores are just trying to stay in business!!!!!

    I do feel in some cases that we are being gouged but for the most part people are just trying to stay in business.... I suspect things are just going to get worse and depending on who wins the election gas prices may again start to go up!

    I just hope the people who are saying, "if you can't feed horses, then you shouldn't have them" don't have to eat their words.... Eight years ago we could afford them!!!! Everything has doubled in price in the past eight years!!!! Coincidence--I think not!!!! Doubled!!!! I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime and I'm nearly sixty....
    "Happiness equals reality minus expectations." ~Tom Magliozzi~ of the infamous duo, Click and Clack Tappet, Car Talk hosts. RIP, Tom 6/28/37-11/3/14



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2005
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,409

    Default

    Having sold grain for a few years, I can tell you that the feed stores make diddly per bag. If they make a buck a bag, that's huge. And that doesn't count handling, storing and moving it around.Seriously.
    The grain companies are not going to pay any attention to a mom and pop feed store 'demanding' that they lower price.

    Famers are paying a LOT of money for the fertilizers and other chemicals needed to grow their crops. A lot of them are hanging on by their teeth. How do you think they will respond when a store tells them to lower their prices?

    Fuel oil is outrageous, which has driven up the price of wood. There are less shavings available now because a lot of the mills are selling their sawdust to pellet manufacturers. Companies that make bedding are facing increased costs to make that bedding.

    Sorry. Ain't gonna happen.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    10,544

    Default

    My feeder dealer gave me a heads up that her supply of beet pulp is drying up- no more to arrive until Nov 1, at the earliest- she knows I depend on BP a lot. I bought enough to last until mid-December. We chatted about grain and her biggest ongoing expense is the constant increase in the cost of freight.

    This is a cycle and life will get better down the road- don't fall prey to the Chicken Little groupies. I had to give up horses once in my adult life when circumstances dictated that decision.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    5,929

    Default

    I don't think the feed store owners are getting rich...I'm not sure what one can expect them to do.

    Everything is going up in price. We are just getting started. Printing money = inflation and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    I do appreciate your pain though...

    The only good thing that MAY come out of all of this cr#p is if people get mad enough to hold government accountable!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    How can a feed company "demand" that a supplier bring THEIR prices down, when the farmer can't bring THEIR prices down because of the cost of fuel, etc. etc. etc.

    Nobody's profit margin is all that beefy nowadays. The costs go right on down the line, back to the origin of the products we use. Times are tough everywhere; there's no pocket of untapped relief out there, really, that would respond to someone along the line just sucking it up and cutting their prices.
    Click here before you buy.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 21, 2005
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    2,453

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    You also have to keep in mind that the farmer does not determine the price of his crops. Crops are commodities and traded on the open market, just like oil. One of the grains (can't remember which one, sorry) dropped from a market price of $12 per bushel to $3/bushel in less than a month. Tell me how a farmer is going to pay his fuel, fertilizer, etc. bills with that.
    Lapeer ... a small drinking town with a farming problem.
    Proud Closet Canterer!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2007
    Location
    Bronx, NY/Atlanta, GA/Fort Dodge, IA
    Posts
    3,394

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Katie-Nicole View Post
    While I understand the ideals posted by the OP, what people need to understand is that a decrease in gas doesn't mean an immediate decrease in costs. How long did it take for the prices to increase for the products you buy in light of the increase in gas prices? The timeframe it took for the companies to absorb the costs of fuel while keeping their prices the same, put them behind financially. Now that oil is less than $100 a barrel, we cannot expect them to drop suit as an immediate response. Suppliers and vendors are feeling the pinch of the economy same as us.
    The problem is, even if fuel costs drop, following price drops don't always happen (however long it takes), and even if the price of fuel falls back to where it was, the prices of other items affected by the price of fuel will not fall back to their original levels - just like gas prices never went as low as they had been prior to the gas crises of the 70's, even though crude oil dropped lowed than it ever had.
    Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous
    Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2005
    Location
    Central California Mountains
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    784

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    Quote Originally Posted by arabhorse2 View Post
    Horses are luxuries. If you can't afford to feed them, it's not the feedstore owners' fault. Their costs are rising too, so what would you have them do? Keep the prices low and go out of business, just to accomodate you? OP, your thinking obviously concerns only you and how things are affecting you. I'm not sure how you decided that it was someone else's responsibility and financial burden to make sure you're able to afford your horses. Total bassackwards thinking.
    Thank you; this was exactly my thoughts as I was reading the original post. Sure, prices are biting me in the butt, but they are doing the same to the feed store owner. While some places are higher than other, it has always been that way - you just shop at the place that offers the best price. And if you don't have one, well, it might be time to re-think horse-ownership.



  14. #14

    Default

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieF View Post
    Open Letter to local Feed stores:

    We ask you as our middlemen to contact the feed companies, the hay people, the shavings people and demand they bring their prices down and pass the price reductions on to you and your customers.
    and do tell Maggie darhling...how do we bring the price of our hay down ???to do so would lower our costs over all so please share...I'll post it to the other hay boards...they'd love to know


    We ask that you look at your delivery charges, which are individually based, put in place a best practice program. As you already are delivering by area, take a look at the “individual delivery charges” that are tacked on to each order and bring them back down.
    individual delivery charges that involve an employee on the clock regardless of one stop or ten ?? if we just fired him and did not offer delivery that problem would be solved no ??


    In return, we will be able to continue to keep our horses and continue to be loyal customers to each of you.
    no you won't...you'll still whine about the one bale out of 50 that looked "off" you'll drive 50 miles away to save $10,you'll still leave us in the drop of a hat for a slick talking "hay jockey" who tells you what you want to hear and every now and then,you'll try to return to us a bale of hay we did not sell you...

    whatever....
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,034

    Default

    Doesn't anyone remember inflation in the Carter years? My how short our memory is! I was a kid and even I can remember it!

    And pssst, you can thank Clinton (and of course Carter too) for the current housing crisis....Bush has plenty of things to be blamed for...but this ain't one of them!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    Bonsall, CA- with my horses finally home again!
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    2,165

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    Quote Originally Posted by BelladonnaLily View Post
    And pssst, you can thank Clinton (and of course Carter too) for the current housing crisis....Bush has plenty of things to be blamed for...but this ain't one of them!
    See, now it's this kind of statement that chaps my a$$. I truly detest this all-too-American attitude of it's someone else's fault (like it being the feedstore owners fault that I can't afford my horses anymore and they should go bankrupt so I can...) Yes, the laws were changed but no one was out there holding guns to homebuyer's heads to make them take on loans that they couldn't afford. Nor did anyone suggest to Wall Street that they take those dicey loans structured on questionable assets backed by borrowers with no credentials, and make them slice and dice and trade them on the open market with a value that would rise and fall just like every other commodity eventually does (NOTHING goes up forever).

    For the first time in my life I wrote to my congressional representatives (both senate and house) before the second bill went up for vote and told them I did not in any way support a bailout of wall street and/or the companies and individuals whose fiscal irresponsiblity gotten them in their own damn mess. And MY money is going to "bail" them out? Let 'em go down in flames, says I. Market corrections are necessary especially when the market is out of control like it has been for the past few years. I think its outrageous that these people that bought $500K houses on "stated income" with no money down etc etc are now going to get not only their interest rates reduced, but their principle reduced so they can keep their house. So they essentially got rewarded for extremely poor decisions, while those of us who bought within our means and honor our financial responsibilities get a whole lotta nuthin' (well, except for a $700B bill to work off over the next gazillion years.... And now that they have overreacted the other way and completely shut off RESPONSIBLE credit, it's f-ing folks like one of my friends who is very financially responsible and WAS a good place to buy a house, but now with only 10% down instead of 20% she and her hubby will need to put their dream on hold until this market can correct itself.

    Sorry, rant over. This just endlessly burns me up that the situation was allowed to go unchecked for so long and now you and I are left holding the bag
    ~Living the life I imagined~



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    36,321

    Default

    Dang, even Presidents from 25+ years ago are being blamed for every blessed thing!

    I was in horrific debt when I was 25. I blame nobody but my very own self. I actually would have to think hard and do the math to figure out who the President even was at that time. I don't recall thinking he was to blame, though. Nor "the government".

    Election season: when perfectly normal human beings stop using the higher parts of their brains and go reptile.
    Click here before you buy.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,034

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    hey101, I agree...but the fact remains that the problem started long before the past 8 years. That is all I'm pointing out. Trust me, I'm a HUGE proponent of personal responsibility! I am responsible for me and my decisions, both good and bad. I've commented on more than one occassion that I have little sympathy for those folks who brought their financial crisis on themselves by buying more than they could afford.

    It just seems like when we're blaming Bush, everyone pats everyone else on the back and says "Yeah, he really sucks. It's ALL his fault. Blah blah blah". The minute you point out that a problem may have started with someone else everyone is quick to point out that you shouldn't blame the president! I was simply responding to the earlier posts that WERE blaming the (current) government!

    Amusing...

    Oh, and FWIW, I agree with the horses are luxuries statement and that if you can't afford to feed them, you shouldn't have them. I think I've said that about a bazillion times on this board. And been blasted for saying it, too



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2002
    Location
    way out west
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    3,193

    Default

    You won't get blasted by me for saying they're luxuries, because they are. Would I be sad and devastated if I couldn't keep my three? Yes, but it's not my local feed store's fault. Times are tough. Having a horse isn't a right, it's a privilege.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2007
    Location
    South of Georgia, North of Miami
    Posts
    1,118

    Default

    To be very simplistic.....all prices were being blamed on fuel....everything went up because it cost more to transport, manufacturer, blah, blah, blah. Oil went up per barrel...overnight gas at the pump would rise 10cents per gallon.

    So why is it that now that gas is down 75 cents a gallon, is everything still so high?

    Personally, I think its all a shell game and the only thing you can do is stop buying the overpriced products. I used to feed alfalfa hay daily, it went up to $19 a bale....let it rot. My horses are doing fine on regular hay and a high quality feed. Do I want to feed alfalfa, sure. I like the health benefits it gives them, but unless I stop buying it the price will never go down.

    We stopped buying so much gasoline, surprise, the price is going down. We have more power as a consumer than we realize, and its time we start waving that power around.

    I don't blame anybody for trying to play catch up by keeping the prices high, but I do have the choice of whether or not I want to continue to pay those prices.

    Christmas is coming. If we stand strong and don't overspend, things will start coming down, otherwise the retailers are going to be really crying this holiday season.



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