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High corn stocks make for low market prices PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

Tall corn fields are starting to disappear, clearing rural road visibility and decreasing the chances of accidents along country roads, particularly at intersections.

Something else that is decreasing is the price of corn. After a record high of $7.63 per bushel in 2012, corn prices have fallen to $3.13 per bushel. It’s all part of the supply and demand game.

Combining the current surplus from last year’s crop with the harvest haul farmers are expecting, corn prices have seen this dramatic price decline.

A publication by the Nebraska Corn Board reported that, coming off last year’s record-setting harvest, the United States carryover stocks of corn have risen to an estimated 1.8 billion bushels, the highest level since 2005-06.

Paoli Co-op is just getting started with harvest on its side, but reports are showing positive marks. Steve Young of Holyoke’s Grainland Cooperative said they are only around 15 percent completed with corn harvest, but this year’s crop is anticipated to be another record-setter.

A combine sits in a patch of harvested corn, but there is still much more to harvest behind it. Harvest is progressing slowly in the area, not having had a hard freeze to kill the corn’s growth.  

—Enterprise photo

“We’re looking at a 14 billion bushel crop,” Young said. “We’ve seen the carryover steadily climb the last two to three years.”

That’s the supply side. The demand for corn has decreased, largely due to the 2012 drought which reduced the number of cattle in the U.S., according to the NCB newsletter. It said that with fewer cattle, the demand for corn and distillers grains to feed them was also significantly reduced.

Furthermore, overseas demand for corn and distillers grains has backed off due to the high costs prior to the price drop. Young said there’s a good chance these trends will reverse over the next few years, as demand will grow again due to costs being low.

Young also mentioned that, along the U.S. corn belt more than the Holyoke area, there is a projection that next spring might have more farmers growing soybeans than corn, depending on the availability and market for soybeans. He said it’s something that has never happened before, but many corn growers in other areas of the country are showing interest in making the switch.

Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014

Schmidt dedicates her 100 years to faith, family, independence PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

With a smile that continues to sparkle and a mind that is sharp as ever, Twila Schmidt will celebrate her 100th birthday next Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Quick to acknowledge that in many ways it’s a different world today than it was 100 years ago, Schmidt is most flabbergasted by the evolution of the phone.

Being able to see the picture of a new family member born in Denver 10 minutes after the birth, by way of smartphone pictures, is almost unfathomable to the soon-to-be centenarian.

She has seen so much come into existence — from television, electricity, tractors and much more. But the high-end use of cellphones today is truly amazing to her.

From the practical side of living for 10 decades, Schmidt flashes her sweet smile as she serenely says, “My faith in the Lord God got me to my 100th birthday.” Living for her family has been her No. 1 thing, and she makes it clear that they are priority.

An avid reader, Schmidt continues her daily commitment to read her Portals of Prayer devotional. She peruses her local newspaper and anything to do with health, which she admits has always been a topic she’s had a keen interest in.

By way of television, she listens to her Sunday morning church program and is a faithful Dr. Phil follower — “and the news,” she adds emphatically, making it clear she keeps up with the happenings in the world.

Another key to Schmidt’s longevity points to something she says her mother always said: “Look at the good points in life.” Schmidt said she’s always believed in the importance of making the best out of situations, and she doesn’t dwell on the bad that happens.

Her granddaughter added to that, noting that Schmidt often said to the family, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

Born Oct. 28, 1914, in a little farmhouse in Lamar, Neb., Twila Arnold was the middle child, with brothers on both sides of her. The family moved to Holyoke when she was in the fifth grade.

She graduated as valedictorian of the Phillips County High School Class of 1933 and just last year celebrated her 80-year class reunion. She considers graduating at the top of her high school class as a key accomplishment in her life. It was only the beginning of a life full of the love of learning.

Only one day after her high school graduation, Twila married Willty Poos, and the couple moved to Amherst, where they farmed six quarters of wheat land. On the farm, she dressed chickens, milked cows, cleaned eggs, did all the bookwork and prepared three meals a day for the hired men. She had one hired girl to help her in the house.

On the farm, Twila and Willty had two sons: Verlin and Johnny.

In 1949, she went through a bitter divorce and in 1952 married Lawrence Schmidt. She helped Lawrence run Schmidt Oil Company, which was a filling station eight miles north of Holyoke. The Schmidts delivered fuel for area farmers, as well.

They bought a house in Holyoke in 1965, which Twila still calls home. They retired and sold their gas station in 1971. After retiring, they raised their granddaughter, Pennie Poos Ramey, who lived with them for about nine years until she graduated from Holyoke High School in 1980.

Both of her sons and her husband are deceased. Twila is a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Holyoke. She specifically wrote about her faith in her history printed in the “Those were the Days” Phillips County history book in 1989. At the end, Twila acknowledged the deaths of her parents.

She closed her life history in “Those were the Days” with the following: “We miss all the departed family, but we believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that we’ll all be reunited again in heaven.”

Twila continued a happy, independent lifestyle until she fell and fractured her pelvis in 2008. Since that time, she has appreciated the assistance of family who have cared for her both in her own home and in their homes, as well. She still maintains independent thinking and living.

For instance, she still has a quarter of wheat land in Phillips County and continues to make the decisions on it. Granddaughter Dixie testifies that it is Twila who watches the wheat prices and decides when to sell. “Her mind is good enough to do that — trust me,” added Dixie.

Schmidt feels fortunate to have most of her family nearby in Colorado and Nebraska. It was a grand celebration last Sunday, Oct. 19, when more than 30 family members gathered at a local restaurant for dinner and then hosted Twila’s 100th birthday open house.

Her offspring includes her two sons (now deceased), stepson Robert Schmidt, four grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren with one more on the way, and nine great-great-grands.

Many were able to join in Sunday’s celebration with Schmidt. The gathering also included her daughters-in-law, Mary Poos and Sharon Poos; and her ex-daughter-in-law, Mary Jane Allen.

It was a memorable open house celebration for Twila, where she had a wonderful time greeting friends as well as family. She looks forward to the official day next week when she joins the centenarian ranks.

Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014

Pump station being built for Pony Express Pipeline PDF Print E-mail
Written by Isaac Kreider   

Holyoke has seen an increase in oil and gas service vehicles around the area, overnight at the local motels and particularly south of town.

Construction is being conducted just south of the Phillips/Yuma county line, where crews are building a new pump station for the Pony Express Pipeline.

The pipeline is being converted from natural gas to crude oil service. Josh Roskey is the chief inspector of the site south of Holyoke. He said this new pump station is one of 15 being built along the pipeline to increase its velocity as the transport speed slows down between stations.

A new pump station is being built along Highway 385 just across the Phillips County line south of Holyoke. This pump station will be one of 15 new ones along the Pony Express Pipeline, which runs from Guernsey, Wyo., to Cushing, Okla. Construction of site facilities is expected to be completed by early April 2015.  

—Enterprise photo

Housed in this station will be three large pumps. As oil comes down the pipeline, it will be suctioned into the station, through filters, into the pumps, out through discharge lines, back into the pipeline and downstream.

The pipeline originates in Guernsey, Wyo. It takes a sharp diagonal turn southeast where it connects with the pump station and new oil storage facility that has been constructed 10 miles east of Sterling on Highway 6. From there, it cuts diagonally south of Holyoke, into Yuma County, on toward Kansas and eventually south to Cushing, Okla.

Converting an existing pipeline, though still costly, is much less expensive and more environmentally friendly than digging a new ditch to construct a whole new pipeline, according to the Tallgrass Energy Partners website.

Actually, the line is being reconverted back to crude oil. In 1997, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a request from then pipeline owner Kinder Morgan Inc. to convert the line from crude oil to natural gas service.

A worker, pictured at left, fabricates pipe for the Pony Express Pipeline. The pipe mechanism on the right directs the pipeline into the new pump station south of Holyoke that is being built to increase the velocity of the pipeline.  

—Enterprise photo

Tallgrass cited a declining price for natural gas and a robust increase in oil production in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming as the main reasons for the switch. The reconversion of the 400-plus-mile section of the pipeline has been progressing for several months.

Along with the pump station, an office warehouse and power distribution center will also be built on the site south of Holyoke. Construction began in early September and is expected to be completed by early April 2015, Roskey said. He also noted that everything will be run on electric motors except for an emergency generator.

The line will transport domestic light crude oil found in the Bakken oil production area in North Dakota and eastern Montana. Upstream pipelines that connect with the Bakken supply feed the northern end of the line. Current capacity of the pipeline is 230,000 barrels per day.

Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014