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Ogden Stockyards and Meat Packing Industry

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This page was last updated on March 7, 2013.

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Overview

The Ogden Stockyards had its beginning on the east bank of the Weber River, north of 24th Street in Ogden, Utah. Ogden Packing Company was organized in February 1906 and a small stockyard was built to the south of the packing house. This yard was used by local farmers to sell and trade their livestock. This is also where the Ogden Packing Company purchased a good part of their slaughter livestock. In the year 1916 or 1917 there was so much of a demand for stockyard facilities that it was moved across the Weber River to the west where there was enough room for expansion. The year 1917 was the first year the Ogden Livestock Show was held.

On July 5, 1924, the Ogden Packing and Provisioning Company became the American Packing and Provisioning Company. At the same time they obtained control of the Ogden Stockyards and held control until Congress passed a law in 1935 prohibiting a packing house from owning or having an interest in stockyards. So in January 1936, the stockyard was sold to the Denver Union Stockyard Company and was operated by them until January 31, 1971, when the Ogden stock yards were closed.

During February 1947, American Packing and Provisioning Company received the approval of the federal Civilian Production Administration (CPA) for the erection of a $115,000 addition to their present plant. The new building was to be four stories high, all-brick structure with four stories and a basement. The proposed addition was notable because it would be built without the use of wood or "other critical materials." The new addition would allow "at least double our capacity." The total cost was said to be at least $250,000, with an additional $50,000 on machinery alone.(Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 1947, p.6)

The new addition was to cost $300,000 and be used as a sheep unit, to increase the slaughter of sheep from 1,000 a week to 10,000 a week, and would increase the storage of supplies, cans, boxes, casings, and labels. The main purpose of the new unit was to allow the local slaughter of locally produced lambs, taking away the need to transport local lambs to other locations for slaughter, during which they lose weight. Ogden was number three in the number of lambs handled by stockyards in the nation. The new addition would double the slaughter of both hogs and cattle (for the company's markets in seven western states), as well as lambs, which will shipped to eastern markets.(Deseret News, February 13, 1947)

The American Packing Company was sold to Swift & Company on June 24, 1949 and they continued to operate until November 14, 1970, at which time the plant was closed down.

To increase activities in the cattle sales the Ogden Stockyards found an interested party that would operate a cattle auction at the stockyards. This action was started in 1939 and thereby offered the consignors of cattle an option of selling their cattle by private treaty through a commission firm or through the auction. The Ogden Stockyards is probably the first terminal livestock market in the United States to have a cattle auction along with private treaty sales. In the last few years of operation cattle, hogs, and sheep were sold by auction exclusively.

The economic impact of the stockyards in this area was quite enormous. The exchange or handling of money in the local banks due to the selling of livestock amounted to over $60 Million a year. Cattle were generally figured as being worth $200.00 each, hogs were $75.00 each, and sheep were $15.00 each.

Adding to this the stockyard, including the marketing agencies, had about 100 steady employees and the three packing houses had over 150 employees, which added to the economic strength of this area.

(Read the Ogden Union Stock Yards section from the book, "Ogden Rails," by Don Strack)

W. C. Parke & Sons

Started by William C. Parke in 1926 with the purchase of Fox & Keller Dressed Meat Company, where Mr. Parke had been an employee. He operated the company at the Fox & Keller facility on 17th Street until 1928. The new plant was constructed at 724 West 21st Street in 1928 at a cost of $40,000.

The Parke company owned a feed lot, which held 500 to 1,500 head of cattle. The company used 2 million pounds of grain and 1,000 tons of hay in its feed lot operation. The hay was grown on a 1,900 acre ranch owned by the company in Huntsville.

The company produced wholesale dressed meat and sausage for local distribution. The company's annual kill was 5,000 head of cattle, 6,000 to 8,000 head of hogs, 3,000 head of sheep and 1,500 head of veal. ("Do Tell", Ogden Chamber of Commerce newsletter, Volume 2, number 1, October 1945)

Joe Simpson says that W. C. Parke purchased the Wilson & Company operation in about 1942-1943. (Interview with Joseph G. Simpson, July 14, 1996)

Number of Cars of Livestock Unloaded and Reloaded

 

1930

1945 (peak)

1966

Cattle

 

19,000 cars

2,060 cars

Hogs

 

6,000 cars

2,528 cars

Sheep

 

20,000 cars

730 cars

Total

13,298 (in)

 

 

 

13,531 (out)

45,000 cars

5,319 cars

Cars, Daily

38 (calculated)

123

15

Source: Kenneth Knowles

Commission Firms Operating At The Stockyards

Merrion and Wilkins

Sheep

W. R. Smith and Son

Sheep

Lowell and Miller

Sheep

Peck Brothers

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

John Clay

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

Producers Livestock Marketing Association

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

L. L. Keller

Cattle, Sheep

Farmers Union

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

Ogden Auction

Cattle

Alex Patterson Commission Company

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

Ogden Stockyards Statistics

 

1930

1933

1943

1944

1953

1960

1967

1970 (final)

Cattle (head)

134,455

27,600

205,000

298,200

190,000

120,000

113,000

56,000

Hog (head)

276,194

16,800

364,000

345,600

29,500

30,000

30,000

12,000

Sheep and Lambs (head)

1,733,671

250,000

1,887,000

1,716,300

777,000

444,000

290,000

100,000

Horses and Mules (head)

3,118

 

10,800

16,551

 

 

 

 

Total (head)

2,147,438

294,400

2,466,800

2,360,100

996,500

594,000

433,000

168,000

A. Figures for 1930 from "Ogden - The Gateway to the Intermountain West"

B. Figures for 1943 from "Do Tell", Volume 1, number 1, October 1944.

C. Figures for 1944 from "Do Tell", Volume 1, number 12, September 1945.

Bibliography

"A Brief History Of The Ogden Stockyards", by Kenneth R. Knowles, circa 1972.

Mr. Knowles was the last Secretary-Treasurer of the Ogden Union Stock Yards Company at the time of its shut-down in January 1972. This four page monograph obtained by the author from Mrs. Kenneth (Doris) Knowles on July 16, 1996.

"Ogden - Gateway to the Intermountain West" Ogden Chamber of Commerce, 1930

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