Message from the Owner

Stan & Jean Potratz, Owners

Why the next 5 years will be different

Predictions are risky-particularly in such a volatile moment. But you can't prepare for the future if you bury your head in the sand.

Here are fundamental trends that are, in my view, going to affect livestock producers.

Note: I know that some may be offended by what's said below. Those who know me understand that my analytical interests exceed my political instincts. Otherwise why would I risk offending customers?

  • Higher energy (petroleum, natural gas, electricity) prices. Unless a crisis occurs they won't double but they will remain high vs. 5 years ago. There's also a reasonable possibility of higher taxes on them by 2009. (Higher taxes would reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East.)
  • Reduced domestic per capita demand for meat. Why? The USA has been living beyond its means (perhaps 6% per year over 5 years). Reality will come driven by high energy prices, taxes, interest rates and a lower US $. The current era (unique in history) in which so many feel they have so much discretionary $ will gradually end. People can and will reduce meat consumption to cut expenses.
  • Increased export demand for USA grain and meat. Causes are increased prosperity in the Far East (so they want our meat & grain) and a lower US $ vs. Far East currencies.
  • Higher grain prices. Causes are ethanol (due to high oil costs) and more export demand (see above). So livestock will have to compete with vehicle fuel tanks and oversea markets for US corn, beans, wheat, etc.
  • Jobs will continue to move to the Far East. Despite protests in Washington there is nothing that can prevent this. The differences in labor costs are simply too large. The harsh truth is that we must adjust to this reality.
  • Lower govt. subsidies to farmers. Our govt. can't afford them so they will decline.
  • Higher prices for crop land. Some CRP land will be used for grain production.
  • Pork and poultry production will be less profitable-due to high grain and energy costs. Offsetting this will be higher export demand and thus higher prices.
  • Lamb prices will remain high (and may go higher). Why? Lamb consumers are among the most wealthy and thus less affected by more taxes and higher energy costs. Competition from imported lamb will be reduced by a lower US $ and the most widespread drought in 1000 years to the Australian prime lamb areas.
  • Grass-based cattle, sheep and goat production systems will be more profitable. The by-products of ethanol plants will reduce stored feed costs.
  • Cattle and lamb feeders will reduce an animal's feedlot time to reduce grain inputs.
  • Higher costs for most farm inputs. Steel, aluminum, copper, plastics are all much higher than they were 2 years ago. Consider electric fence insulators, tape, polywire, rope and netting: last year the cost of polyethylene increased 40%, stainless steel 40% & tinned copper 120%. So rising retail costs will occur (buying 07 needs now may be wise).
  • More low-cost farm inputs come from China, India and Pakistan. But product quality on some Far East products varies dramatically and can be hard to detect visually. Beware of buying farm inputs from firms that don't have quality control system in place and/or don't back up what they sell. We know only too well the increased quality issues of Far East products-because Premier has been searching the Far East for products since 2001. (We visit often to keep our sources focused on quality.)

Best wishes to all,
Stan Potratz

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Special Price from Premier!

Bucket Teat Unit only $2

when you purchase a Premier bucket!

Ready for lambing and kidding season? When you purchase any of Premier's buckets, (listed below) you can buy the bucket teat unit for only $2 each.

Premier Buckets and Teat Units

Square with lid 4 gal.
Round with lid 2 gal.
Round with lid 1 gal.
Round (bucket only) 3.5 gal.
Lid for 3.5 gal. bucket
Drill holes per bucket

Bucket Teat Unit (reg. $2.50)
First introduced to the USA by Premier over 15 years ago. Has been the "gold standard" design ever since. Includes one red washer. Premier's wrench for the teat unit is a tool that helps tighten and loosen the teat unit quickly and easily.

Accessories for Teat Unit

Latex Starter
Red Rubber
Natural Latex
Red Latex

How to order?

  1. Order the bucket(s) of your choice and also add the bucket teat unit(s). For each bucket you order, you can get a bucket unit for $2. NOTE: The original price of the bucket teat unit will be shown on your internet order screen, however, we will adjust it to the sale price when we receive your order.
  2. Enter News 22IT in the "Catalog Source Code" box on the "Checkout-Confirm & Submit" screen on our website

Offer good through Jan. 31, 2007

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Premier VIP

Selection Process of Club Lambs

by Justin Spieker

Spieker/Erdman Club Lambs started when I decided to start showing lambs for FFA. My first lambs that I bought were ewe lambs so I would be able to start my own flock. Through the help of local producers, we have been able to gain access to progressive genetics and top-notch expertise.

When we are selecting rams and ewes we try to find the overall combination of the traits that we would like to portray in our club lamb flock. We put a lot of emphasis on bone structure as well as muscle mass, while still trying to have an overall show appeal to the lambs we want to produce. We also keep angularity in mind and focus directly on structure. Here are a few steps that we go through when we are selecting the perfect sheep to either show or put up into our club lamb flock.

Remember everything is a piece of a puzzle. This is the number one thing we think of when selecting a sheep to put back in our flock. After analyzing what our rams and ewes have produced, we see what traits that we could improve on to make our flock more uniform. If we feel like we need to try to produce more heavily muscled sheep, then we find sheep that are going to do that for us. If we feel like we need to produce sheep that are cleaner fronted, then we find sheep that will do this for us.

Set a budget

Before you go looking, set an amount that you are willing to spend and stick with that amount. We do a great deal of research and looking around for lambs in order to find the best ram or ewe for our budget and program.


Talk to the producers and search the Internet to see what bloodlines are working. Most producers are always willing to lend a hand by letting you know what genetic lines are working for them or what they have heard is working for other breeders. On the same hand, you need to remember that what might work for one producer may not work for another. It is all a matter of what genetic lines will work on your flock.

Shop around

Do not settle on the first one you see. Go to producers' farms, go to sales and look around so you have comfort in knowing you picked the right one for yourself. If you travel to producers' farms you can also look at what they are consigning to sales so you have an idea of what is going to be at the particular sale. It is always a smart idea to look at several producers' farms before making a decision.

If one is planning on making it in the club lamb industry, keep in mind that marketing is a huge key for success. You need both word of mouth and physical forms of marketing to make your project work. This year we are in the process of developing a website for our business to get our name out more. We attend sales around our area, and we encourage anyone to come to our farm to take a look at our sheep. We price lambs at all ranges. Our saying is to produce sheep that you can be successful with at an affordable price.

For more information on Spieker/Erdman Club Lambs contact them via:

Justin Spieker
2380 320th St.
Spencer, IA 51301

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Premier Tip

Superlube Uses

Ear tagging with Superlube lubricating antiseptic that:

  1. Makes tag insertion much easier (requires much less hand strength to press male into the female).
  2. Reduces infection risk. Antiseptic in gel reduces ability of microbes from surface of ear tissue to cause infection in the "wound".

Superlube an all-purpose antiseptic OB lubricant

Use for sheep and goats and unlike many soaps and detergents, Superlube will not irritate internal tissue. Protects tissue by reducing the abrasive, bruising, lacerating impact of fingers, retainers, pullers, plastic gloves, etc.

8 & 16 oz. oval-shaped plastic squeeze bottles fit in a pocket and can be thrown into boxes without fear of breakage or spillage. Small flip-out nozzle assists placement of the lubricant and prevents spillage.

Superlube will keep for years if the bottle is stored out of the sun.

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Premier Employee Spotlight

Bill Stai

Bill Stai is this month's featured employee. Bill's been with Premier for 2 years and does most of our clipper/shear repair and assists with building new clippers, blade sharpening and energizer repairs.

Bill and his wife Rose live in Kalona, IA and have been married for 39 years. They have four children who all live nearby - 2 daughters, Gwen 38 years old, Julie 36 years old; two sons Josh 29 years old, Jeremiah 26 years old and six grandchildren. Bill enjoys teaching his grandchildren to drive his golf cart, working in his yard and playing a mean game of beanbag.

He said what he likes most about Premier is "the variety of jobs that I get to do and that Premier is a steady and reliable growing company. The dedicated people that I get to work with is just great."

When asked his favorite statement, it was "Get over it – move on!" Nothing seems to get Bill upset, he too is steady and reliable.

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Stuffed Mushrooms


2 pkgs. cream cheese
2 cans imitation crab meat
chopped onion
parmesan cheese
garlic salt
1/2 stick butter
3 pkgs. mushrooms

Put garlic salt and butter in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees until melted.

Pop off stems and wash mushrooms. Mix cream cheese, onion, crab meat and a handful of chopped stems. Fill mushrooms with mixture. Place in dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

– from Premier employee, Brenda McArtor.

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