By John Switzer
With the price of beef going through the roof nowadays, cattle rustling is coming back into vogue across the country and in Ohio.
Michael Bergman, a Madison County farmer who raises cattle, said farmers are worried.
“Cattle prices are higher now than ever before in history, but you don’t have to be a farmer to know that,” he said. “All you have to do is walk into a grocery store.”
He said a market steer is worth well over $2,000, and when farmers get together, one subject that always seems to come up is cattle rustling. Bergman has put padlocks on all of the gates to his pastures where cattle graze. He never locked them before.
He reminded me that it wasn’t all that long ago that stealing livestock was a hanging offense in Ohio. He told me about a man who stole a horse in the 1880s in Harrisburg in Franklin County. Locals tracked him to just outside a place called Big Plains in Madison County, where they caught up with him.
“They hanged him from a tree along the side of the road,” Bergman said.
More recently, he said, two men were arrested last summer for stealing six cows in Tuscarawas County, but they were suspected of taking more than 40 head in Tuscarawas and Coshocton counties.
One of them pleaded guilty to theft of a bull and three cows and was sentenced to six months in the county jail. The story probably would have had more media coverage if rustling were still a hanging offense.
Bergman added that, with pork prices also soaring, hog stealing is also going on.
“Farmers are nervous,” he said.
One of the major glories of the late summer is the color scheme that becomes apparent when the last plants of the season begin to bloom, as they are right now. That color scheme features primarily two vibrant colors.
One is the golden yellow of black-eyed Susans, the ubiquitous goldenrod and other yellow flowers; and the other is the rich purple of New England asters, ironweed and joe-pye weed, among other purple flowers.
Those colors go together absolutely perfectly, and it appears to me there must have been some thought given in the choosing of the colors. It’s hard for me to believe it could have been happenstance.
I don’t know if the burst of gold and purple beginning now is a crescendo at the end of summer or a fanfare preceding the beginning of fall, but I know that whoever wrote the notes to this rhapsody did it perfectly.
I also know that when those colors begin to fade along with the colors of autumn leaves, there will be almost no colors left in nature until spring.