Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives

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March 5, 1935


This letter was one of several communications Governor Horner received at this time from Chicago livestock commission merchants. These merchants brokered animal purchases between farmers and meat packers. To support their enterprise the merchants took a commission or a percentage of the price that the packers paid for the livestock. Farmers had long resented the fees charged by those who acted as middlemen. When the bureau of animal industry, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, issued regulation docket number 402, livestock commission merchants were incensed. Their legal commission rates had been cut between twenty and twenty-five percent. This bad news came at a time when these merchants already were suffering for a variety of other reasons.

Governor Horner responded to this letter on March 11. He told Mr. Quinn that he had written Henry Wallace, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pointing out the plight of Chicago livestock commission merchants and urging reconsideration.

Points to Consider

Why had J. E. Quinn written Governor Horner?

What was a livestock commission merchant?

Why might farmers have resented livestock commission merchants?

Why should the federal government have determined the rate at which livestock commission merchants were compensated?

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