Zorra Now - Community Events & Services Magazine -Spring 2023

30 Zorra Now | Spring 2023 FEATURE ARTICLE him thinking about what the next breakthrough was going to be, or which company or farm to purchase next. In the book, he writes, “I get my enjoyment out of solving problems and putting things together and making them work. When an operation becomes routine, I want to leave it with someone who likes routine and I move on to something new.” Thinking of what Weir said and what she found in his memoirs, I imagine Beaty in the 1970s sitting at that desk long after sundown thinking it would be a good idea to buy the company’s own heavy industrial equipment, concrete batching plant, and a fleet of ready-mix concrete trucks so they could continue with construction without delays. It was something that was unheard of at the time for a company whose predominant business was primary agricultural production, and probably will never happen again. But it worked at that time. Notes under the heading “Construction” in the book outline Beaty’s rationale for the 1978 decision. It has become apparent to him, after close to 20 years of construction and renovation projects on the Thamesford site as well as on purchased farms, that “the building program carries on forever, it seems, at an ever-increasing pace.” “The first Cold Springs project (was) the remodelling of the (former dairy) barn in Thamesford into a five-floor brooder barn” after the original Billy McKay farm was purchased in 1949, he recalled. “Next was the building of the #6 barn in 1950 to be followed by the #7 barn in 1954. (Then) came the new killing plant and, in the fall (of 1955), the #9 brooder building.” Between 195759, three more brooder buildings – numbers 10 through 12, ranging in size from 24,000 to 32,000 square feet – were completed, as well as a turkey hatchery. “1960 brought on the building of the West #1 brooder house of 28,000 square feet on the West Farm and the East #2 brooder house containing 75,000 square feet being built in 1961.” And between 1972-78 “there were 14 concrete grain storage silos built, equipped and put into use as needed.” Make no mistake, Beaty made sure the company got full value out of the decision to diversify into concrete. “The feed mill was constructed in 1979 to completion in 1981 . . . The sewage treatment plant was built in 1982. The Protein Recovery plant was built in 1980-81. Grain receiving and storage terminals were built in 1983 at both Harmony and Dresden. The fabrication plant and Farm Centre warehouse were built in 1987, and the pork plant in 1988-89.” There was also the Putnam complex for Cold Springs Agri-Services in 1985-86, with additional offices and a truck service headquarters added a year later. “Over the years on the various farms, probably 100 sizeable brooder and finishing barns have been built (and) at least 30 hog farrowing and finishing barns have been constructed.” In short, Beaty’s assessment of the building program – that it “carries on forever” – was true. Amazingly, this is far from the only section of the book that presents what, to the average person, would seem like a dizzying whirlwind of stressinducing activity. Under sections entitled “Turkey Breeding,” “Hatchery,” “Processed Product Sales,” “General Farming,” “Farming in Michigan,” “Hog and Pork Production,” “Joint Corporations,” “List of Property Purchases,” “The Florida Project” and numerous others, the progression of the Cold Springs Farm business – all under Beaty’s direction – must have left him with little or no time to sleep . . . for four-and-a-half decades! There must have been times when he worried about financial threats. In notes probably written around 1991, Beaty assesses the performance of the pork processing facility. “While the plant so far has been a loser, ways will be found to keep it operating, for it is a good modern plant. Cold Springs is not alone in this profit pinch.” He also writes about a short-lived, early 1980s foray into dairy production. It was, as Fred Wisdom states in his “Cold Springs Farm Limited: First 50 Years” section of the book, “a sorry period in the group’s history” during which the dairy division never turned a profit and was discontinued by 1990. “Farmmilk production is best in the hands of an owner producer who looks to the caretaking of the