Symbol of ranching life shutting its doors |

Symbol of ranching life shutting its doors

Pete Fowler
Vail, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson / Post IndependentRancher Bob Hoffmeister, left, talks with Bob Bloomfield and Jim Mataiozzi, right, while in line at the Silt Co-op Monday. After 20 years of business, the Co-op is closing, and putting almost everything on sale. Some people waited five hours in line Monday.

SILT ” An icon of the rural American lifestyle is fading away in Silt.

A farm and ranch supply store is closing, and some say it’s a sad sign of changing times and the disappearance of the agriculture lifestyle.

The Silt Co-op is in the midst of its closeout sale with 50 percent off most items until May 31 ” its last day.

“It’s depressing,” said Dawn Bailey, who works at the adjacent Sinclair station. “It’s more loss of our agriculture.”

Bailey said she’s lived in Silt “all 45 years” and her grandfather was president of the Silt Co-op when it was housed in the Sinclair station. It moved a door down, but has been a staple of the town during her life. Old-timers still visit the Sinclair trying to write checks to the Co-op.

Bailey’s seen wide-open spaces, hayfields and farms in the area turn into housing developments.

“It’s all big giant houses,” she said.

When farmers die their kids either don’t work on their farms or they do but they can’t make money at it and pay inheritance taxes, she added.

Some believe the loss of the Silt Co-op will be a hardship on the farming community.

“All these farmers around here depend on those guys for fertilizer and they’ll have to go all the way down to Fruita just to get it,” said Kathleen Kearns, who also works at the Sinclair.

Ed Puckett believes the economics of farming nationwide don’t add up anymore.

“We stop planting crops and we plant houses where the best cropland is, so one day we’ll be really hungry,” said Puckett, who operates the New Castle sod farm.

He knows the property he leases for his business is “doomed” to be sold by the owner to a developer. Puckett said the owner could make a lot more money selling the property than leasing it to Puckett.

The U.S. is now a net importer of food, which he believes will ultimately lead to inflation, Puckett said.

“The answer is it’s too late,” he said. “We’ve already planted our houses where we’ve planted our food.”

Co-op Country in Fruita, who purchased the Silt Co-op, didn’t offer a comment. A manager of the co-op, who people call Terry, didn’t want to speak about the closing but was said to be upset about it.

The sign on the door offered thanks to its many customers.

“We want to thank all of our members, patrons and customers for their business and friendship over the last 20 years,” it says. “You have been wonderful, loyal customers, and we greatly appreciate you.”

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