Brian Higby - Saturday, January 12, 2019
2019 HERE WE GO!
As we move into the new year we want to say a special thank you for making 2018 another successful year here at Higby’s. 2018 certainly had it’s
challenges with the rising steel prices. If you think about it when you drive in our driveway look around at how much steel we sell! That stuff
was all affected by the increased steel costs. Scott did a good job of staying ahead of the price increases and purchasing when there were
opportunities to save a few bucks. As a result we even saw increased sales in steel posts, fencing, and gates last year! So let’s take a second
and talk about where steel prices are going this year..... Likely we will continue to see price increases until this tariff thing stabilizes.
There are likely companies that have been waiting to raise prices and if they see no relief in sight will be forced to go ahead raise them.
Of course it is possible the tariffs will go away and eventually steel prices will come down but that will take awhile as everyone works through
their higher priced inventories. Anybody care to guess?
We are doing well on keeping all the different varieties of hay available for you. As of early January it is looking like we should have enough
to last through until the new hay season. So what do we have? Alfalfa, Oat, Oat Mix, Rye, Teff, Mountain Grass, Orchard Alfalfa. We also have
plenty of Rice Straw and probably enough Wheat Straw to last most of the winter. Sometimes we don’t keep the Wheat Straw here at the store
so ask ahead.
FEED AND GRAIN UPDATE
Good news to report here! The grain market has been relatively stable and looks like it will continue that way in the coming months. That means your bag of grain will stay pretty much the same price for awhile.
FEED GREATNESS EVENT
At the end of November we raffled off a $500 Orion 65 Cooler. We gave customers one ticket per $100 dollars spent. The winner was Lisa Dage! We have more goodies to raffle off in the future. Watch for details!
In closing, all of us here at Higby’s want to thank you for being our customers. You are what makes it all happen here. Scott is always eager to hear any concerns or suggestions you have to help us improve. We still meet weekly to address how we can improve in our customer service. Your input is appreciated!
Brian Higby - Thursday, November 08, 2018
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY SUCCESS!
We want to thank everyone who came to our Customer Appreciation Day! The weather turned out perfect, the food was great, many of you won prizes,
and we all had a great day! We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did!
FEED GREATNESS EVENT
We are doing a Feed Greatness Event the end of November. Many Purina horse feeds will be discounted from Nov 24 thru 30 (see ad in this newsletter)! On the 30th there will be a drawing for an Orion 65 Cooler ($500 value)! All
thru November you can get one ticket for every $100.00 spent to put into the drawing!
HAY AND GRAIN REPORT
Here is an update on how we are doing with hay. Alfalfa Hay is good quality and we have plenty. Oat, Oat Mix, and Rye are not very flashy this year
but they are all feeding well. Mountain Grass is really nice right now! The Orchard Alfalfa is running 30 percent alfalfa and higher, it kind
of varies from load to load. We struggled with Teff early on but landed on a good batch that is put away in a barn for us. As the winter progresses
keep checking as we probably do not have enough Teff to last thru the entire winter. We are in that time of year that we would expect the hay
prices to inch upward as we move to barn stored hay for the winter. Overall not a bad report when it comes to hay! Grain prices are relatively
stable. Some of the milks just took an increase and bird seed pricing is always volatile.
Steel is still crazy. Tariffs and freight costs have been taking their toll. We hope this all stabilizes soon.
Thank you all for your loyalty! We truly do appreciate your business!
Roland, Scott and staff
Brian Higby - Tuesday, September 11, 2018
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY THIS MONTH!!!
Mark your calendars...it’s time for Higby’s customer appreciation day again ... Saturday September 29th. Like
before, we will have food and goodies all day long. The Taco cart was such a hit last year we have invited the same vendor back again! If you
missed last year we started off with breakfast burritos in the morning and after they were gone chicken, beef, or pork tacos! In my opinion
what made these so good was he also has all the condiments available for you to add. They were excellent!
Scott’s mom is making her famous brownies and more goodies! Denise will surprise us with her snacks later in
the day. She is already talking about meat balls with a special sauce, shrimp fresh off the bbq and who knows what else! Mari and Gary have
lined up vendors to be on hand to answer your questions and no doubt many will have coupons!! Higby’s is paying the sales tax for you on the
29th, that day only so don’t miss it! We are running the Purina Checkerboard Days promotion on that day as well so watch for extra discounts
on your favorite Purina feed and we still pay the sales tax! There will be many other deals, etc. so it will be worth your while to come!
Last but not least we will have raffle prizes. You can start entering your name for the prizes all month long!
We have a nice selection of prizes to give away. I know I must have missed something but we want you to know we really appreciate our customers
and this is your special day! Thank you!
Anything made of steel is continuing to be hit with price increases. Items we sell that are affected
are fencing, gates, cattle handling equipment, steel panels, t-posts, water troughs, livestock feeders, and anything else that has
any metal or steel in it. The only way we have to combat this is to keep well stocked so that we can stave off the price increases
as long as we can. We tend to not increase our prices until we place orders for the new higher priced inventory. Thanks for your understanding.
If you haven’t stocked up your barns yet it is September! Don’t wait too long! When the days get shorter
and nights cool off the alfalfa starts being higher in protein and then we are competing with the dairy cow market.
Thank you for continuing to put Higby’s on the map! We appreciate you!
Roland and Scott
Brian Higby - Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Save the Date!
Customer Appreciation Day Saturday, September 29th
UPDATE ON HAY
Here is an update on what our hay looks like. We have some really beautiful 2nd cutting Alfalfa. It is really nice, green, leafy, and
small to medium stemmed. Third cutting and later is still our recommendation for stocking your barns with horse Alfalfa and should
be available mid July but this 2nd will get you by until that time. The Oat hay is showing a lot of brown grass. It seems to be feeding
ok but the Three Way hay looks much nicer and also feeds well. In most cases you probably will choose the Three Way over the Oat. The
Rye is average looking and seems to be feeding well. We just got in new Mountain Grass from this year. It looks great! Orchard Alfalfa
is still last years but is really nice. Our guess is we will see this year’s Orchard Alfalfa sometime late July. Teff hay should be
available again by late July. There it is in a nutshell! Hope this information helps.
This past month showed little movement in grain pricing. I like it when I don’t have to change pricing! The grain forecast is good
at the moment which helps keep pricing stable. It is just kind of a wait and see thing from month to month so stay tuned!
Steel covers a lot of items that we sell: Troughs, fencing, gates, dog kennels, panels, t-posts, and more! Pricing on steel is volatile and about all you can say for sure is it will continue to rise! I hope it is good for somebody, it isn’t a good thing for us or our customers.
IT’S JULY ALREADY!!!
This year seems like it is really zipping by! We are thankful that we are keeping very busy here at the store. Over the years
we have seen all of the circumstances above come and go. We have learned to just roll with the punches and do the best we can
for our customers. For example if we have opportunity to save by buying truckloads direct we do so. This year we have ordered
more t-posts and wire than we have ever done in the past in an effort to keep hedging the price increases.
Scott and I truly appreciate your business!
Brian Higby - Tuesday, May 08, 2018
NEW SUNDAY HOURS! 10 am—4 pm Starting May 13th
WE GOT MORE RAIN!
If you remember the last newsletter we were looking forward to a rain event that would push us over 10 inches of rain for this season. We exceeded
that and are now over 12 inches! Still well below normal, but for now it is all good. That’s good news for the Oat and Rye hay. I know the
hot days are coming soon, so enjoy this mild weather while it lasts! Of course we have no control but as we get into May they will be cutting
grain and grass hay. Let’s hope the rain doesn't come visiting then! Any rain as it gets close to harvest time diminishes the quality of the
hay and too much will actually render it unfit for horses .... such critical timing! Farmers have to have stomachs of iron to face weather
that is beyond their control. Really we don’t consider hay to be horse quality until it is cut, baled, and put into the barn all without any
rain .... a 2 to 3 week process! That’s a lot to ask!
FEED AND GRAIN MARKETS
Some feed, especially higher protein feed that uses soybean as a protein source continues to inch upward. Some of these have actually seen increases
ranging from 25 to 75 cents per bag. I wish we didn't have to raise prices but unfortunately we have to follow the grain markets. Hay prices
are holding strong, but it is too early to forecast what they will do once the new crop becomes available sometime toward the end of May. Remember,
since the majority of our hay is sold for horses, we try to have enough of last year’s Alfalfa to last until 3rd cutting. Why? 1st cutting
Alfalfa is far too rich in protein for horses and can lead to colic. It makes excellent dairy cow hay because high protein results in higher
milk production, in fact dairies will pay a premium for this high protein hay. The same is true for dairy goats, but be careful! In years past
I have seen dairy goats have difficulties when switching from lower protein 3rd or 4th cutting Alfalfa to 1st cutting. If at all possible make
this change gradually. Also for our sensitive horses, the 1st and 2nd cutting Alfalfa is where you will find more noxious weeds. By 3rd and
4th cutting (your best bet for Alfalfa for horses), the weeds can’t compete with the rapid Alfalfa growth due to warmer weather and longer
days. Often, customers wonder with all the pretty new green Alfalfa in the fields, why are we still selling last years hay? Now you understand
Steel pricing is close to being out of control! We have made some early purchases to hedge the price increases as much as possible but
it is going up. If you need a new gate, fence, or anything steel I suggest buying it sooner than later! Hope this information helps.
Thank you all for your business! Roland
Brian Higby - Tuesday, March 20, 2018
ON THE BRINK OF SPRING!
Just a month ago it was looking pretty bleak for our winter rainfall totals. Today, as I write this newsletter, it has improved but it doesn’t
look like we will be anywhere close to normal. There is a nice rain event forecast for this week that may push us over 10 inches for the
year. The normal rainfall for Dixon is around 16 inches and last year we had double that! At this point we can just be thankful for what
we get and hope when the spring hay crops start being cut it doesn’t rain all over it! We have experienced some wild swings in temperature
which is making some of our animals susceptible to pneumonia. Keep an eye on them!
FEED AND GRAIN MARKETS
We have enjoyed an extended period of stability in the grain market. Now things are starting to move upward. One factor causing this is drought
conditions in Argentina leading to soybean futures hitting an 18 month high. This may influence growers to plant more soybeans which could
lead to a drop in corn acres planted which will put pressure on the corn price. In April we will have been in business for 34 years! We
have seen this sort of fluctuation many times!
The same sort of thing is happening with Alfalfa hay. As you drive the freeway, and especially rural roads you see more and more orchards being
planted. Guess what? Less Alfalfa hay. Less planted Alfalfa = higher priced hay, it’s as simple as that! As of right now we have a wide
assortment of hay choices for you. Oat hay is the one variety we may be getting low on. If your animal must have Oat and nothing else it
might be wise to pick up enough to last through May or so.
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT STEEL
Why? Steel is the stuff gates, water troughs, fencing, and posts are made of. We are experiencing price increases and in some cases multiple
increases from some suppliers. To keep ahead we just ordered a full truck load of wire, and a full truck load of t-posts. This too
we have seen over the years. I remember years ago talking with a salesman when steel prices were escalating at an alarming rate. I
told him these companies were going to price themselves out of the market! He disagreed. Later when steel came down these companies
were forced to sell their inventories below cost to get back into the market! Rough times! Anyway it is what it is!
As always we appreciate very much, our customer base and look forward to providing you with the best customer experience we possibly can!
Brian Higby - Tuesday, January 16, 2018
ARE YOU READY FOR 2018??
Isn’t it amazing how fast the years go by? It seems like just last week we were starting 2017 and here we are already into
2018 looking for our first decent rain event! After starting out this winter with a few nice light rains December ends up being one of
the driest on record! Let’s hope things turn around in January. We need rain to keep the pastures growing and so we can have hay in the
spring! Due to the lack of cattle pasture, pressure is being put on the hay market. I know it is too early to get overly concerned but...
Here in the store things are going well. The 2017 year end sales were strong and keeps all of us here smiling! We appreciate
all your support! Preparing for the new year we are placing several orders to replenish our inventory so we are doing our part to support
MEET AND GREET WITH DR. JASON BRAVOS, DVM
On January 1, 2018 the State of California enacted a new law requiring a prescription for all medically important antibiotics
used in the livestock and equine industry. With this new law in effect we are no longer able to sell antibiotics. In anticipation of this
change, we have spent many hours researching the best ways to help our customers transition to the new law.
A local multi-species veterinarian, Dr. Jason Bravos, has offered to come to our store on Saturday, January 27th from 2
pm – 4 pm to meet customers that need to establish a required Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship. Establishing a Veterinarian-Client-Patient
Relationship before the need arises can help ensure that when your animals need a veterinarian they can be diagnosed quickly and treated
CURIOUS HOW THE HAY MARKET IS?
For the most part all the hay is pretty good right now. We have Alfalfa, Oat, Three Way, Rye, Teff, Orchard/Alfalfa,
and Mountain Grass! Out of all those you probably can find something that will work for you. Supply is good on all the above except
we won’t make it through winter with the Three Way. Like I mentioned already the lack of pasture is putting pressure on the local hay
market and the prices are reflecting that. We will keep doing the best we can for you!
PROJECTS FOR THIS YEAR?
Last year was a big one for wrapping up concrete work around here! It really makes it nice and smooth for the forklifts
and cuts down on mud or rocks being tracked onto the parking area. One of the best things we ever bought is a heavy duty 5 foot broom
that attaches to the front of our forklifts. This thing really does the job and saves hours of sweeping! This year there is still a
couple of barn modifications you will see happen. We will be closing the ends of a couple of roofed areas to keep the rain from blowing
in. Nothing major here but it will make things a lot easier for us.
We would like to thank you again for your business and supporting what we do here at Higby’s!
Brian Higby - Thursday, November 09, 2017
HOPE YOU ENJOYED OUR CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY AS MUCH AS WE DID!
It was a perfect day for our Customer Appreciation Day this year! Not too hot, not too windy, good food, nice turnout, we couldn’t have asked for more!
If you were able to attend I am sure you will agree the taco cart was a big hit! Great tasting tacos and all the condiments you could dream of
(I think the condiments are what makes the difference) ! Thanks to Georgeanne Hulbert (Scott’s mom) for making the great brownies! We appreciated
the support of several vendors being on hand to answer your questions and offer coupons for their products and by the pictures you can see we had
a great turnout by our customers! We hope you enjoyed yourselves! For those of you that were not able to make it hopefully next year will work
NAPA / SANTA ROSA FIRES
I would like to say thank you to all that reached out on how to help the folks in Napa and Santa Rosa who had to evacuate their animals.
Some of you were hands on at the Vallejo Fairgrounds and other sites and many others wanted to send feed and supplies to help out.
As a result of some of your Facebook postings we received calls from the bay area all the way to the mid-west from concerned people
who wanted to help out! Others of you offered trucking to get the supplies where they needed to go. Still others of you made adjustments
with your barns to accept more animals. It was and is a real pleasure to work with such a fine group of customers! Thank you!
THIS YEAR IS WINDING DOWN...
Yep! It is happening. The scorching hot summer has left us, we are starting to get some rain showers, and guess what? It is
time to start winterizing our barns, animals, and feed storage areas! Hopefully we will have a normal rainfall year. We
have a good supply of different kinds of hay in the barn for you. Most of the quality is really good, the Oat hay is just
so so, but we have it for the animals that require it. Straw has become more and more interesting over the past few years.
The supply is short which results in much higher prices than we are used to. Alfalfa is creeping upward in price. I repeatedly
see in ag reports and articles that the acres of Alfalfa planted has been displaced by the many orchards being planted.
I have mentioned before that hay is what I call a true commodity. The price is dictated by demand. If supply is short we
must pay more for it. If nobody is buying it, the price works downward. The hay market is very interesting to me. It doesn’t
always go the way I think it should. Anyway, as always we will continue to do the best we possibly can to have a good supply
of quality product for you.
Thanks for your business! Roland
Brian Higby - Thursday, August 31, 2017
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY SEPT 30 !!!
September is a busy, busy month for us! My granddaughter is getting married and Denise is doing the wedding cake
and the flowers..... You know where I will be, helping! One week after that is our store’s Customer Appreciation Day! In April of 1984 we opened
up in a 10 x 20 shed that was my Grandmothers old wash-house and later became her tack shed. My Grandfather was a car salesman for Ron Dupratt
Ford and also drove tow truck (something that he just loved!) Anyway we built a skid out of old telephone poles and he used the tow truck to drag
the shed next door to our property so we would have a building to open up in! Here is what it looked like in 1984!
Over the years we continued to grow to where we are today! Here is an interesting fun fact for you: our original
building was 10 x 20...... our newly – designed counter is roughly 10 x 24.....Yes, larger than our original building!!! It was a long time
in the designing stage and as a result Scott got pretty much exactly what he wanted as the finished product! We now have enough retail screens
to simultaneously ring up four customers!
Anyway Scott, Mari, and Gary are busy getting vendors lined up to be here or have special offerings for that
one day! We are going to pay the sales tax for you that day so everybody saves! We are working on getting a taco cart to handle the food. We
have asked them to do something for breakfast and then lunch until 3! All in all looks to be another fun day! Mark your calendar! Again that
is Saturday, September 30!!
FEED AND HAY
The grain market is relatively stable. We are seeing some slight ups and downs but nothing to get excited
about. When you think about hay......it is fall already! It is time to start thinking about buttoning things up for winter! We got such
a late start this year it hardly seems fair, but it is what it is!
This year has been great for us as far as wrapping up projects like repairing some old asphalt parking and
putting some new concrete down. Scott and Ryan are redesigning the fencing and gate displays, etc. outdoors. Earlier this year Scott, Mari,
and Gary ordered in new shelving and re-set some of our indoor inventory. And the last thing we have a redesigned counter! Most of this
took many months, even years of planning to decide exactly how to do it best! Thank you all for being patient with us as we maneuvered
through each project!
Thanks for your business and see you at Customer Appreciation!
Brian Higby - Tuesday, July 25, 2017
After a late, late start to our hay season I can finally give you an accurate report of how the hay turned out. I was really expecting the
Rye and Grain Hay to be “rank”, a term used for hay that is left growing past when it should have been cut. This happens when spring rain
prevents cutting the hay and the warmer weather promotes growth. Evidently since the winter continued into April... the Rye and Three Way
Grain Hay didn’t have that early spring growth spurt we usually see. The result is these two hays are excellent quality and are feeding
quite well. The Oat Hay did get a little larger stemmed but it is still nice and seems to feed well in most instances. We just recently
started getting 3rd cutting Alfalfa. We try to have enough of the previous year’s Alfalfa to take us to 3rd cutting. Why not use the new
1st and 2nd cutting Alfalfa? Wouldn’t the new hay be nicer and fresher than last year’s? Well, yes it would be. The problem is that most
of the Alfalfa we sell is for horses. 1st cutting Alfalfa is far too rich in protein for horses and may cause digestive issues. 2nd is
less rich in protein but is typically higher than later cuttings. The other issue is alfalfa goes dormant during the winter so the weeds
can compete and be present especially in the 1st and sometimes into the 2nd cutting. Many of these weeds are noxious weeds and quite damaging
if not fatal to horses. Cattle, and to a lesser degree sheep and goats can tolerate these weeds better, and dairy cattle produce more milk
when given a higher protein Alfalfa. There you have it in a nutshell why we always hear “use 3rd and 4th cutting for stocking your barn.”
The new Mountain Grass and Orchard Alfalfa are just coming in and the quality is bouncing around a bit. Things should stabilize soon. It’s
probably too early to say but it is looking like straw may be in short supply this year until the new rice straw comes in in September
or so. Overall the nice rainfall we had this past winter seems to have helped the overall quality of the hay. Kind of nice!
WE HAVE A DATE FOR CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY! SEPTEMBER 30!
Mark your calendar! Our annual big event is just around the corner. Join us for good food, good deals, prizes, and who knows what
else? This fall is the anniversary of the Grand Opening of our new store in 2008. Can you believe it has been 9 years? We have
been in business since 1984...33 plus years! We hope you can join us! Watch for more details!
LAKE BERRYESSA STILL NICE AND FULL!
A few weeks ago Denise and I took a ride by the dam to take a look at the water level. How nice it was to see the water still within
just a few feet of the crest of the glory hole! I thought you might enjoy this picture I took on July 3.
Thanks for your business!! Roland