Hawkeye Mink Cooperative and Hawkeye Mink Fleshing Corporation

The Hawkeye Mink Cooperatice Plant was located on the north edge of Jewell.
Mink ration was prepared here.

     The Central Iowa Mink Cooperative which had been located on the north edge of Jewell, was formed in 1959 when a 25-mile concentration of mink ranchers began to be responsible for a significant amount of midwest mink production.   Two buildings housed the dual cooperative operations of the Hawkeye Mink feed and fleshing divisions.   Seven full time employees produced over 600 tons of feed annually, while in the fleshing division over 150 men and women prepared pelts for auction sale during a three month period each year.

From a handful of ranchers in 1959, by 1980 the organization numbered 11, and from 200 tons of feed yearly, the output had increased to over 600 tons to supply the 60,000 mink population in the Hawkeye Mink's 25 mile service radius.

By the mid-1980s, the Board of Directors of Hawkeye Mink Cooperative included: President Palmer Erickson, Jr.; Secretary Dale Feller; Board Members Robert Kastler, Floyd Isebrands, Harold Smith, and Manager Kenneth Headley.

Hawkeye Mink Cooperative manufacturing mink feed and processing mink pelts.

"Feeding the World's Most Glamorous and Desired Fur"

Kenneth Headley, Manager with these employees: Charles Staples, Merlyn Strohman, John Wallace, Dana Clark, Jim Mayfield, Darrel Jensen, Rochelle Hanson.

Business Owners: Meil Bromm of Webster City; Palmer Erickson Jr. of Jewell, Jim Fassett of Webster City: Dale Feller of Belmond; Oscar Gabrielson of Jewell; Floyd Isebrands of Jewell; Ronald Jacobson of Story City; Robert Kastler of Woolstock; Orville Nessa of Webster City; D. A. Samuelson of Fort Dodge; Harold A. Smith of Belmond.

The next text was published on June 26 of 1968 in the South Hamilton News:

     The following article was taken from the Spring, 1968, issue of FARM CREDIT NEWS, and features two of the many prominent mink ranchers in this area that are served by the Hawkeye Mink Cooperative.

     Chicken, turkey, liver, beef, rabbit, haddock, cooked eggs, and cottage cheese, not a bad looking menue.   Try adding horsemeat, cows' stomachs, whale blubber, beef spleens, a dash of yeast culture, and few exotic fish, and you've put together a feast that will delight the aristocrat of the mink coat industry. . . none other than the mink himself.

     This nutritious food can be found on a number of mink ranches in north central Iowa, including those operated by Oscar Gabrielson and Floyd Isebrands, both members of the Production Credit Association at Webster City, Iowa.   PCA Manager Ralph Baker and Assistant Manager Allan Frevert are vitally interested in all phases of the mink industry in the area, including the ranches of their members, and the Hawkeye Mink Cooperative at Jewell, where the mink ration is prepared.

      Manager of the unique mink co-op is Kenneth Headley.   It has just 24 members, all mink ranchers within approximately a 50-mile radius of Jewell.   Together, they market about 50,000 mink pelts per year.   The membership fee is $500, and a member also loans $1,800 to the cooperative at 4 percent interest to cover initial operating expenses.   Each rancher keeps on deposit in the cooperative approximately one dollar for each mink he is feeding.   Feed bills are paid for one month in advance out of this fund.   The very efficient cooperative was started in 1959 when the ranchers decided they could produce their own ration rather than buying it from an outside supplier.

     Manager Headley and his small crew can produce 16,000 pounds of feed in two hours at a cost of from 6 to 7 1/2 cents per pound to the rancher.   The hamburger-like substance is delivered in bulk to the members where it is stored in refrigerated buildings.

     Like all phases of the mink industry, the production of a proper ration is critical to the production of good mink, and through experimentation with different types of ingredients, Headley has come up with a good one.   The current ration is as follows:

Cooked egg
Cottage cheese
Red meat
     Beef or horse      16
     Whale                   3
     Beef kidney           2
     Spleens                 1
Cod - Haddock
Hegers cereal
Yeast culture


     Preparation of the rations is simple.   The ingredients are all fed into a large grinder and mixer with then empties into a bulk truck for delivery directly to the ranches.

     The fat content of the ration is watched closely.   A high-energy ration is required for fur production, while a higher fat ration is used at other times of the year.   Headley cooperates very closely with the ranchers and gives them exactly the kind of ration they want at the right times.

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