Commissioner tours Sterling Livestock, Sil steals the show
Silvan Tadolini, who said everyone calls him Sil for short, has seen a lot of groups rumble through the gate and into the sale ring at the Sterling Livestock Commission, but the first group on Wednesday caught his eye and he came down to his usual spot to get a better look.
Jim Santomaso, SLC’s owner and auctioneer, was quick to introduce the group to some of the people who dotted the seats around the ring. John Korrey, world champion auctioneer, was there. Jim’s son, Jason, and the Sterling Livestock sale day crew were preparing for the sale to begin, and a few regulars had found their way to their spots. From his seat ringside, Sil Tadolini stood and grinned, obviously pleased that Santomaso was introducing him to the group.
In the ring, wrapping up a tour, were Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, Rep. Richard Holtorf, Robert Sakata, Amber Weber, Dan Waldvogel, Rep. Rod Pelton, Logan County Commissioner Byron Pelton, Cari Linker from Sen. Hickenlooper’s office, Jane Thompson from Sen. Bennet’s office, Gini Pingenot, Colorado Counties Inc., Darlene Carpio from Rep. Buck’s office, and Colleen Peppler.
Santomaso told the group the largest challenge facing the cattle industry is the Big Four packers’ control over fed cattle prices and beef prices, essentially running the show at both ends of their plants.
“Legislation,” he said. “What’s decided along the I-25 corridor doesn’t stay there, it touches us here, too. Feed and fuel costs are high and so are stress levels in agriculture.”
Santomaso, who hosted one of the state’s largest Meat In Day events, told Greenberg that her standing up for the industry has never been more important, especially in the wake of the PAUSE Act and a host of other damaging pieces of legislation.
“I think she listened and heard us,” he said. “I think it was a successful morning. She was asking questions and I hope she feels she can reach out to us. More of this is what’s needed and is going to have to be done.”
Other stops on the two-day tour include Pachner Agri Enterprise & Farm and Livestock, Roy Pfaltzgraff Farm, Seaboard Foods Feed Mill, Pro Health, Weathers Farm, and ended with a discussion about the Bonny Reservoir & Republican River Compact.
HE CAME WITH THE PLACE
When he introduced him, Santomaso joked that Tadolini, born in 1926, came with the place. Tadolini worked from time to time at the sale barn, but when the late Bud Van Berg purchased the sale barn in February of 1958, Tadolini became a sale day fixture.
Of all the friends he’s lost, Tadolini said he misses Van Berg the most. The two would make the trip to Fort Collins on Thursdays for the sale at Centennial Livestock Auctions. Wayne Kruse owned CLA at the time, but Tadolini said Kruse started in Sterling.
The cattle, he said, have changed over the years and the lumber pens have transitioned into pipe. Tadolini spent many a day cutting bale strings and feeding pens from the back of a flatbed pickup, though more recently he opens the in gate with a rope that allows him to do it from his seat.
Tadolini spent time running yearlings for a ranch near Sterling and eventually retired from a job as a ditch rider.
“I’ve got a lot of good friends,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of different kinds of cattle, too. You know, 60 years is quite a few.”
He and Van Berg traveled to other salebarns through the years, making the trip to Torrington, Ogallala, and Wray. He recalled one Thursday in about 1980, the two were just getting out of the pickup at CLA when they were met by John Walker. Walker told the two he wanted to start a newspaper for the livestock business with news and markets.
Tadolini said Bud told Walker he had come to the right place. Tadolini’s name has been on the CLA advertisement in what is now The Fence Post Magazine ever since.
“I’ve seen a lot of good times,” he said.
Writer’s note: Sil Tadolini is featured on this week’s episode of The Fence Post Podcast, which can be heard wherever you listen to your podcasts.
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The House will vote today to extend the livestock marketing reporting law and a bill to create a cattle contract library.