WWII hay and livestock movements?

C J Wyatt

Greg Martin writes:

I once was told by an old timer who spent his youth in Bakersfield , CA
that during WWII that the Santa Fe loaded Alphalfa Hay into stock cars. He
claims he ask the folks loading the cars where the loads were headed and
the reply was to the stock pens in the east and the east coast to help
feed the cattel in places like Pittsburgh to fatten the stock before going
to slaughter. I realize that Pittsburgh had large stock pens but...?
Perhaps Richard can verify this? I have heard this more than once and
never could verify it. Seems that it would be a long haul to me, but...?
Richard Hendrickson responds:

Seems like a long haul to me, too, Greg. Shipping hay in stock cars
certainly wasn't unusual, but there must have been sources for hay that
were much closer to Pittsburgh than Bakersfield. My guess is that the hay
in question was en route to west coast stock yards like the big ones in Los
Angeles. FWIW, I have a photo of a Santa Fe 50' auto box having hay
unloaded from it at Kansas City during WW II. But I'll bet that hay didn't
come all the way from Calif.
Could there have been an attempt during WWII to load cars otherwise
returning empty with hay, in order to fatten livestock at places closer to
where the meat would have been consumned (or shipped abroad). I've been
curious about whether there could have been any restrictions on livestock
movement during the war, since they required so much special handling. In
the past I have presented some examples of western stock cars moving into
Georgia in the late forties. I'm assuming that they carried "prime" meat,
while the locally supplied would be "choice" or lesser quality. During WWII,
would the War Production board, or other authority have said, "sorry, no
long hauls for livestock - you can get by without "prime" beef"?

Jack Wyatt

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