Date: c. 1960
Description: This is a business card from Long & Hansen Commission Company, one of the earliest and longest-running livestock commission firms in Sioux City. Though not as large as Berges J. Bergeson’s Mid-West Live Stock Commission Company, Long & Hansen was still a major player in the business, with offices in Sioux City, St. Paul, and Chicago. However the company largely developed interest in its Sioux City plant, and advertisements like this one on their business cards helped earn the city’s reputation as “The Marketplace for the Great Northwest.” Commission firms like Long & Hansen traded livestock on commission. This means they organized the trade of livestock from the producer to a series of potential buyers. Livestock could be sold to meatpackers for processing, or even to other producers. Other farmers for example could buy yearlings for fattening up to sell later, or breeding steers to increase their own stock. Commission firms could also sell to other commission firms like ones in Chicago, who could sell to more national and international businesses. Working on commission means that these firms received a percentage of the profits of the business deal, as a fee for being the middlemen. Commission firms usually worked by private contracts between producers and buyers (sometimes arranged months before the actual trade would take place), or through auctions. The prices at which commissioners traded livestock depended on supply, demand, quality, and other factors, resulting in fluctuating market prices. Long & Hansen went out of business like many other commission firms with the decline of the stockyards.
Donor: Roseanne Cutler