While few visitors to any livestock barn will forget hearing the powerful auctioneers’ calls pushing buyers to give producers a higher price, visitors to Missouri’s auction barns can expect an especially great time. Not only is the state well known for the Missouri Auction School – the oldest and largest school in the world – but it is also home to men like Jackie Moore.
Moore and his brother-in-law Steve Owens work together to lead Joplin Regional Stockyards, a cornerstone for livestock marketing in Missouri, as well as nearby states. It is also the second-largest stockyard and largest cow market in the nation.
“We are all about enhancing the health of cattle, so whenever we hear of medical or technological breakthroughs that can bolster the beef industry, we pass that information to the farmers and ranchers,” Moore says.
Perhaps the key to this stockyard’s success is that emphasis on new technology. Joplin Regional Stockyards added their first video auction to its sales lineup in 2002, more than 10 years ago, taking the atmosphere and energy found in the auction ring well outside the barn.
“The auction videos stream on our website and offer us another flexible option in our overall marketing strategy,” Moore says. “Video technology has helped vault us to the forefront of the beef industry because we can market and sell to any part of the country.”
Keeping buyers and sellers engaged with Missouri’s livestock markets is something the team at the Joplin market knows is key to the future as well.
In comparison to some of Missouri’s livestock markets that have more than 125 years of community ties, Joplin Regional Stockyards is a bit of a newbie. The barn began serving farmers and ranchers during the Great Depression and moved to its current Carthage location in 1995.
Today, the facility has 10 acres of covered pens and arenas for cattle sales that are hosted 50 weeks a year, selling nearly 450,000 head of cattle annually.
In addition to weekly auctions, many of Missouri’s 105 auction barns host special sales throughout the year. Some barns, including Joplin Regional Stockyards, focus on specific breeds or genetic traits in their sales, allowing farmers and ranchers to potentially receive a higher premium for raising beef with specific attention to certain veterinary care, nutrition and weaning practices.
Video transactions, along with on-the-ground sales, have helped Joplin Regional Stockyards’ revenues grow to more than $350 million per year.
That growth, along with success at livestock markets throughout the state, has been a driver for Missouri’s entire livestock sector. Today there are more than 70,000 livestock producers in Missouri, and in 2011, more than 2.5 million cattle passed through Missouri livestock markets, a number that will only continue to climb if men like Moore and Owens have their way.
Missouri’s livestock markets play a great role in that success, ensuring that producers have the “power to prosper,” as Moore says.