I was honored recently to take a photo of shareholders and their living ancestors who saved Valentine Livestock Auction nearly 20 years ago.
This job affords me the luxury of meeting some of the best farm and ranch folks in Nebraska. I freely admit that every day is a new adventure, and the people I meet along the way are the real perks of my job.
But for me, a Thursday in early July is a day to remember, one for the books. I was able to witness history. A group of shareholders of Valentine Livestock Auction, the second largest auction market in Nebraska, gathered on the day of a bred cow and heifer sale, to have a special photo taken. And I was the honored photographer.
Thanks to barn manager, Greg Arendt and Springview rancher, Corky Worth, shareholders and their living ancestors, the folks who rescued Valentine Livestock from demise in 1992, came back to the barn so I could photograph them in front of their sign, much like Dave Howe from Nebraska Farmer did when he visited Valentine Livestock in 1993, at the beginning of their journey. Dave’s story told about how local ranchers, business owners and area residents rode in to the rescue when their livestock market was in trouble. Almost two dozen shareholders purchased the sale barn back then and Dave’s story laid out how they planned to make it all go.
Well, that generous and foresighted group not only made the barn successful, but they built new pens, a new and modern sale barn facility and a reputation for marketing some of the best cattle in the state. As I visited with some of the local ranchers over lunch at the sale barn café during my visit, I learned that the previous week, the market had sold 4200 head of feeder cattle worth about $4.6 million.
The shareholders give Greg and his staff tons of credit for their success, along with several employees who have worked at the auction since the beginning. Loyalty means something at Valentine Livestock.
And that kind of sale means a lot to the ranchers and feedlots around Valentine, but it also means a lot to the business community too. Sale day brings folks into town. It generates social interaction and a busy Main Street. Valentine Livestock means a lot to everyone.
I’ll be writing about this truly marvelous success story in a coming fall issue of Nebraska Farmer, as we discuss why and how they did it. But I couldn’t wait for the article to come out in print to congratulate the fine folks at Valentine Livestock for their success and to wish them all of the best. I thank them for offering me the opportunity to witness and write about their history in making.
You won't find the historic photo in this blog, We’re saving the shareholders’ photo for our print issue, so watch for it this fall. You can visit the auction online at Valentine Livestock Auction Market.