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  • Last modified 217 days ago (April 11, 2019)

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Sale barn sees an increase in numbers

Manager was born in Hillsboro

Staff writer

After a long, cold, wet winter, activity has been picking up at area sale barns including Herington Livestock Market at Herington.

Manager Tracy Ediger said the sale barn auctions an average of 800 to 1,000 head of cattle a week. It had a run of 1,900 cattle three weeks ago and 1,500 on April 3.

Ediger said the feeder market was “a little tough” the past couple of months as large feedlots battled muddy conditions and were reluctant to add cattle.

He said calves weighing 500 to 600 pounds are selling well, providing profitability, while the price of feeder calves weighing 800 to 900 pounds has fallen the last few weeks.

The sale barn provides a live auction service in which sellers can provide videos of their cattle on the farm and sell them at the auction barn. Buyers can submit bids online.

Manager learns the ropes

Ediger became manager of the Herington auction barn in January 2017. He had a degree in animal science from Kansas State University and had worked in feedlots for many years. However, managing a sale barn was something new.

“It’s completely different than feeding cattle,” he said.

He was in charge of hiring office personnel, auctioneers, field men, and yard workers and had to acquaint himself with area cow and calf producers and feedlot operators.

Assisted by six field representatives, he spends much time reaching out to potential sellers and buyers to draw in more customers.

“My field men are huge assets for me,” he said. “We’re growing.”

Most sale barn customers are from Marion, Dickinson, and Morris counties, along with some from Chase and Geary counties.

He was born in 1970 to Dennis and Beverly Ediger of Hillsboro. His mother was a Weibert from Durham. He enjoyed spending time on his Grandpa Weibert’s farm.

“I have fond memories of Grandpa’s farm,” he said.

His family moved to Abilene when he was six years old. He graduated from Abilene High School in 1988.

During high school, he worked for area farmers who fed cattle and put up hay.

After graduation, he served in the Navy for four years.

“The biggest thing I learned in the Navy was appreciation for where I grew up in central Kansas,” he said.

In 2003, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Kansas State University.

He managed feedlots in Colorado and Iowa before returning to Kansas to help his mother and stepfather operate a small family farm north of Hope.

The Herington sale barn is one of six within a radius of 70 miles.

“I’m competitive,” Ediger said, “but there is a brotherhood between barns. We keep our noses to the grindstone and work every week to provide good service to our customers.”

He said the busiest seasons at the sale barn and on the farm are at different times of the year.

“I love what I do,” he said. “It works well with farming. The sale barn is doing really well.”

Eight area cattlemen have owned Herington Livestock Commission Co. since 2011.

Last modified April 11, 2019

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