Laclede County, Mo., livestock market gets new name, owners

There might be some new faces at the former Lebanon Livestock Auction facility between Lebanon and Phillipsburg, Mo., but they are no strangers to the livestock auction world.
Zach and Casey Cox, and Dan and Tasha Romine took possession of the business on April 1, changing the name to Mid-Missouri Stockyards. Their first sale was April 7.
Zach and Dan have been friends for several years, both growing up around the livestock market industry, and Tasha actually began working at livestock auctions at the age of 14.
Tasha’s connection to the previous owners of the auction, Skip Thompson (Tasha’s uncle) and Andy Stubblefield, actually got the ball rolling for the couples to purchase the business.
“It was something that Dan and Zach always talked about,” Tasha said. “They have known each other since they were little, and I think that they always felt that if one of them had the opportunity, they would ask the other. It all just kind of happened one night; we found out about it, he called Zach and that was it.”
For Dan and Zach, the purchase of their own market is a dream come true.
“It’s just something that we have always wanted to do,” Zach said. “We’ve just been around this sort of thing all of our lives. Everyone enjoys doing things, and this is just something we enjoy. We enjoy handling the cattle, sorting them, selling them and the whole job.”
Dan added that if they didn’t enjoy the “sale barn business,” they wouldn’t be involved in it, and would have never bought their own barn.
“Some days it’s fun, some days you think ‘Why in the world?’ Then, when you get home at night, you remember why you done it,” Zach said.
The weekly sale is held each Thursday at 11 a.m., with small animals and miscellaneous items, such as tack, starting the sale, then baby calves, followed by stock cows, heifers and breeding bulls (take home cattle), then feeders and ending with slaughter cows and bulls. The sale order is a little different than when the facility was Lebanon Livestock, but the change has been positive. Casey said Mid-Missouri Stockyards has buyers from across Missouri, as well as several out-of-state buyers for cattle.
The weekly sale has been attracting 800 head of cattle, or more, each week, and Casey and Tasha said they can accommodate all sellers, be it those with a few head or a herd dispersal.
The new owners have also hosted a breed association sale, the annual Hartland Highland Cattle Auction, and the organization plans to return for another sale in spring 2017.
Mid-Missouri Stockyards has started a small animal sale at noon on the third Saturday of each month.
“We really encourage our customers to bring their smaller livestock to that,” Tasha said. “We have hogs, sheep, goats, chickens, llamas, just about anything you can think of. I think people are slowly starting to realize that there is a market, other than to other farmers, for (sheep and goats). We have some terminal buyers here for each sale.”
“It is going to take time for it to build, but word is getting around,” Casey said.
Dan added that he expected numbers at the small animal sale to increase as the temperatures begin to cool off.
“We started it really in the hot part of the year for that kind of thing, but the fall should help it pick up and do well. Considering, we really do have pretty good runs at it,” he said.
The hope is that the small animal sale will allow the Thursday sale to concentrate on the cattle market, but Zach added Mid-Missouri Stockyards will continue to sell what comes in on Thursdays.
In addition to sales, trucking for buyers and sellers can be arranged through Mid-Missouri Stockyards. Zach and Dan also do farm visits with producers.
Mid-Missouri can accommodate cattle that are brought in the day before the sale by holding them in water and feed pens. Pens at the facility are also covered, allowing for protection against the weather.
There are about 20 part-time employees who help keep things moving at Mid-Missouri Stockyards. One of the faces that has remained at the Laclede County, Mo., auction is that of auctioneer Randy Lewis, who has been a fixture at the auction for many years.
Casey admitted that she had not been involved in livestock markets prior to she and her husband and partners taking over the sale, but she is learning.
“It’s 24/7,” she said. “There might just be a sale one day a week, but it is work everyday.”
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Zach said. “It’s just what we have done, we really don’t know anything else.”
As far as the future, the couples plan to continue to grow their customer base, as well as making a few improvements to the facilitates. They also plan to become more involved in the communities in the region.
“We want to show our communities that we support them,” Zach said. “We’ve been trying our best to build our sales up, and they keep growing, and we have some great runs. We want to support our local producers and those in the surrounding area and we are going to do our best to sell their cattle at the highest extreme of the markets.” The new owner added that they appreciate the support of their customers during the transition of ownership.


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