Livestock market is family owned, community oriented

For Arkansas Cattle Auction owner Randy Goodman, there has never been anything else but the cattle business in his blood.
Growing up on an 80-acre cattle farm in Batesville, Ark., working with his dad, Randy knew from a teenager he wanted to make the cattle business his lifelong profession. Starting out with a handful of cows (and a few goats), and taking them to the local auction, Randy got the first-hand experience to lay a solid foundation for his goal.
It didn’t take Randy long to move on up to the big time when he took a position with a 1,200-head cow/calf operation in White County, Ark.
Under Randy’s oversight the operation expanded into the stocker business. Being content in the cattle business has not been an attribute Randy has ever settled on. As his knowledge and experience in the business grew, along with his own maturity, he expanded into buying calves, some backgrounding, and has now come full circle in a quality buying station.
In 2007, the owners of the cattle operation purchased the Hayes’ Livestock Auction in Searcy, Ark., and changed the name to Arkansas Cattle Auction (ACA). It was a natural for Randy with his cattle knowledge to manage the auction. Three years later, in 2010 Randy and his wife Melissa bought out the partners and became sole owners of the auction.
“We have certainly been blessed with the opportunity to buy the auction,” Randy said. “It continues to grow and we are getting more customers from outside the area. Some as far as 100 miles away.”
Randy attributes the steady growth to a commitment to quality beef and excellent customer service.
“We are a cattle auction, always have been, always will be,” Randy continued. “Consumer demands have changed in recent years and the cattle industry has had to change with it. We concentrate on getting better quality beef through the auction, our customers expect that from us. That’s the reason for our continued success.”
But just having quality beef in not enough for the Goodmans, they feel it is necessary to go the extra mile for 100 percent customer satisfaction. For Randy that means being on site almost 24/7 to keep an eye on the cattle, making sure they are fed properly, and things are ready for sale day.
Cattle not sold to customers at auction end up in the auction’s (Goodman) inventory, which adds to the demands of the operation. In addition to owning a cattle farm near McRae, Ark., the Goodmans also lease four other properties for their marketing station. Another factor is that ACA is one of only a handful of auctions in Arkansas that have a USDA market reporter at every sale.
Community involvement, especially with younger folks and beginning farmers is a focus for Randy and Melissa. The Goodmans are very active with area 4-H organizations, and Randy takes every opportunity to talk to and encourage young people considering a profession in agriculture.
Like many farm operations, the spouse is an integral part of the operation, and Melissa Goodman is no exception. Melissa is the hand’s-on office manager, making sure everything runs smoothly every day.
“A lot of folks don’t realize how much is involved in this business,” Melissa said. “It’s not just about sale day; we stay busy all week getting ready for the sale, checking in cattle, hauling cattle to the sale, making sure they are fed and watered. Sale day is certainly crazy, then after that, we have to arrange shipping for a lot of the cattle, then we have to handle the cattle we bought. It’s non-stop for us.”
Rachel Fryar is also a major part of ACA’s operation. Rachel has been working at the auction since she was a teenager and probably knows the day to day operations as well as anyone.
“Rachel is certainly a huge asset for us,” said Randy. “She grew up around the sale barn and our family. It would be tough to run this place without her.”
The consumer driven demand for quality beef has no doubt increased the pressure for ACA to meet those demand. In perspective, it has developed into a “niche” market accentuating the Goodman’s philosophy of providing unquestionable integrity in their business, giving customers a fair shake in pricing, and earning the repeat business of every customer. On sale day, Randy sets the floor on every head of cattle, if it doesn’t sell, ACA owns it and it moves into their operation. All of this has helped ACA become one of the top five cattle auctions in the state.
Arkansas Cattle Auction holds a number of large sales each year including the Pre-Vac Sale the first Tuesday of every other month, and the annual replacement and bred heifer sale the first Saturday in December.


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