Mo-Kan Livestock owner Jim Hertzog in his commitment to local producers
Buyers can be found in the seats or bidding online on fresh cattle every Thursday at Mo-Kan Livestock Market Inc., located north of Butler, Mo.
Mo-Kan was started by Jim Hertzog in 1992. Jim, Brian and Todd Hertzog all play an active role at the barn.
Jim takes pride in his commitment to serve all livestock producers. During the weekly feeder calf sales and monthly stock cow sales, producer names are called out when their cattle enter the ring. The buyers know where the cattle are from and producers are recognized.
“The service we provide is different than bigger barns, we notice the customer more when we are selling their cattle, they’re not just a commodity; it’s their livelihood,” Jim said.
He estimates the barn sells 75,000 head of cattle per year and can hold 3,500 head. Their facility consists of 5 acres of pens, all under roof with hay and water accommodations.
“We take pride in keeping it clean, inside, and out. You don’t have to worry about your cattle getting muddy or dirty,” Jim said.
On any given sale day, 15 to 30 order buyers can be found in the seats. Many of these buyers have orders for at least five different people, creating true price discovery for the producer’s cattle.
The buyers are attracted to Mo-Kan because they only sell fresh cattle, straight off the farm. Mo-Kan does not trade or resell cattle from other sale barns. The buyers can source verify the cattle, resulting in less risk and fewer health problems down the road.
Mo-Kan is a cow/calf barn, which means the majority of the cattle sold are calves that have been weaned off the cow. Most of the calves sold at Mo-Kan will be going west or north of Missouri to backgrounders or feedlots.
“We are in an area where we sell a lot of quality northern-type, English cattle. These are good feeding, big-boned and large-framed cattle. This area is conducive for nice, quality cattle,” Todd expressed.
Producers can add value to their cattle and put money back in their pockets by participating in the Mo-Kan Max Advantage Pre-Vac Program.
“Producers participating in this program get many benefits, like $1 per head back, free Max Advantage ear tags, a guaranteed sale time of 1 p.m., and increased market value around $35 to $50 per head,” Jim said.
He wanted to give producers the flexibility and the option to sell their value-added calves every week, so the Hertzog team carved out a time during the weekly feeder calf sale, to sell only pre-vac program calves. This reduces the risk of hitting a bad market waiting or holding calves for a monthly special value-added sale date.
“This way the producer can watch the board, see where it’s at and pick whatever week they want to sell their calves,” Jim explained.
One goal of this program is to build calf immunity before weaning and shipping. This reduces risk on the buyer and rewards producers who go the extra mile to offer healthy calves.
“Any backgrounder or feed yard you talk to, they want herd immunity. They want two rounds of modified live (vaccine), not just cattle that have been vaccinated against blackleg,” Todd said.
Calves that are part of the Mo-Kan Max Advantage Pre-Vac Program must be 45-days weaned, males must be castrated by 4 months of age, dehorned or tipped horns, dewormed, have a red Max Advantage ear tag, and follow one of two vaccination protocols.
“Essentially the last round of shots is almost free because it costs $1 to give that last booster shot, but we pay for it,” Todd explained.
He also added their orders buyers want value-added cattle. He stressed that cattle may come from a disease-free operation, but when cattle have never been exposed to diseases and are comingled with other cattle, they are going to get sick.
“When you take cattle that have been isolated on one farm, never exposed to different diseases and haul them to Western Kansas or the panhandle of Texas and they go in a yard with 70,000 cattle and there are airborne diseases and dust everywhere, and it’s hot; they are going to get something they have never seen on their farm,” Todd explained.
The Hertzogs and their field representatives encourage producers to always vaccinate and wean their cattle, even if they do not participate in the Max Advantage Wean Vac program. This boosts their immunity and the calves can hit the ground running as they move through each sector of the beef supply chain.
Many of the events in 2020 has resulted in an increased demand for local meat and the need for inspected livestock processing facilities.
The Hertzogs are excited to officially announce they are currently in the process of opening a state-inspected livestock processing facility. This new opportunity will be located near the sale barn and will include a retail storefront.