Livestock Marketing Association











Florida Auctioneer Awarded Top Honors at World Livestock Auctioneer Championship Qualifier

November 7, 2023

Overland Park, Kansas

Oct. 25 was no ordinary sale day at the Tri-County Stockyards in Motley, Minnesota. While cattle came through the ring and buyers placed their bids like any other Wednesday, the block was manned by 35 different auctioneers vying for top honors.

The competitors, from all over the United States, battled it out for buckles, bragging rights and an opportunity to call bids at the annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship next June at the Oklahoma National Stockyards. At the end of the day, Marcus Kent, Dunnellon, Florida, came out on top.

“My goal has always been to make the finals,” Kent said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would win one.” 

He said he competes because he enjoys meeting people, and because he knows it helps him improve his skills. But a bonus is getting to visit auction markets in different places.

“I love seeing everyone’s setup,” Kent said. “It’s never exactly the same and it fascinates me.”

Even on vacation — the auctioneer once traveled to Costa Rica with his family, and while there, found a market to visit.

The World Livestock Auctioneer Championship and its qualifying events don’t just bring bid-callers together. The events draw spectators in the bleachers and from all over the world via livestream.

Reserve Champion Joshua Garcia, Karnes City, Texas, said he’s not surprised the action-packed series is so popular.

“It's all about action,” he said. “It’s all about getting in the groove of things and just trying to figure out what’s what, what calf’s selling for what. And in that way, when they bring their calves in, they get to see, oh, that’s my calf. As an auctioneer, you want to have adrenaline, excitement, keep the sale going, keep it motivated. It keeps the people interested.”

Rounding out the top three was Runner-Up Champion Dakota Davis from Waukomis, Oklahoma. Other competitors moving on to the semifinals are as follows: Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, Kansas; Chris Pinard, Swainsboro, Georgia; Troy Robinett, Decatur, Texas; Barrett Simon, Rosalia, Kansas; Dustin Smith, Jay, Oklahoma; Marshall Tingle, Nicholasville, Kentucky; and Zack Zumstein, Marsing, Idaho.

One more qualifying event, to be held in Paris, Kentucky, Nov. 16, will decide the remainder of the championship semifinal field.

About the Livestock Marketing Association

The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., is North America’s leading, national trade association dedicated to serving its members in the open and competitive auction method of marketing livestock. Founded in 1947, LMA has more than 800 member businesses across the U.S. and Canada and remains invested in both the livestock and livestock marketing industries through member support, education programs, policy representation and communication efforts.


November 2, 2023

Florida auction market bounces back after Category 3 hurricane

As Hurricane Idalia grew closer to Florida’s Big Bend on Monday, August 28 — just two days before it would hit land — many residents were prepping for the storm. But for Alvin “Ab” Townsend and his nephew Rick Greiner, there was a different kind of preparation taking place. Tuesday is sale day at their Townsend Livestock Market, and it was business as usual, despite the uncertainty of what might come. “I started calling some of our buyers,” Greiner says. “And as long as they were going to buy cattle, we were going to have a sale.” So, sell cattle they did. They got through 400 head before they needed to shut down and head home. Early Wednesday morning, the Category 3 hurricane made landfall. Greiner couldn’t get out of his house, but Townsend — along with his wife and sister — were able to drive to the auction market that’s been in the family for four generations. At first, he thought they were at the wrong place. “It didn’t look anything like our place,” Townsend says. “Everything was just on the dirt. The building, our pens, everything was just on the dirt.” Moving On  Before Wednesday had ended, the family had called John Kissee, regional executive officer at Livestock Marketing Association. As longtime members, as well as clients of the association’s Livestock Marketing Insurance Agency, they knew they were covered.  Kissee understood Ab and Rick would want to move quickly but took time to ensure all bases were covered, insurance-wise. Kissee called back the following day, as promised. He told them the tear down and clean up could begin after taking photos to document the damage. By Monday, excavators were scraping the slab where the auction market once stood. Greiner says they had no choice but to move quickly, and they had no intention of missing more than one sale day. They started getting pens up and brainstorming how they’d hold the following week’s auction with less-than-ideal infrastructure.  To be safe, they didn’t advertise. And yet, they still got 400 head. It went well and they doubled their numbers the following week. Of course, there were challenges to selling in such makeshift facilities — like the Tuesday it rained all day and there was no barn to offer cover. But Greiner says they remained grateful through it all. “You don’t have to look very far to see somebody who’s got it worse than what we had,” he says. “We’re just lucky to be back to work and selling good cattle for our good producers.” A Helping Hand Both men are quick to credit the role Livestock Marketing Insurance Agency played in their recovery efforts. “I wouldn’t want to imagine not having Mr. John to call,” Greiner says.  Townsend agrees. “The thing with insurance,” the third-generation auction market operator says, “is you don’t need it until something happens. But then when something happens you better thank the Good Lord you had it. Because what would we have done?” Not only did Kissee and the insurance adjuster make the process a breeze, but Townsend says it never felt like a business transaction. “They’re more than just a company,” he says. “LMIA is a group of people who cares.”