Livestock Marketing Association











Idaho auctioneer wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship Western qualifier

October 1, 2021

Overland Park, Kan.

Eric Drees of Caldwell, Idaho, was named Champion at the 2022 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Western Region qualifying event. Producers Livestock Marketing Association, located in Salina, Utah, hosted the first of three WLAC qualifying events on Tuesday, September 28. A total of 24 contestants competed for a top ten placing, which would grant them a spot in the 2022 WLAC semifinals at Shipshewana Auction, Inc. in Shipshewana, Ind. 

Drees started competing at the qualifying events in 2017, making the WLAC semifinals every year since. He was recognized as a top 10 finalist at the 2019 WLAC and received the Reserve Champion title at the 2021 WLAC in Nashville. 

Drees’ family first introduced him to the livestock sector, as they fed cattle but also served as order buyers at local auctions. He says he can remember traveling with his dad to auctions, falling in love with both the lifestyle and the people involved in the business.  

Eric Drees holding his award

Drees currently serves as the auctioneer at 7 Rivers Livestock Commission LLC in Emmett, Idaho, Loma Livestock, LLC in Loma, Colo., and Montana Livestock Auction in Ramsay, Mont.  

“The past couple of years, my career has just reached heights I never thought it would reach, and I just feel so fortunate to be here,” Drees said. “It means the world to me to be named the 2022 WLAC Western Qualifier Champion.” 

A live cattle sale took place, with the market’s regular buyers and sellers in the seats. Auctioneer contestants were judged on the clarity and quality of their chant, presentation, ability to catch bids/conduct the sale and how likely the judge would be to hire the auctioneer. Judges for the qualifying event were livestock market owners, managers, dealers and/or allied industry members from across the nation. 

Individuals advancing to the semifinals with Drees are Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Brandon Frey, Diagonal, Iowa; Joshua Garcia, Goliad, Texas; Reserve Champion Steve Goedert, Dillon, Mont.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Runner-Up Champion Sixto Paiz, Portales, N.M.; High Score Rookie Jake Parnell, Sacramento, Calif.; Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.; Tim Yoder, Montezuma, Ga. 

Other contestants who competed were Colton Brantley, Modesto, Calif.; David Cox, Orderville, Utah; Duke Cox, Orderville, Utah; Dakota Davis, Waukomis, Okla.; Kirby Hill, Paris, Texas; Mark Mast, Fairfield, Mont.; Robert McDowell III, Butte, Mont.; Jack Riggs, Glenns Ferry, Idaho; Kade Rogge, Rupert, Idaho; Jim Settle, Arroyo Grande, Calif.; Daren Shumway, Lehi, Ariz.; Shawn Silverberg, Fort Collins, Colo.; Robert Strickler, Banco, Va.; Zack Zumstein, Marsing, Idaho. 

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.”