Livestock Marketing Association











‘Let me be clear, the Stockyards intends to thrive’

January 9, 2024

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Part of historic Stockyards City considered for future jail site.

At Wednesday’s Oklahoma County Commissioner’s meeting, a piece of rural Oklahoma’s livelihood and all Oklahomans’ heritage is on the docket.

In its search for a new jail site, the county has identified acreage on the edge of Stockyards City as a frontrunner. The only problem? It’s not listed for sale and its owner, the Oklahoma National Stockyards, utilizes it in their current and long-term growth plans.   

At the hearing Jan. 10, commissioners will again consider the land. Since the stockyard’s property isn’t for sale, there is concern that the property could be pursued through the condemnation process and eminent domain.

Ben Hale, president of the Oklahoma City Livestock Exchange — the group representing the nine commission firms operating at the stockyards — said while he understands the need for a new jail facility, he believes taking this land would have a profound impact on the livestock commission firms and in turn, the surrounding businesses that benefit from sale-day traffic as well as the thousands of livestock producers who rely on the venue.

“If our business can’t be successful long-term, what happens to the restaurants and shops in this historic district?” he said. “What happens to the cattlemen and cattlewomen who depend on us? A decision like this has far-reaching consequences, and there must be a better option.”

Additionally, the land in question has historical significance like few others in the state. That’s especially important for a city that’s built a worldwide reputation on its western heritage.

Jerry Reynolds, president of the Oklahoma National Stockyards, explained Stockyards City was founded in 1910 and was built to serve the nation as a primary source for meat processing and packing. Until 1961, livestock sales were handled only by private agreement between the seller and buyer. Then the auction was introduced, providing greater competition for available livestock.

He said the auction helped supply new growth and — combined with aggressive sales leadership of the commission firms, innovative market management and strategic location — the Oklahoma City livestock market rose to become the world’s largest market of stocker and feeder cattle, regularly selling yearly receipts of more than 500,000 head.

Reynolds says the economic impact of the facility exceeds $1 billion annually, and it provides more than 130 jobs to Oklahomans as well as the countless associated industries that rely on the stockyards and beef production.

“The stockyards are incredibly important to our city, state and region,” he said. “The attention surrounding this land is resulting in misinformation about the future of the stockyards, and let me be clear, we fully intend to not only continue operations but by utilizing all resources at our disposal, we intend to thrive”

Mark Barnett, president of Livestock Marketing Association, agreed. He added anything that jeopardizes the stockyard’s long-term success would be especially devastating to the region’s livestock producers, who are already facing challenges.

“Livestock producers face challenges with land, labor, over-regulation and input costs every day,” Barnett said. “This is the just the latest example of government overreach negatively impacting their bottom line.”

He encouraged Oklahoma County residents and all who could be affected to speak out in support of removing the Stockyards property from the list being considered. 

Citizens may address the commissioner’s board under the agenda item “Citizen’s Participation.” A citizen’s participation request form is available at the County Clerk’s office at 320 Robert S. Kerr Avenue in Suite 203, by email at, or by signing up right before the meeting begins.  For those who cannot attend, comments can be submitted to the public comment email address provided above.

The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, in the Oklahoma County Annex Building, in the board of county commissioners meeting room 204.

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.”