Livestock Marketing Association











Producer Profitability Initiative Seeks to Spark Conversation, Unite Industry

September 7, 2023


Livestock Marketing Association members have a front-row seat to a disturbing trend: the continued loss of livestock producers across the U.S. They see this as a critical threat, not only to the livestock industry, but to the nation’s food supply. That’s why they’re launching an initiative to strengthen producers’ bottom lines and incentivize the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Joe Goggins, owner of Public Auction Yards, Billings, Montana, said despite recent record-high livestock prices, it’s tougher than ever to be a producer. Lack of access to land and labor, over-regulation and input costs are causing more people to exit the business, while preventing new producers from getting started. 

“We continue to disperse cow herds,” he said. “We continue to disperse flocks of sheep. We continue to lose thousands and thousands of acres out of protein production. And we really feel that we better push back, we better unify this industry somehow, some way, to try to encourage and incentivize people to be in this business.”

Goggins said by working together all industry segments can accomplish so much more than they can individually, and every voice matters.

"I’d encourage producers of all types, sizes and locations to reach out to people in their network and to the organizations they are a part of to have conversations about the biggest barriers to profitability,” he said.

These include, but are not limited to, the death tax, lack of incentives to keep land in livestock production, and competition for land and margin.

Mike VanMaanen, who owns Eastern Missouri Commission Co. in Bowling Green, Missouri, while also currently servings as LMA’s Vice President, said despite the producer-focus of this initiative, Livestock Marketing Association is not trying to expand into an organization for farmers and ranchers — they just know every segment of the industry depends on the others for success.

“We just want to help our customer base by starting the conversation with them,” he said. “And hopefully they’ll take that to the organizations they belong to, and we can all work together toward a common goal.”

He said the producer’s livelihood is the livestock marketer’s livelihood, and for one to be successful, they both must be.

Mandy Geistweidt, who alongside her husband Shaun and family, owns and operates Gillespie Livestock Co., Fredericksburg, Texas, said the initiative will help market owners help their customers — and she’s seen just how much help is needed.

“Our taxes are going up incredibly, because the value of our land is rising astronomically,” she explained. “So, a lot of what was Dorper sheep and Angus cattle is now becoming vineyards and agritourism.

“On a personal note, I hope I can take this initiative back myself because we have so many small producers coming out of the city that are just coming to Mom and Dad’s place now. … And I hope that I find some ways I can help even those small producers stay — stay active, stay producing.”

But while the message applies anywhere, the implications could be much farther-reaching, Goggins said.

“It’s not only for our benefit if we keep these ranches in production,” he said. “We look at this thing as preserving our food independence in this country. Preserving our national security. The way we look at this is if the world wants the United States to produce the highest quality, safest product in the world, then all we ask is that that that these people can make a decent living.”

To join the conversation, visit or contact your LMA Regional Executive Officer or other staff to lean in and get involved.  

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.”