Last Saturday I went to CSU’s 38th Annual Bull Sale at the Agriculture Research Development and Education Center north of the main campus in Fort Collins. I wasn’t planning on buying a yearling bull. I was promoting our Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale coming up in April.
CSU’s Seedstock Merchandising Team has hosted the event for the last ten years at the ARDEC campus. The team is very prestigious and the only one of its kind in the U.S. Only eight students are selected for the team each year.
According to the sale brochure, their duties include preparing the sale, selecting the animals, gathering performance data, advertising, promotion, and animal preparation. Besides gaining experience from the sale itself, the team shows cattle at the National Western Stock Show and represents CSU at events such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Annual Convention, to name a few. These students gain hands-on experience and have a unique opportunity to network within the cattle industry.
This year’s sale included an educational symposium in the morning. The speakers were Dr. Temple Grandin speaking about “Consumer Animal Welfare Concerns,” Dr Jim Robb, LMIC, giving a “Beef Cattle Update and Outlook” lecture, Dr. Jim Gibb of Neogen discussing the “Use of Genomic Data to Enhance EPDs,” and Seedstock Team Advisor and Associate Professor of Beef Production Systems, Dr. Jason Ahola, giving “Quick Profit Tips for Cow-Calf Producers.”
After a fabulous meal catered by the CSU Meats Judging Team, the buyers and spectators moved into the auditorium which had been converted to accommodate the sale ring due to the cold snowy weather outside.
Dr. Kevin Pond, the Head of the Department of Animal Sciences, officially welcomed everyone to the sale. He also gave a status update on the renovation of the Animal Sciences Building, which will be ready for move-in this summer.
Another change to the sale format this year included the use of the private treaty sale method. Unlike an auction which has fast paced-bidding led by an auctioneer, the private treaty method allowed buyers more time to enter the sale at the opening base price or if there was competition, to move up in increments called out by Dr. Ahola from the sale stand.
After the lots of CSU cattle had moved through the sale ring, there were bulls and heifers for sale from guest producers from five ranches. These included 191 Livestock Company from Parachute, Dumm Land & Cattle Company from Severance, Leroux Land & Cattle LLC from Windsor, Martin & Company from Woody Creek, and Rabbit Creek Ranch from Livermore.
All the buyers had a chance to preview the bulls and heifers offered for sale through the sale catalog, online, as well as in person before the sale. Once the first lot of three CSU bulls was let into the sale ring, Dr. Ahola started the bidding. Obviously they didn’t stand still in the pen. Seedstock Merchandising Team member Carson Guenzi was in the ring with the bulls using a staff to separate the bulls when possible and point to each bull as its lot number was opened for bidding. It was an impressive operation.
I can appreciate the work and preparation that went into planning and executing this sale. From a first time spectator’s standpoint, they made it look effortless and I sure enjoyed myself. I think the opportunities for students in Animal Science are absolutely tremendous and I will not be surprised when members of the Seedstock Merchandising Team become industry leaders.