BISMARCK, N.D. – A new livestock auction sales barn, in the works for several years, will soon open in north Bismarck, fulfilling a need in the state’s cattle sales industry.
Named Bismarck Livestock Auction, the blue building is an 80-by-100-foot sales barn that sits on roughly 120 acres.
“There’s been a lot of sale barns that have closed and ranchers have asked me for years to open up another one,” said Jess George, a sales representative for Northern Livestock Video Auction who owns the new livestock auction sales barn with Dean Ulmer. He lives in the Bismarck, N.D., area. “These ranchers need their calves and other cattle sold when they are ready to be sold.”
In fact, when calves wait around to be sold, ranchers lose money due to market-associated “shrinkage,” George said, adding, “A sales barn can only run so many cattle by at one time.”
Ranchers have told George they would definitely support a sales barn, especially if they could get their cattle moved through in a timely manner.
In order to make it easier to buy cattle, George plans to add Northern Livestock Video Auction to the barn. Ranchers will be able to bid for cattle in person or at home online through the video auction.
Before Northern Livestock Video Auction, George worked for Superior Livestock, and was one of the first in the state to bring in livestock auctions via video.
Both Ulmer and George grew up with cattle sale auctions in their family background. Ulmer previously owned a number of sale barns.
The sales barn is in its last stages of construction north of the County Building in Burleigh County, along 80th Street in Bismarck.
The inside of the barn is completely finished.
George said it features a main office, two private offices, a brand inspector’s room, a veterinarian office, a utility room for air conditioning, heating and wiring for the lights, pens to the east side of the building, space for hay, a commercial scale, an auction block, a big screen for video auctions, and bleachers that will seat about 100 people.
The main entrance to the property will be on 80th Street. The barn sits a good distance from the road, so there will be plenty of space for trucks to pull in off the street to unload livestock or park in the parking lot.
“I’m not sure of the actual date we will open because we were held back a few times in the past by the city,” George said, adding he was told by the city that they had all their permits in place at the start of summer, but they were held back once again.
They started construction several weeks ago.
“We finally finished constructing the inside and were ready to start pouring concrete for the parking lot this month, but then we were stopped by the recent snowstorm,” George said. “After it melted, we had mud.”
At least four sale barns have closed in North Dakota over the last several years: Farmers Livestock Exchange in Bismarck, Northern Livestock Exchange in Minot, Linton Livestock Auction in Linton and Edgeley Livestock in Edgeley.
Throughout the region, the barns still open include Kist Livestock in Mandan, Napoleon Livestock in Napoleon, and two barns at Stockmen’s Livestock in Dickinson, east and west barns, although they are located in the same area.
Janalee Berentson, a former rancher, said she believes, “Competition is always good in any town.”
George said he is very excited about the sales barn.
“Ranchers wanted another sales barn and now there will be one,” George said.