A Cooperative Effort in Marketing
United Producers, Inc. (UPI) is the only livestock marketing cooperative in Missouri and the largest in the United States.
Unlike a privately owned barn, a cooperative gives members a voice and creates accountability within the organization through representation on a board of directors.
The Humansville, Mo., facility exclusively markets cattle. Other UPI facilities market a variety of livestock and can be found in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The employees at Humansville are local cattle producers who have a vested interest in the beef industry and local community.
John Fox has been managing the barn in Humansville, which sets on the Polk/St. Clair county line, for close to two years. Prior to becoming manager he was a field representative and the southern commissioner for Cedar County.
The southern field representative is Chad Boyles and the northern field representative is Kevin Wade. Kevin, along with Billy Bruce, serves as an auctioneer.
John, Chad and Billy reside in Cedar County, and Kevin is from Appleton City, Mo.
“Every one of us is a farmer first. When it comes to selling another farmer’s product we all take it very serious. It doesn’t matter what the quality is, that’s their product and we try to get the most money we possibly can out of it,” John explained.
The feeder calf sale is held each Tuesday at 10 a.m., followed by a weight cow sale. Fox recently moved this sale to Tuesday from Thursday to decrease competition with other local barns and increase buyer retention throughout the entirety of the sale. This decreases the spread per weight class and creates price consistency throughout the sale.
The majority of the calves the market sells are from local cow/calf producers in Cedar, St Clair, Polk, Dallas and Henry counties. This local advantage allows the staff to build relationships with customers and share information to potential buyers about the calves before and during the sale.
“Buyers will buy people’s cattle, if they know whose they are,” Chad said.
UPI also holds 10 special stock cow sales each year. They are the last Thursday of every month.
They offer three options for producers to market their cattle. Calves can be sold in the auction, directly off the producer’s farm or sold on AgriClear, a website dedicated to marketing and advertising cattle.
Traditionally, cattle are brought to the barn, sorted and sold through the ring. This is the most utilized and encouraged option.
“I would rather run them through the auction. You have a lot more opportunities and a lot more buyers. It’s competitive,” John said.
All calves are sorted before they go through the sale. How the calves are sorted has the most direct impact on the producer’s check. The majority of the cattle sold are weaned and less than 700 pounds.
“We steer and heifer them first, then we size them. The buyers would rather buy ten at a time rather than two at a time. We try to sort them in as big of groups as we can without weight fluctuating too much,” Chad explained.
They have had as many as 900 calves in the barn overnight, all on feed and water. Producers are allowed to bring their own grain to be fed to their cattle.
“We have a lot of feed and water pens and we don’t sell gaunt cattle. They don’t stand dry. We do sell pretty much all farm fresh cattle. There’s not going to be stale cattle,” Chad explained.
Direct sale calves are sold by the full pot load directly to one backgrounder or feedlot buyer. Two smaller producers may also participate in direct sale if they each can make a full load.
“A lot of our customers are small producers but there are some larger ones. That is another way we can help our customers out. Add another outlet to their product they are selling. Anything that we can do that will help out producers,” John remarked.
The direct sale option is less competitive since producers are dealing with one buyer. The cattle experience less shrink and these producers like the set price they receive when their cattle are loaded off the farm.
“You must know what your cattle are worth, which is where we come in. We are an agent for that producer to sell his cattle,” John explained.
Members of United Producers, Inc. can take advantage of several cooperative benefits outside of the livestock market. They offer a loan program, college scholarships and risk management opportunities. New to Missouri is the risk management program which will allow producers to hedge their cattle. The Humansville barn also supports the youth exhibitors during county fair season.http://www.ozarksfn.com/2017/08/14/a-cooperative-effort-in-marketing/http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/UnitedProducers-1024x742.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/UnitedProducers-150x150.jpgMissouri NeighborsNeighborsHumansville,livestock,marketing,Missouri,United ProducersUnited Producers, Inc. (UPI) is the only livestock marketing cooperative in Missouri and the largest in the United States.Unlike a privately owned barn, a cooperative gives members a voice and creates accountability within the organization through representation on a board of directors.The Humansville, Mo., facility exclusively markets cattle. Other...Megan RichnerMegan Richnermrichner@stockton.k12.mo.usAuthorOzarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper