Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Livestock Marketing Association’s annual convention in sunny Modesto, California. What a great group of people! Warm, welcoming, knowledgeable and entertaining. I met auctioneers and livestock auction yard owners from across our country and a couple of great folks from Australia.

Auction yards are a critical juncture in the beef production chain. I was pleased to hear discussions about a wide range of issues from the current state of the cattle market to the decreasing size of the United States cow herd to proper animal handling.

An important part of their convention is the World Livestock Auctioneering Championship. This is an amazing event! There are two separate components to the contest: an interview portion and an auctioneering portion. It was fascinating to watch all thirty-three contestants go through the interview process and the auction the following day.

Have you ever heard a really good auctioneer? It mesmerizes me to listen to the chant and try to keep up with the fast pace of the bids coming in from around the sale ring. This year’s World Livestock Auctioneering Champion is Bailey Ballou from Oklahoma. Here is a short clip of Mr. Ballou at the contest last week. Watch it and see a great auctioneer at work: