Sales Barn at Junction City KS 

Junction City Kansas, the site of the Moloney original farm has become an important location for the sale of hogs and cattle, as evidenced in the following excerpts from the Daily Union Sunday edition of February 23, 1992

 One of the founding fathers of local livestock auctioneering as we know it today says he's ready to turn over the microphone.

Vern Langvardt, co-owner of J. C. Livestock Sales Inc., says in the 26 years he and his son Howard have owned the local facility, he never had any idea it would be so successful today.

"Howard and I bought the place 1966 and it's grown ever since," Langvardt said.  "We never thought in the world it would be this way today.  We thought when we first started out if we could average 600-800 cattle a week we'd be doing pretty good.  Now we run about 2,000 a week.

Vern's grandson Karl Langvardt, who's been a partner in the family owned business, will be taking a more active role this year as the elder Langvardt enters "semi-retirement."

"His role is expanding and mine is going the other way a little bit.  I'm getting to the place where I would like to step out and him to step in.  I'll still be here though.  I'll always be part of it it's kind of like home.  I want to stay in contact with the boys.  We've had a lot of good customers, both sellers and buyers.

That may be an understatement.

The Langvardts were pioneers in the livestock auctioneering business.  Shortly after purchasing the facility the Langvardts broke new ground in auctioneering circles by offering a hog auction.

"Everybody said an auction wouldn't work for hogs," Langvardt said. "But I said if an auction won't  work there's no use of having hogs - that's the only way to sell them. A lot of the hog farmers would sell direct or to a packer at the time we started our hog auction. It took three to five years before the hog auction really started to catch hold. Up to that point people kept wondering what was going on and just watching. It was slow up to that point but we stayed with it."

The persistence paid off. In 1990-91 the local facility auctioned 87,782 hogs, 17,000 more than the year before. J.C. Livestock Sales Inc. is ranked as the No.1 hog auction in Kansas based on numbers of animals sold.

"The hog sale has been growing all the time and we've watched the quality of the pigs pretty close. Everybody knows now that we have good pigs and a good market for them," Langvardt said.

"We have four packer buyers who have bolstered the hog sale," he continued. "At other places where you don't have so many hogs there may be only one or two packer buyers. Here where we have four, that makes a difference. Those four make a good market, plus we have good clean pigs that go through here."

Once the hog auction idea caught on it forced the Langvardts to modify their auction.

"When we first started out we sold hogs and cattle on the same day. But after a few years the hog sale grew to the point where the cattle were selling late in the day. So we changed to a two-day sale. Ever since then both have grown to where they are now," Langvardt said.

The cattle and hog sales are now one of the biggest in the state of Kansas.

The facility auctioned 104,286 cattle in 1990-91, down slightly from the previous year, however, the fifth largest total in the state.

"We were down on our cattle numbers a little bit but some of that's attributable to the drought we've suffered from the past couple of years," Langvardt said. "We would like to see those numbers come back a little and I think they will."

"We've been here quite a long time and there's so many cattle out there and they have to be sold," he continued. "We seem to get our quota of those cattle.  The markets been good and that helps too."

Langvardt says the recession in the nation's economy has had little impact on the auction.

"I don't think the nation's economy has really impacted us. We've been holding up pretty steady with our numbers of livestock. In fact prices have been going up and that makes a pretty good market all the way through."

One trademark the auction enjoys, which makes it fairly unique in comparison to other facilities across the state is the distance customers travel to do business there.

"I think we have a positive effect on the local economy. We get a lot of business from quite a ways away.   A lot of the folks eat and get gas here and some of the women go uptown and shop while their husbands are at the sale too," Langvardt said.

Auctions take place each Thursday and Saturday at the local sale facility.

The Thursday auctions consist mainly of butcher hogs, feeder pigs and butcher cows with the Saturday sale basically a cattle feeder and stocker auction.

J. C. Livestock Sales Inc. is one of four livestock auction facilities in the state of Kansas selected by the United States Department of Agriculture to be included in the USDA's Livestock Market News Service, the reports of which can be read in many newspapers through the state.

photo details:   appeared Sunday, February 23, 1992 in the Kansas Daily Union.
most recent revision:  4 July 2003
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