Saturday, August 23, 2008

Swine Lecture Series - Auctions

Welcome back students. I hope you enjoyed your summer off, but now it is time to get back to our Swine Lecture Series.

When a farmer needs a new pig or wants to expand his herd, the best way to buy is at an auction.
Many hog shows like the
Summer Type Conference auction off the exhibited pigs--using the results to determine sale order.

Some farms also host their own
pig auctions at the farm to sell boars (males) and gilts (females) to other farmers who want to use them as breeding stock. Here are some pigs ready for a farm auction.

OK, so they're not too excited yet. But in a few hours, they will be heading off to a new farm (we hope) to fulfill their happy pig lives as the mothers and fathers of the next generation of purebred hogs. You may recall that the black and white ones are Hampshires, the all-white ones, Yorkshires.

Now let's review the key elements to a successful pig auction on the farm. Like any event, you need to market the date/time/location with advertising, Web site, and a database of customers for direct mail.

A good auctioneer is critical. Our auctioneer, Dan, has been coming to our farm every fall for 40+ years. Right after this photo was snapped Dan said: wasthatlightening?wasthatlightening?doIneed toswitchswitchswichtobattery?battery?didsomeonesaybattery?

Nothatwasjustmyflash, I responded.

Food is an important part of any successful event. Here, my garage doubles as a 4-H lunch stand. Don't tell the health department. A really classy event includes childcare. Great-Grandma and a swing set will do.

In summary, hosting a pig auction is a lot like any other event a business may put on. You need lighting, sound, stage/podium, marketing, direct mail, parking, childcare, food, and staff. You also need a guy who can talk fast, and guests of honor who intend to poop all over the place.

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