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Cattlesales may go high-tech again this summer

By Ken Johnston

Who says farming hasn’t gone high tech!
The Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association definitely did this past summer when they were a pilot project for selling cattle from their auction over the internet! The question is, will the experiment go viral?
RRCA’s Kim Jo Bliss and Sales Barn Manager Phillip Krahn spoke to the RRCA’s membership at their AGM Thursday to ask if the organization would like to try it again this year and perhaps make all four sales available on the internet.
Bliss said that because it was a pilot project it cost the RRCA nothing last year. However, if they want to do it again for one, two or even all four sales this year the producers will have to pay.
Krahn said, “I have been speaking to different companies and the cost will be roughly $1-3 per head.” He also explained that one of the companies has indicated they will provide a camera and a laptop computer free of charge if the RRCA wants to use their company. However, Krahn said it is not clear as to whether the equipment will be provided free of charge if they only do one sale or if that is if they do all four sales.
Last year the company they used sent a person and equipment the sales barn. This other company would not send anyone to sales.
Bliss said that the internet buyer that purchased cattle in last years experiment wanted a full load of cattle. “However, he only got a half a load, but because he was bidding prices went up about 15¢ per pound. It was good for prices and producers.”
Bliss provided all the RRCA members present with a survey about what they would like to see happen with the new sale feature this year. “It has to be all in if we do this. Everyone at the sale will have to pay the $1-3 per head fee. We can’t have one farmer say yes and the next one no.”
Producer Ken McKinnon called for everyone to indicate how they feel with a show of hands. A majority supported going forward with all four sales this year. “Ultimately it is up to the board to make the decision, but I think this a strong signal,” said McKinnon.
Ontario Cattlemen’s Association Vice-President was on hand to make a presentation Thursday. He added his two cents to the discussion saying, “I just learned where Rainy River (District) is. I know there are a lot of feedlots in Southern Ontario that would like to buy from up here but can not get to the sales. If a buyer does not have to leave the couch and spend money that’s good. This is too far for them to come.”
Krahn noted that the internet opens up the world to Rainy River cattle.
No decision was made Thursday, but the board received strong indications from the membership to move forward with internet sales again this year.