Sioux Falls stockyards passing into history

By Janet Kubat Willette

A semi brought a load of cattle to the Sioux Falls stockyards for the last cattle sale in June. The stockyards, once among the nation's largest, will have a sale Jan. 14 to get rid of cattle panels, gates and other equipment. The last sheep and goat sale was Dec. 15. Private treaty hog sales continue for now.

By Janet Kubat Willette

Agri News staff writer 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Sioux Falls stockyards are selling cattle panels, gates and equipment at a sale Jan. 14.

It's another step toward the closure of the stockyards that date back to 1917.

The auction, which begins at 10 a.m., offers people a chance to buy a piece of history, said stockyards manager Paul Scott.


The 35-acre to 42-acre property is for sale and the last cattle sale was June 25. The last sheep and goat sale was Dec. 15. About a thousand head of sheep and goats went through the yard on the last sale day, Scott said.

Hogs are the only livestock still accepted at the market and Scott said it's unknown how long those sales will continue. Private treaty hog sales run Tuesday through Friday, he said.

Several forces contributed to the downsizing and impending closure of the historic stockyards.

The city of Sioux Falls grew around the stockyards and there were issues with the city's sanitary sewer system and rainwater runoff from the yards, Scott said.

Two of the sheep commission firms from the stockyards were expected to move 20 miles south of Sioux Falls to Worthing, home of Sioux Falls Regional Livestock, Scott said.

Steve DeGroot and Todd Nordmann moved their sheep commission firms to Sioux Falls Regional Livestock effective Jan. 6, according to the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock web site.

The stockyards closure may bring other changes as well.

Brian Schneider, owner of Pipestone Livestock Auction Market, said his market has sold a limited number of sheep and goats, but he's considering expanding those sales now that Sioux Falls stockyards have ceased sheep and goat auctions.


Beef cattle, dairy cattle and hogs are sold at Pipestone Livestock Auction Market, Schneider said. They also have a hay and straw auction.

The termination of feeder and slaughter cattle sales at Sioux Falls stockyards may have brought additional cattle through his auction market, Schneider said, but the number of cattle moving through the market was already growing.

The number of cattle moving through the Pipestone auction market has grown by leaps and bounds for the last couple years, he said.

The closure of the stockyards sheep yard has left Danube sheep producer Mike Haubrich looking for options.

Haubrich sold sheep through the Sioux Falls stockyards for 20 years. The stockyards are 123 miles from his farm.

He did his 2009 marketing prior to Dec. 15 and will be looking at areas he probably hasn't worked with before to sell his market lambs. Haubrich has a flock of 150 to 160 ewes.

The stockyards were one of his three marketing options. He was lucky, Haubrich said, because several sheep producers don't have that many options.

His other two marketing options are direct sales to consumers and working with another area producer to direct market semi-load lots direct to packers.


The people at the Sioux Falls stockyards worked hard to try to come up with a fair price for the livestock that were presented to them, Haubrich said.

Will the Sioux Falls stockyards be missed?

"Desperately," he said.

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