CRAWFORD, Neb. – As a central hub for livestock sales on the outskirts of town, the Crawford Livestock Market offers buyers and sellers a place for trade with a long history in the area.
For cattle country, there must be a way of trade. The Crawford Livestock Market – which is tied to the Livestock Market Association – is a staple for communities across the region for moving local livestock around the country and the world.
An industry that dates back to the early 1800’s, it is an industry built to last.
The Livestock Market Association’s website says the original livestock market system was set up for transfers via steamboat until the railroad was completed and became the main transportation source.
The use of railroad for shipment opened the doors for markets to spring up in other areas.
According to the website, The Livestock Market Association began as the National Livestock Auction association in 1947 and offers services to assist members in areas such as legalities and policies and also has “a belief in the competitive auction method and True Price Discovery.”
As an operation that has been in business since the early 1900’s, and has moved from its original location in City Park, Crawford Livestock Auction found its way to its current location and into the Moody family in the 1950’s.
The sales from the Moody’s saw Frank Pisaska as the owner in the 1970’s.
Following Pisaska’s tenure as owner, a group of investors purchased the market in 1979 and in 1980 hired Jack Hunter as the north field representative.
Prior to the purchase of the CLM, Jack and Laurel Hunter owned Edgemont Livestock and bought into the CLM in 1988 as partners with the trio of investors.
The Hunters purchased Gordon Livestock in 1992 and later in 2003 bought out the investors of the CLM.
During the time they were running both sale barns in Gordon and Crawford, they closed Edgemont.
Alicia Robertson, the Hunter’s youngest daughter, resigned from a 14-year teaching career to purchase the business with her husband in 2019.
Robertson’s husband Rich and Rex Michael, the Assistant Manager, have worked with her parents over the last decade and the Hunter’s are still involved in the operation.
Robertson said that when it comes to employees at the CLM, it consists of herself, her parents and siblings, and kids of their own that run the daily operations as the full-time staff, but that there can be anywhere from 12 to 75 employees at any given time.
The sale barn is a 74-foot X 90-foot building that sits alongside numerous pens to hold the livestock that comes up for sale each week with a long stretch of tin siding adorned with various brands painted on.
The CLM runs a Friday sale throughout the year, but their busiest months are from October through January, with sales held Thursday and Friday each week.
“Day to day is managing just like any other business inside – answering calls, payroll, paying bills, reconciling accounts,” Robertson said. “Outside is maintenance, checking in cattle, feeding, moving snow, putting out hay.”
Robertson said they will “continue making this the place to market your cattle, as it is truly ‘from our family to yours’.”