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Published February 20, 2012, 01:40 PM

Bismarck, ND, sale barn to close

FARGO, N.D. — Arlon Voge publicly announced his retirement and the shuttering of his Farmers Livestock Exchange in Bismarck, N.D., on his 65th birthday.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — Arlon Voge publicly announced his retirement and the shuttering of his Farmers Livestock Exchange in Bismarck, N.D., on his 65th birthday.

Voge says he hadn’t planned on closing the market he’d owned for three decades and rebuilt a decade ago after a fire. The facilities, located on the east side of Bismarck, N.D., had been a sale barn since 1936, he says. Sales will end Feb. 28.

“When I bought that place 31 years ago there was nothing out there — just the State Pen and the Heartland Elevator,” Voge recalls. “The city started moving out toward me.”

Selling out wasn’t something he’d expected, Voge says. “It just kind of came up. The offer came, and I took it.”

Voge declined to name the buyer in the deal, who he described as “a couple of guys, investors here in Bismarck.” Kyle Holwagner of Daniel Cos., who brokered the deal, says it would be a “distributor business,” and not a sale barn. The sale barn’s 15 acres on the west side of Yegen Road will be combined with 25 acres on the east side of the property. It will be called Expressway Industrial Park.

Voge denied complaints by one customer in a local news report that he’d somehow left them in the lurch. Seven production sales will be moved, either to ranches or to Kist Livestock in Mandan, N.D., or at Napoleon (N.D.) Livestock.

“Most of these people that had sales in March and April, I had told them six weeks out, so they could get their advertising changed,” Voge says. “I don’t think there’s any losses to anybody” (from lack of notice.) Similarly, Voge told his five full-time employees about the closing about two weeks ago, and another 20 part-timers on Feb. 14.

Voge came to the region in about 1980 from Springfield, Minn., in the southwest part of that state. He and his brother, Darvin, bought the former Missouri Slope Livestock Exchange that had been closed for about two years, and renamed it.

In December 2001, the business was largely destroyed in a fire.

Voge then estimated the replacement cost at about $750,000, of which $500,000 was covered by insurance. The biggest sale he remembers was about 3,500 animals, right after the fire. Typical sales run in the 1,200 to 1,500 animal range, he says.

“We had just an average (sized) market,” Voge says. Last year’s cattle and sheep sale numbers both were down about 30 percent, due to changes in livestock numbers, he says, but that didn’t have a direct bearing on the timing of the sale.

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