Forster Red Angus moves to online auction for its coming 2-year-old bulls

Forster Red Angus, in Richardton, North Dakota, is moving its sale to this year in an attempt to be more convenient for buyers and themselves.

A man in a black cowboy hat, scarf and brown coat stands by a feeder in front of some Red Angus bulls.
Kenny Forster of Forster Red Angus is moving his sale to online-only through DV Auction this year. He believes it will be a convenience for buyers and sellers and safer for bulls. Photo taken Feb. 6, 2023, near Richardton, North Dakota.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

RICHARDTON, North Dakota — Bull sale day can be stressful on all parties — sellers, buyers and bulls. Forster Red Angus, located north of Richardton in western North Dakota, decided to try something new this year to cut some stress and some expense.

“We decided to do an online-only sale because we thought it would be more convenient for the buyer and us, actually, as the seller. We don’t have to haul the bulls to a sale barn and back, because we tend to injure some of them doing that,” said Kenny Forster, the owner of Forster Red Angus.

The sale will run from Feb. 14-19 at .

“We’re going to run this online auction for six days,” Forster said. “So (buyers) will be able to pick their time where it works in their schedule to come and look at the bulls, and then they can go back home and place a bid on them or they can place a bid when they’re here, or if they need help placing a bid we can help them with it also.”

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Buyers can choose to place bids throughout the six days. Buyers who don’t want to watch a computer closely for six days will be able to put in a top bid, which only the system can see. Their bid will increase in increments of $250 until reaching the top.


Red Angus bulls walk through a pen.
Forster Red Angus will offer 85 coming 2-year-old bulls for sale through DV Auction on Feb. 14-19, 2023. Photo taken Feb. 6, 2023, near Richardton, North Dakota.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

All 85 coming 2-year-old bull lots will close at the same time, with the earliest closing time coming at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19. However, if a bid is placed within five minutes of the closing time, all lots will open back up for another five minutes. That will continue until no bids are placed for five minutes.

Forster believes it will be a fair way to run the sale and an honest example of price discovery. He expects it’s going to take buyers being prepared and knowing which bulls they’re interested in.

“You have to have your homework done,” he said. “You have to have your bulls written down.”

A red bull stands at a feeder.
Forster Red Angus begins calving in late April or early May and sells its bulls as coming 2-year-olds. By that point, they expect they have culled out bulls that won't be long-lasting for customers.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

One of the main stressors for sale day has been concerns that weather will prevent buyers from making it to the sale, Forster said. While Forster Red Angus never has canceled a sale, he said there were years where they should have and years where some buyers were unable to make it. Another stressor has been moving the bulls, which can lead to injuries in transport and from bulls fighting when they get to a new location. That makes the online option more humane, Forster said.

A red-haired man in baseball cap and glasses points to a brochure about a bull sale.
Kenny Forster has reached out to his regular customers by phone and through a pamphlet to explain their new online sale format through DV Auction.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

Forster has called all of his regular customers, and the response has been “way better than expected.” He said a lot of them seem excited by the flexibility of the online sale. Some have indicated that even though they are not computer savvy, they have others on their operations who can help.

Forster said the hardest call he had to make was to auctioneer Roger Jacobs , who has long been on the block for Forster Red Angus’s sale day. Forster said Jacobs has been a good advocate for Forster’s cattle, and going online was just a business decision.

Willing to change

A hot pink bull sale catalog, featuring the Energizer Bunny.
Forster Red Angus isn't afraid to be different, as shown by their hot pink 1997 sale catalog.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

Forster Red Angus has a long history of being willing to change the way they do business.

The ranch started out selling bulls by private treaty, then later held sales in conjunction with other breeders. Eventually, the Forsters decided to strike out on their own and hold their own sale. They once held a successful female sale but decided it wasn't something they wanted to do again. Sale booklets throughout the years show a willingness to be different; one year, Forster used a hot pink cover that featured a picture of the Energizer Bunny. He figured that one would jump out at people when they pulled it from the mailbox.


Going to an online sale is just the latest change they’ve been willing to make at Forster Red Angus. After about a decade of considering it, Forster in 2004 moved to a later calving date, in late April or early May. The final decision came a year after a tough calving season had every calf going into a warmer box.

A man in a cowboy hat walks through Red Angus bulls.
Forster Red Angus will cull bulls who display poor docility, says Kenny Forster. Photo taken Feb. 6, 2023, near Richardton, North Dakota.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

“We decided to go that route because, I don’t know, we have way less calving issues, healthier calves just from being out on the pasture,” Forster said.

The calves are born on pasture and weaned in October and November. That’s when the Forsters make their first culls. They grow bulls out over the winter, then put them out on big pastures where they get hardened up. That makes the next set of culls easier, as it’s kind of a “survival of the fittest.”

“We believe that’ll give a lot tougher, longer-lasting breeding bull for our clients,” he said.

They sell the bulls as coming 2-year-olds rather than yearlings. Yearlings are more common in the bull business.

An overhead shot of a ranch.
Kenny Forster's parents started Forster Red Angus in 1967. The cattle now are located on the homestead on which his father was raised. Photo taken Feb. 6, 2023, near Richardton, North Dakota.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

Forster’s parents started breeding registered Red Angus in 1967, having used Red Angus breeding in a commercial herd prior to that. Forster took over when his parents retired. His four children are involved in the operation as well. Son Zane and daughter Kaitlyn own some cows in the herd and help out with working cattle, and several of Forster’s grandchildren have their names on cows, too. Son Seth helps out around the ranch, and daughter Libby does all of the graphic design and advertising work.

“We’ve been in the registered Red Angus business for over 55 years,” Forster said. “We try to concentrate on the cow. We want to make a good cow first and then we feel we can get performance bulls also out of them.”

A metal cutout of a bull.
A metal cutout of a bull sits along the path to Forster Red Angus.
Jenny Schlecht / Agweek

He said they’ve received good feedback on how well the bulls last and that they cover more cows. Forster said he’s “pretty particular” on things like feet, legs, udders and dispositions. They aim for moderate birthweight calves with some growth and maternal potential, as well as carcass traits. That means the bulls breed for cattle that work throughout commercial herds, as well as in feedlots and on the rail.


“We kind of try to raise an all around product with our Red Angus,” he said.

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Jenny Schlecht is the director of ag content for Agweek and serves as editor of Agweek, Sugarbeet Grower and BeanGrower. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at or 701-595-0425.
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