Steffes Group to resume in-person auctions

Steffes Group will begin holding live auctions starting July 7, starting with a farm retirement auction. The company is excited to get back to live auctions, while making sure attendees feel safe.

The Steffes Group will resume live auctions in July after a pause for the coronavirus pandemic. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)

FARGO, N.D. — Steffes Group will resume in-person auctions on July 7. After taking some time away from live auctions, attendees as well as the company are excited to bring back live auctions.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all auctions were moved to an online format in March as an effort to limit person-to-person contact and regulate crowds. While the online auctions were new to some farmers, the online auctions continued to do well. Scott Steffes, president of Steffes Group, was not surprised by farmers adapting.

“Change, isn't that funny about agriculture. We are used to change, and we always react to the circumstances. Farmers are used to it, and so are we in the auction business,” Steffes said.

Scott Steffes

While their online auctions have been going well, Steffes Group is excited to bring back live auctions to the public, especially since their first live auction will be a farm retirement auction — the kind of auction they have been doing for six decades.


“It’s hard to duplicate when you walk down a driveway of a family that's been farming for literally decades, and they get to see the process. I think more than anything the buyers are looking forward to seeing that process like we have done for generations,” Steffes said.

The farm retirement auction will be held outside, ensuring that there will be opportunities for social distancing. Steffes is committed to making sure all attendees are comfortable and feel safe at the event.

Due to the success and the encouragement to keep social distancing, Steffes Group will continue to do online auctions, planning to do half live auctions and half online auctions going forward.

Farmers take online auctions just as seriously as in-person, making sure the product checks all of their boxes before placing a bid. Many purchases are big investments, making the farmers do their research before bidding.

“They aren't buying $5 crescent wrenches. They are buying $250,000 tractors and combines,” Steffes said.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic threw many changes to the agricultural industry, Steffes believes farmers as well as the auction industry were able to be resourceful and push forward.

“In the world of agriculture, adaptation and change is part of the DNA in farmers, and we are part of that environment. It is really interesting to see how things evolve and how everybody finds solutions,” he said.

Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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