Ag Business of the Year is Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange
Pictured left to right are Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange owners Barry Hughes, Tom Havard, Bart Hughes, Brent Hughes and Randy Lowery.
Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange will be honored as Ag Business of the Year at the Eighth Annual Nacogdoches County Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet on Monday, Apr. 6, at Hotel Fredonia.
“The Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange has been the primary marketing channel for Nacogdoches County livestock producers for the better part of two generations,” said Agribusiness Committee Chairman David Alders. “The hundreds of cow, calf operators in our county, whether large or small, rely on the Nacogdoches County Livestock Exchange to provide a market, every Thursday, for their stock. It is there that ranchers’ labor and investments are converted into the cash which makes its way through the retail, service and financial institutions of this community, ultimately benefiting all of us, whatever we do.”
The Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange, located at 3813 N.W. Stallings Drive, is owned and operated by Tom Havard, Barry Hughes, Bart Hughes, Brent Hughes and Randy Lowery. Lynnelle McElroy is the office manager. The business operates a sale every Thursday of the year, excluding Thanksgiving or Christmas. Cattle, horses, sheep and goats are sold on a weekly basis at this market. On an average sale day, more than 30 employees work in various capacities to make the sale operate smoothly. The Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange is also a member of the Livestock Marketing Association of Texas.
The Texas Beef Council’s slogan may be “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner,” but for these gentlemen, beef cattle are not only what’s for dinner but a way of life. All have been involved in the beef cattle industry their entire lives. Today, not only do they own the livestock exchange, but they also raise cattle of their own.
Randy Lowery and Tom Havard have owned this business for more than twenty years. The building, built in 1975, was previously owned by Mr. E.V. Hamby. The first sale at the current facility took place the last Tuesday in May 1975. Randy and Tom purchased the barn from Mr. Hamby and the Hughes joined the partnership two years later.
Owning and operating a “sale barn” or livestock exchange is in these guys’ blood.
Randy’s dad, the late Herbert Lowery, owned the Lufkin Livestock Exchange. Today, Randy owns or co-owns barns in Nacogdoches, Center, Carthage and Elkhart.
Barry, Bart and Brent Hughes are also no strangers to the sale barn life. Their grandfather and father owned the Patton Auction Barn here in Nacogdoches. All of these brothers grew up assisting in the family business. The Hughes and the Jacob’s families also co-owned the Patton Auction Barn.
“We have seen things change over time. For example, selling hogs at the local action barn,” McElroy said. “Many barns used to market hogs, but with increased regulations on the swine industry, many barns got out of the business of selling hogs.
“Computers have really streamlined operations and reports here at the sale. A sale day runs faster and smoother as a result of computers. I can remember not too long ago when we had to hand-write everything and manually calculate all sales transactions. This made for a long day and many buyers had to wait in line to get loaded with their livestock,” said McElroy.
According to McElroy cattle and livestock come to the sale in Nacogdoches from all across Texas and some of our neighboring states. Staff from the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser and veterinarians are on site to insure proper animal health standards are met. All livestock must meet various state animal health guidelines. The Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange takes consignments of livestock, and these consignments are marketed on the regular sale day. Producers can deliver cattle themselves to the facility, or if they need assistance with their livestock, they may contact the livestock exchange for assistance.
In 2008, the Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange marketed a total of 45,364 total head of livestock. This equates to 12,679 cows and bulls, 31,229 calves, 1,330 sheep and goats and 126 horses. Gross sales for 2008 exceeded $20 million. The Nacogdoches Livestock Exchange is a vital business in our county.
The Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet is a cooperative effort of local agencies interested in promoting and honoring agriculture in Nacogdoches County. Local agencies include Nacogdoches County Farm Bureau, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Forest Service, Stephen F. Austin State University - Agriculture Department and Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO).
At the banquet, the Eddie Melasky Family will receive the Farm Family of the Year Award, sponsored by Tipton Ford. Red Suspenders Timber Frames will receive the Pete Smith Agricultural Pioneer Award, sponsored by Heritage Land Bank. John Boyette will receive the Agriculture Educator of the Year award, sponsored by Citizens 1st Bank.
View exhibits at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. Banquet tickets are $22 each or $200 per table of eight and are available now at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, 2516 North Street. Businesses are welcome to sponsor tables to provide complimentary admission for youth ag groups. Call the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, 560-5533 regarding ticket and table reservations, or download a reservation form from www.nacogdoches.org.
In conjunction with the promoting agriculture, an Ag Tour is scheduled for Friday, Apr. 3. The tour runs from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Complimentary breakfast and transportation will be provided for the tour attendees and lunch is provided by AgriLand Farm Credit Services and Lone Star Equipment. Contact Texas AgriLife Extension Service, 560-7711, for more information.