Accessibility links

Breaking News

On the Job - Auctioneer


((PKG)) Livestock Auctioneer
((Banner: On the Job: Auctioneer))
((Reporter/Camera: Arturo Martínez))
((Map:
Caldwell, Idaho))

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

My name is Zack Zumstein and I'm a professional auctioneer. I primarily work at Treasure Valley Livestock as a cattle auctioneer.

((NATS))
((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

My job is to talk up the cattle as they walk in, tell them the good points about them, work with the buyers and market those cattle to the best of my ability. And I think it's the best way for you to find the true market value of those animals, by just running them through a ring and basically letting the free market decide what those calves are worth.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

How pretty you sound, it probably adds credibility to you, but I know a lot of great auctioneers that probably aren't the best bid callers. Ultimately, your job is to get the most money that you can for the product in front of you.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

And then you add in your filler words and that's what everybody likes, is what makes it sound pretty: "dollar down dear down" or "dollar bidder down here", "I got 10 but I want 20".

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

It helps keep your chant together.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

When I was a little kid, growing up here around the yard, I always would tell my folks that when I grew up, I was going to be a cattle auctioneer.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

You can make a career with it, totally. It takes a lot of work and I was extremely fortunate to have a family business where I could come in.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

You can kind of look at their backs and you can see how fleshy the cow is and get a pretty good idea for what they're going to bring. I can kind of guess. A cow like that right there's probably worth all 700 bucks, and this Longhorn cow right here, she's probably worth somewhere around 300 to 400 dollars.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I think an order buyer can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of those feeder calves are gonna be worth over a $1,000 a piece and they go in and buy. It will only take a few seconds to spend $50,000 or more.

((Nick Anesse, Cattle commission buyer))

I'm a commission buyer and this time of year is our busy year. It's pretty easy to spend $100 - $200,000 a day, five days a week.

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

Every buyer bids a little bit differently. Some of them are coming and watch you like this and other ones just barely move their finger. I try to keep track and keep a hand kind of pointed to the guy who's in or the guy I'm asking. It's a really mentally intense job.
((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I'm gonna be doing my best to market these people's cows. This is a lot of time. It’s the only pay check that they'll get all year.

((NATS))

((Van Neilson, Cattle Farmer))

Yeah, we need these auctions, especially us small guys, because these cattle buyers don't want to come and buy 15 head of calves. They want to come and buy 200 or 300. If he's a good auctioneer, he can really work them buyers and get you a few more cents.

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I think that if you want to do this, you might as well go for it and be the best, and that's what I'm trying to do. I just got done qualifying to make it to my third semi-finals to be the world champion. So, that's one of my goals that I'd like to do someday.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

Is that the baby calf?

I'd love it if he wanted to be an auctioneer. I'd help him out, kind of teach him a little. You can see how audible he is. I think he might like to do it.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I sold him to Leo. I sold him to Leo. You bought a goat for 45 bucks.

XS
SM
MD
LG