Cattlemen Taking Care of Cattlemen
When Robin Varelman bought the Livestock Exchange, LLC in 2014, she had one goal in mind: to make it a place like home for farmers and ranchers — a place where they can sell their cattle with confidence and for the highest dollar.
A regional sale barn in Brush, just east of Fort Morgan, Livestock Exchange is a thriving auction business, a community supporter and advocate, and a connection for cattle producers across Colorado and beyond. The Livestock Exchange brings 500 people to Morgan County each sale day.
“This much foot traffic means people are in the community, doing business locally,” Robin explained. “This is why it’s important to me to have a live auction.”
A ringman helps move the sale along.
“I am a firm believer in giving back,” she said, when asked about her community. The Livestock Exchange has a scholarship program for anyone who wants to get schooling in an ag education program. “It can be a mom who wants to go back to school, a high schooler going off to college, or a college kid who wants to change their focus and get into ag,” Robin said.
When it comes to taking care of the livestock that come through the sale barn, Robin said, “We work them easy and try to handle them with the best care possible.” She runs the facility and educates her staff about the proper handling and marketing of the cattle — and in 2021, she received the Beef Quality Assurance award. This national award recognizes people in the cattle industry who keep the welfare of the animals as a priority in their work.
Robin employs 40 people who run sale day: auctioneers, ring men, office staff and check-in crews. “It’s a wide spectrum of talent and I have the best person for that job in the best spot.”
Her cellphone is on 24/7 and she’s is always available for her customers when they want to know what the cattle markets are doing, even if it’s Sunday morning after church. “Everyone has a piece of the puzzle. If I don’t get mine in the right spot, then I’m not doing my part and my best.”
“On the eastern plains, we do the best we can do — we are the best stewards of the land; it’s how we make our living. We’re the best stewards of the animals; we are feeding America and Colorado. We are preserving everything we can, so we can feed America.”
For more information about the Beef Quality Assurance award, visit cobqa.org/national-bqa-award-winners.html.
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