Cattle sales key to district

Sam Odrowski

The first cattle sale of 2018 is set for Saturday, April 28 at the Stratton sales barn.
About 1,000 cattle are expected to be auctioned off at the sale, bringing a long awaited payday to many of the district’s farmers.
“As a farmer, you don’t get a paycheque every two weeks,” noted Kim Jo Bliss, a member of the Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association and a sales barn volunteer.
“The only times you get a paycheque is when you sell cattle, so the cattle sale time of the year is of high importance,” she stressed.
“It’s like your fall harvest except it’s not your potatoes or tomatoes, it’s actually your cattle.”
Bliss said the sales barn season is a very exciting time for farmers.
“It’s a very rewarding time of the year; to look at what you produced,” she remarked.
Almost all the cattle sold are raised locally within the district, with a only few coming in from Dryden and Thunder Bay.
“We are featuring our local cattle, and we have gotten a pretty good name for our cattle here,” Bliss said.
“We have pretty hardy cattle here, with good hair, and they grow well because they are exposed to the elements that other cattle are definitely not exposed to,” she explained.
Bliss has attended cattle sales for as long as she can remember and believes it is an important part of the district.
The sales barn in Stratton is owned and operated by the 115 farmers who contribute cattle each year.
“There’s a real sense of pride in that,” Bliss noted. “We’re hosting it and bring the people in to buy the cattle.
“It’s all our own so we get out of it what we put in it,” she reasoned.
Bliss also is proud of the economic impact the sales barn has on the district.
“One year we sold almost $7 million in cattle and we’re only selling 5,000 head a year,” she said.
“That money is pretty much all spent in the district,” she added. “We all live here so we all have to pay our bills here.”
Bliss is happy to be a part of the sales barn and looks forward to volunteering for the cattle sales for years to come.
“We are happy to provide the service,” she noted.
“It’s a lot of work because it’s not a full-time job for anyone,” she conceded. “We pull a bunch of volunteers together to make it happen but it’s a good place to be.
“When prices are good, it’s a pretty good place to hang out because everyone is in a good mood,” Bliss added.
“It’s pay day!”
Bliss is encouraging everyone in the area who is interested in agriculture to come out and attend the cattle sale.
“Even if you are a non-farmer, we would encourage you to come and check it out because if you never been to a livestock auction before, it is worth checking out,” she said.
“It’s fun.
“If you are just out for a drive on Saturday morning, stop in and check out our sales barn,” Bliss urged.
“We are happy to have people.”