About Us – Our History

The trade and sale of livestock has been a fixture throughout history; helping to shape the way people live and the growth of the United States.  Changes in technology and convenience to livestock producers have impacted the way livestock are marketed but the importance and viability of the auction has remained strong throughout the years.

Imagine the year 1811 in Louisville, Kentucky.  The industrial revolution was in full swing and the Terminal River Markets like the Bourbon House and Stockyards are situated to take advantage of steamboat transportation.  By the year 1876, steamboats had given way to the Railroads and the great cattle drives of the west were filling an endless supply of railcars with cattle headed for Terminal Markets in cowtowns like Kansas City, Omaha, St. Louis, Denver and Chicago and lesser known but equally important markets in New York City, Baltimore, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle.  The Terminal Auctions were the first forum for competitive livestock marketing; establishing value with publicly reported daily market prices.  For the better part of a century the Terminal markets were a central location for commission firms to negotiate deals between the producer and packer.

In 1936 trucks began coming off of the assembly lines in Detroit, Michigan, headed for rural America and another shift in the way livestock was transported.  With the advent of trucking, producers finally had a choice of shipping their livestock to the distant terminal markets or supporting their local economy by selling at their local livestock auction market. The convenience of trucking and the cattlemen’s commitment to supporting their local livestock auction led to a rapid growth in the number of livestock auctions throughout the 1930’s.

By 1947 we had entered Post War America. With a booming population the demand for a variety of high quality meat products exploded and livestock producers and auctions pushed to meet the demand.  The original livestock packing houses that were located alongside the original terminal markets gave out and were forced to look for new locations to build state of the art facilities.  The packing houses moved to the plains, where the feedlot industry was quickly expanding.  With the move of the packing houses, fewer and fewer trains delivered livestock to the Terminal Markets.  The local livestock auction markets emerged as the leaders in livestock sales through dedicated service to the livestock producers and their local community.

The organization that is now known as Livestock Marketing Association began as the National Livestock Auction Association in 1947. Since then, Livestock Marketing Association has served as the leading advocate for the livestock marketing industry, serving as the voice for local livestock auction markets on state and federal legislative and regulatory issues.

LMA provides its members with legal assistance, public policy representation, industry information, credit reporting, business services and an array of insurance products, and hosts the annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, the largest, most respected and widely recognized international livestock auctioneering contest.

Since 1947 the core value of Livestock Marketing Association has remained the same, a belief in the competitive auction method and True Price Discovery.  Livestock Auctions are a vital part of the livestock industry, serving producers and assuring a fair, competitive price through the auction method of selling.