Farm Sales

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Well-known member
Jan 10, 2007
Here is an article from the American Cowman that really tugged at my heartstrings........

Farm Auctions: Mysterious Moments
Apr 7, 2008 2:20 PM

By Duane Botzek, Foley, MN

I have not gone to but a handful of farm auctions, but there is something about being there, in that moment, that is quite mysterious…

It has been difficult for me to attend farm auctions for a number of reasons that come from the sensitive core of me. It is painful to have to watch strangers suddenly, carelessly, casually going through things that have held deep meaning for those who worked so long and so hard with them, and came to be things that they loved…

And then there are the scavengers at farm auctions…the low bidders…looking for deals as bragging rights for the day, then turning over a great find to make a quick buck…

But then there the people…the neighbors...the friends…who, for the sake of the owner, want the precious things to survive, and have a genuine desire to help the farmer of the auction to move on with life…

There are the whole range of mixed emotions that a farm auction brings - emotions of loss, as in a death, a divorce, a broken dream, a forced down-sizing, an unwanted letting-go of little treasures, a stripping away of memories of a place, a life, and a whole piece of history - in some cases, the loss of what one thought to be their whole purpose in life!

Most farmers hold their auction with many mixed feelings; with a numbness in their eyes that cannot completely cover their sadness or hide their sense of loss as they come to realize that this time, they are crossing a line that has not been crossed before, and they didn’t realize just how they’d feel until they were on the other side…

If you’ve ever truly engaged in the act of farming your own farm, you may feel overwhelmed in the moments of an auction…

Is only one day or two
A turning of a page
Once stuck like glue?
Dispersal…disposal…bumping my things around
On a home piece of ground
It’s ending implications
May be profound

We should have seen it coming. The ending is always at the beginning, if we can focus enough to see it through the distractions of life - distractions that shade the truth of things to come.

In the beginning, the beginning dances, like dark dances with the light, and the ending is also invited to dance, and it flows in from a place where dark and light touch…one’s flexibility and judgment can get so lost…one’s sense of direction can get so lost…

A farm auction brings a farmer back to the place where ending and beginning meet for a mysterious moment in time…the unexpected is always present in life, but at this mysterious moment, a farmer feels the ending of his era…and so he begins again…

Most farmers have their auction, and then they’re gone…never to return…woodenly thinking that in the end, it doesn’t matter…that things would never be the same…

But there are farmers who, mysteriously, with all the hard times facing the winds of change, the family trials, the low markets, the bad loans, the weather, the storms – what seems like a lifetime spent waist deep in manure - come back from it bruised, but better than if they had never experienced it at all!

At a farm auction you can feel a page being turned in a story, because, after that day, it will never again be the same - like a love story…a song…a poem…a novel…a biography…a historical document… a collectable with photos and images of things of an era…

When you come to the end…there is always a new beginning…

I have not gone to but a handful of farm auctions. There is something about being in that moment that is quite mysterious…

…but I’m still not sure I can be at my own.



Well-known member
Jan 20, 2007
Gardner, KS
That is a good article, most of the farm auctions we have been to (regardless of why they are selling) you almost feel guilty bidding.


Well-known member
Feb 13, 2008
I went to an auction once where the old boy was selling everything.  In one day they sold all his equip., his horses, livestock, the farm, i mean everything.  All he had left was a suitcase to move to the retirement home with.  After that day I told myself that I would die on my place and they could sell my stuff after I was dead.  There's no way I could watch everything I had be gone in one day...


Well-known member
Feb 7, 2007
Hollister, CA
i know this sounds stupid, but i kept my grandmothers camel hair, mink accented coat and hat, and it was moth eaten to boot, but i didn't care.

you'd be suprised what memories your chitlins want to hang on to.  i've got her sewing machine, and old phaff (sp), some candy dishes, apple dinnerware.

yes, i'm a hoarder to the utter agony of my wife.  i just went through 4 bags of kids clothes and was "allowed" to save one box of my daughters kid clothes.  i sat there weeping over every stinking pair of pants.

on the other side of farm sales, it's pretty obvious that some people view them as a way to come out ahead, and have been doing it a long time.  i've met quite a few old buzzards that never purchased new machinery.  my uncle always purchased new machinery, but didn't custom farm.  he suffered for it and for the life of me, i could never figure out how he penciled in a profit if he didn't use his machinery more.  now i know, he didn't, farming was more of a romance and a way to complain about the government.  now you know where i get my complaining gene from, it's maternal.


Well-known member
Mar 2, 2008
Man, this is a sad subject, and I know someone who has had to deal with somewhat of a similar situation. 

I know this one guy who is around my age who lives in North Carolina.  His name is Alan. 

Alan has never owned a farm of his own, however he use to work for his neighbor who use to own a farm that was behind his parent's house.  Alan does not come from a farming family, and I remember him being the only one in his family who loved cattle.  Unlike Alan his family had absolutely no interest in farming or cattle.  He was always alone in his hobby I remember. 

Back several years ago his neighbor decided to sell his farm, and unfortunately Alan was not able to afford the land.  The land ended up being developed into a subdivision, and it nearly destroyed Alan.  He was only 23 years old when this happened, and he had been working for this guy from the time he was 11 years old.  I tell you Alan lived and breathed cattle.  It was a shame to see this guy watch his dream go up in smoke like that.  He has never been the same guy that I use to know ever since that happened. 

Just a couple of years later I remember Alan started struggling really bad with depression, and he ended up having to go on anti-depressants.  I really do believe having his passion taken away from him has caused a lot of his depression.  Before that he didn't have a problem with depression. 

Although I don't live in North Carolina anymore, I still hear from Alan ever so often.  He now works for a health insurance company, and he tells me that he is not happy with his job.  He claims that he still misses the old farm that was behind his parent's house, and he tells me that not being able to have his own his own cattle and having to live in the suburbs has been a huge cause of his depression, and I believe him. 

I really do believe that having those cows and that farm taken away from him like that has really hurt him emotionally over the years.  To me Alan lost his real therapy  when he had to stand by, and watch the farm that was behind his parent's house being bulldozed and turned into a subdivision.  I wish I could've helped the guy, however I don't have a huge operation, and I no longer live where he does. 

Anytime I hear that song, "Rain On The Scarecrow" by John Cougar Mellencamp I am reminded of Alan and these farmers who have had to surrender their life long passion.  :(