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CyberStockyard Helps Cattlemen Buy and Sell
By Amy Woolfolk
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most cities in Mississippi do not have a cattle auction barn, but that doesn't mean cows can't be bought and sold in every town.
CyberStockyard, a joint venture of Scott Sanders, his father, David, and Scott Calhoun, all of Starkville, is the first interactive livestock auction available on the Internet. Although some services offer online purchasing for livestock producers, this site allows buyers to view cattle and bid in the auction without traveling to the actual sale location.
"The online approach takes livestock sales one step further," said Dr. Allen Williams, beef specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "With the growing popularity of the Internet, this could be a trend of the future. It is a unique and exciting concept that will become very important in the future of livestock marketing".
Scott Sanders said the idea for CyberStockyard came about while he was working on a web page for his father's business.
"I was working with Web Services, Inc., on a web page for Dad when I started thinking about an online auction site," Sanders said. "The people at Web Services said they could do it, so we put our site together."
The site, which can be found on the Internet at http://www.cyberstockyard.com, includes information about the company, a calendar of scheduled auctions, and registration forms for producers and buyers. Only registered buyers have access to the live auctions.
"Having buyers register allows us to know what type of cattle each is looking for," Sanders said. "Buyers can register free of charge by going to the buyer registration page."
Today, CyberStockyard has more than 325 registered buyers who can participate in online sales from the comfort of their home or office.
Sanders said the company's sales representatives find producers to contract their sales with CyberStockyard, but the company is willing to help others interested in the service.
"Our service is best suited for purebred breeders selling at least 50 lots and commercial breeders selling at least 50,000 pounds or one load of marketable cattle, but we want to help any interested cattleman," Sanders said.
Producers who contract their sales with CyberStockyard are listed on the web site calendar and in the company's national print advertising campaign. Ads are placed in such industry publications as High Plains Journal, Cattle Today, purebred association magazines and state cattlemen's association magazines.
Once producers contract with the online service, they send videos or photographs of the cattle, and detailed written descriptions to CyberStockyard. This information is then posted on the web site in the form of a sale catalog.
Potential buyers can view the cattle and the information by selecting the correct sale date from the online calendar. Before participating in an interactive auction, registered buyers are required to view a demonstration auction and become familiar with the auction software.
To actually take part in a sale, registered buyers log on to the auction arena web page. The web site is constantly updated with current bids being taken at the sale. The auction software also allows buyers to enters bids in real time at the actual sale site.
After each sale, a detailed report of that sale is posted on the page.
Sanders said CyberStockyard has a full calendar of sales this spring, and they already have several more lined up for next year.
"The system seems to have been very successful so far," Sanders said. "We have a large group of buyers that regularly attend sales, and we are working to increase potential buying power on a national level for our producers."
Contact: Dr. Allen Williams, (601) 325-7466