Texarkana Stockyard opens again after 13 years

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The Texarkana Stockyard tells a tale of both the past and the present as it reopens its gates after being closed for 13 years.

The stockyard, initially opened in 1940, recalls fond memories from former employee, Joe Harold Dawson, 71. Dawson now works as the stockyard’s ring manager and auction price setter, but he began working at the stockyard in the ‘60s, loading and unloading cattle from trailers.

“There would be as many as 3,600 head of cattle processed through here each week,” Dawson explained. “Back then [the 1940s], cattle sold for about 10 cents to 15 cents a pound, and the sales records had to be kept for at least five years.”

In 1962, stockyard operations adopted an auction format, a tradition that the newly reopened business continues.

The Texarkana Stockyard closed in 2000 after its owner, Cookie Coleman, decided to refocus his attention on other businesses that he was running on the side.

In June, Joe Littleton and his son, Jason, bought and reopened the stockyard. The computers clicking in the backroom tell of new times, but the stockyard still retains many of its traditions and charm.

“We processed about 400 cattle the first week,” Littleton said. “I just wanted to start a family business, selling cattle and serving the community.”

Littleton also serves as a pastor in New Boston. “It will be a Christian-oriented business,” he told the Texarkana Gazette. “We opened the business with prayer. We bring cattle here locally and ship them all over the U.S.”

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Ray Dunbar    
Pittsburg  |  July, 19, 2013 at 07:28 PM

Great to see the stockyards open and doing business again. Good luck to all involved in its operation.

NWKansas  |  July, 23, 2013 at 11:19 PM

Congratulations on renewing the competitive marketing(open and public pricing)! Many wish you well and remember you (auctions) are the home of price discovery and the true competition for everyone! It is public that just recently the cash trade has diminished by almost 40% (from 62% to 25% est. from 2005 to 2012). For those that don't understand the Texas trade a few weeks ago had 3,000 cash and 90+ thousand sold on formula and contract.. I wish more understood that those 3,000 sold in cash were (under normal terms) the basis for all the contract and formula cattle.. Go figure how that's been working. Keep competition alive and return some integrity to the industry and always promote the value of cattle born, raised and slaughtered here in the USA! We all need more producers, feeders and processors (some don't want that but many do)!

R-Bar Cattle Co., Cedar Vale, KS    
July, 24, 2013 at 07:48 AM

Congratulations and good luck! We need more people like you in our industry, we need competitive markets, something that we do not have much of these days. We have fed cattle for 40 years - we have none in the lots at this time! Keep up the good luck and God bless you in this endeavor!

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