With a 140-head cowherd, a 300-head feedlot and a full-time grain enterprise, Kent and Carol Lock of Avon, Ill., have to make the most of their time. Marketing fed cattle is no exception, so the Locks came up with the idea of sending their show list of fed cattle to area packers via e-mail.

"When a semi load of fed cattle are ready for market it saves time and phone calls to send by e-mail the description of the cattle, which pen they are in, and how they are priced to the six packers that buy in our area," writes Mr. Lock. "An ancillary benefit is the e-mail recipients are able to see who else is on the mailing list, which adds a competitive nature to the bidding."