Most folks start their week slow. Maybe enjoy a cup of coffee before starting work on Monday morning. For Leon Birky and his wife Chloe, life is anything but slow. For the Birky family, which includes their four kids, every day is packed with errands, phone calls, pick-ups, drop-offs, and preparations for the upcoming Saturday auction. For this family, that’s when the fun begins.
“During the week, we’re delivering cattle or picking up livestock,” Leon said leaning against his sometimes white, GMC flatbed truck. “We also spend a fair amount of time talking to customers.”
Leon and Chloe bought the Eugene Livestock Auction in Junction City, Oregon back in August 2018. Sitting on over seven acres of land, it’s one of only eight livestock auction yards left in Oregon after a rash of yards closed due to the high cost of regulations.
“If we hadn’t bought it, it would have turned into an office complex or something like that,” Leon said pointing over his shoulder to the famous property.
“We bought it to keep the country alive and help good people who buy and sell livestock. If they’d closed this auction yard, folks would have to travel 40 miles farther north. That just doesn’t make sense for small livestock producers.”
To help those looking to buy and sell quality livestock, the Birkys put together and email the Market Report every week. One of the easiest ways to find it is to visit EugeneLivestockAuction.com.
That list is then sent out to the Capital Press, where it’s published online and in print.
Following that report, and some one-on-one with locals looking to buy and sell, Leon puts in some long days. By Friday, he’s hauling, checking in, and getting everything ready for the Saturday auction.
“This is the only area auction open on Saturday,” Leon added. “It’s a day off for a lot of people. That makes it easier for buyers to show up on a regular basis.”
Leon brings in the livestock from local producers. He’s also the guy finding buyers who are looking for quality feeder cattle and other livestock, including horses. On the second Sunday of each month, the Eugene Livestock Auction holds a horse auction, with tack starting at noon and horses at 4:00pm.
“The sellers get paid that day,” he added. “Instead of selling to one buyer, you get a lot of them bidding on your animals. Plus, we take care of the animals when they come into the yard. We make it easy for everyone.”
The couple plans to celebrate their first year as owners with a fall feeder sale and barbecue. Look for more information in the coming weeks at the auction website.
Visitors to the Eugene Livestock Auction can also enjoy good, downhome cooking at the on-site restaurant. Stockman’s Cafe serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, and is open until the end of auction on Saturday. On Sunday during the horse auction, it serves guests from 7:00am to 9:00 pm.
“We’re Coastal customers for sure,” Leon said. “It’s easy to stop by the local store and get everything we need for our own property and the auction.”
When asked about their plans for the future of the Eugene Livestock Auction, Leon took a moment and gave a thoughtful reply.
“We try hard to ensure everyone feels like they’ve been treated right. We’re locals too. We value honesty and integrity like everyone else. You can bet that will always be front and center at the Eugene Livestock Auction.”