Website helps producers market cattle, facilitates cattle exchange across the country
After launching in mid-January, cattle-exchange.com has become a rousing success, says Bill Newham, the vice president and group publisher for livestock group at Farm Journal Media, and the cattle marketing website looks to continue to expand.
“We did our homework, and we did some research,” says Newham. “We know that cattlemen are using the Internet in a number of different ways, and we think this can provide them with a tremendous opportunity to make their operations more efficient.”
With the idea of better serving the audience of Beef Today and members of the beef industry in mind, cattle-exchange.com was born.
Connecting the industry
“We felt the beef industry is unique in that there is a production chain and frequent movement or change of ownership in the animal from conception to processing,” he explains. “Usually, an animal is owned by three or four different people. Producers move cattle to where the grass is.”
He continues, noting that buying the right cattle is essential to operations, and connecting the buyer and seller is imperative. Historically, auction markets served as the primary tool, but Newham notes that technology is the next step.
“We were looking to find ways we can help producers make the process less expensive, more efficient and allow them to have more control than they might otherwise have,” he says.
With Beef Today and the Farm Journal media family as a starting point, Newham adds that he is in a unique position to reach 155,000 beef producers nation wide.
“The value of the site is to the seller and the buyer – there are a lot of cattle in place and a lot of people looking,” Newham mentions. “It has the opportunity to put a buyer and seller together. It has an incredible search functionality, and there is probably more detailed information on any respective lot of cattle than you would find any place else.”
The website has the ability to collect a lot of information, asking producers selling cattle to provide as much information as possible. All of the information provided is also searchable, allowing cattle buyers to find what they need.
Finding the right cattle
The ability to search cattle-exchange.com is also unique. The listings on the site have the potential to include more than 70 different pieces of information, including class, number, age range, breed or breed combinations, weights, breeding dates and pregnancy check dates. Feeding programs, breeding programs and photos can also be included.
“The producer can detail as much information as they choose,” he adds.
“It puts a lot of control in the hands of the buyer that is looking for just the right group of cattle in the right place,” Newham explains. “That is a whole lot of power that cattle buyers have never had before.”
The site also offers the option to save up to five custom searches and email updates on cattle, depending on user preferences.
Additionally, the volume of cattle advertised on the site provides a lot of information on a lot of animals.
“The search-ability is not of particular value unless there is something there,” comments Newham. “We have 33,000 head in 34 states – and that is in a little over 90 days.”
Using the site
Any person selling or buying cattle can utilize the website for no charge, but additional features are available for a small cost.
“If you have cattle for sale, you can list those for sale for free on the site,” says Newham. “Then, you enter your information as completely as possible.”
“The producer can list three photos, and we list that at no charge, because we want to get a lot of cattle on the site,” says Newham.
Cattle-Exchange also offers a prime listing option for only $35, and Newham says it allows more visibility for listings.
“A prime listing give you up to 10 photos and a video. You can also list your ranch brand or logo,” he explains. “When the site is searched, a prime listing will show up at the top of the page.”
Prime listings rotate through the home page as well, offering additional visibility. Newham adds that preliminary data shows prime listings have two to three times more views by visitors.
“We ask for a small voluntary commission on those cattle if the buyer found your cattle through cattle- exchange,” adds Newham. “It is strictly a voluntary thing, and it is far less expensive than going through an auction. We trust that cattlemen that are successful will play by the rules, and I’m not real concerned about that.”
With the website in its fledging years, Newham says there is more to come.
“Ultimately, I think we’ll include Canada as well,” says Newham, noting that development will likely be coming in the next year or two.
They also plan to add breeds of cattle and geographic locations.
“Since we launched, we have added half a dozen breeds of cattle,” he says. “We also have a plan to add seedstock resources and possibly auction sales.”
Audio/visual tutorials on using the site and on taking photos of cattle are available on the site. More relevant tutorials on other useful topics will be available soon.
“We aren’t here to replace the auction market,” he mentions. “We are here to give cattle producers more options in their sales toolbox.”
Visit cattle-exchange.com for more information. Saige Albert is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.