Over 200 on hand to hear Blue Grass Stockyards’ Akers

Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm


Construction continues in the Snow Community of central Cilnton County on the Blue Grass Stockyards facility. More than 200 people from Clinton, Cumberland and Wayne County’s cattle communities attended a meeting last week to hear Jim Akers, Chief Operating Officer for Blue Grass Livetock Marketing Group.


The Cattlemen’s Association held its monthly meeting last week and more than 200 people were in attendance at the Clinton County Fairgrounds Tuesday night.

The association sponsored a meal for those attending and the main focus of the meeting was for Chief Operating Officer of the Blue Grass Livestock Marketing Group, Jim Akers, to speak to the ag communities of Clinton, Wayne and Cumberland Counties about the new construction of the Albany Bluegrass Stockyards facility.

The new facility is currently under construction in the Snow Community of Clinton County, near the Somerset Community College Clinton Center.

Akers spoke to the public about the progress of the new site located on Hwy 90 and is excited to get the stockyards up and running.

“It’s a pleasure and I’m happy to be a part of the ag community in this part of the state,” Akers said. “We are really, really excited about getting this market up and running.”

With weather playing a huge factor in the construction process, Akers said the facility was looking at being up and running by April instead of a previous projection of March.

“To get it done right and get everything ready to go, it’s going to be up in April,” Akers said. “Things are moving really fast and people are going to see a lot of changes really rapidly over the next couple of weeks, but its going to take a while. We’d rather get it right and have it ready to go before we start (having sales).”

Akers said there is a lot of cattle in this part of the state and a market for farmers to buy and sell will help the economy for locals.

“It’s been a real pleasure to have people you can go to if you have a problem and get answers and find solutions,” Akers said. “To be able to come into a community with leaders like you all have, it’s a breath of fresh air. I deal with the city of Lexington and other cities in Kentucky and it’s just not that way with a lot of those cities.”

The Blue Grass operation started in Lexington around 1946.

“It’s changed hands a few times since then, but it’s been in the control of the people who own it now since the mid-1970s,” Akers said.

One advantage of having markets across the state, according to Akers, is to take pressure off the Blue Grass Market Building in Lexington and to move the service closer to the customer base.

“It’s easier to get out into the country now,” Akers said. “They started acquiring some other markets and building some new markets. At this point in time, with the Albany market, we will be operating seven live markets in the state of Kentucky, as well as our internet business. We sell cattle in roughly 100 of the 120 counties in Kentucky and if you look at a list of the 20 counties we don’t sell in, there isn’t much cattle in those counties. We pretty much cover most of the state from one end to the other.”

Akers said the bulk of Blue Grass Livestock Marketing Group’s business is stretched from I-65 to the eastern part of the state.

The Blue Grass Livestock Marketing Group also has a successful internet business that services many states as well.

“Our internet business services nine states in the southeast,” Akers said. “It’s a growing part of our business … about 10 percent of our volume is loads of cattle sold over the internet.”

The company sales around five to 600,000 head of cattle per year and will also sell other species in addition to cattle.

“We sell sheep, goats and hogs,” Akers said. “We also have periodical horse sells throughout the year in our Richmond (KY) location and a couple at Mount Sterling.”

Akers said there are 11 individuals who own stock in the company and all are actively involved in the company everyday.

“That’s very unique for a company. Several of the owners are managers at our facilities and others are just farmers. It’s a broad array of people,” Akers said. “We are not a huge company, but I guess for what we do in this industry we are pretty good sized. For our ownership to be getting out of bed and going to work everyday is pretty unique.”

According to Akers, the company tries to have nice facilities and works hard for the farmers.

“I will just tell you right now, we don’t buy cattle, we sell cattle for you (farmers),” Akers said. “We provide service in a nice facility, with good quality people, and a good business model and that’s our business philosophy.”

The marketing company is a commission based company and Akers said the more money they make the farmers, the more money they make as a company.

“Our folks are tuned to working for the farmers,” Akers said. “We hope that once we get rutted into the community down here and folks get comfortable with the way we do things and the quality of our people, we hope farmers will be able to trust us and the way we do business.”

Akers said there are many buying firms who have their hand in sales and are looking forward to being included in a new calf supply.

“We’ve got standing commitments from all the major order buying firms. They will have folks in this market,” Akers said. “They are as excited about this as we are from the stand point, this is calf country. We are really excited to tap into a new supply of calves”

Their website, bgstockyards.com, has daily market values, contact information and special sales information to provide farmers and customers with the most current information on the cattle market.

“Most of our market reports are posted before the start of business the next day,” Akers said. “A lot of them are posted the night of the sale. If farmers need to get online and look at what cattle are bringing in the different markets in our network then they can do it on that website. We sell six days a week. We have at least two sales everyday in our markets, so it’s a really good way of keeping up with how the market is moving.”

The Albany Market is going to be set up to handle 1,500 to 2,000 head of cattle on any given day.

“We think it’s important to have a little excess capacity, so we can take care of the customers in the big spring and fall runs,” Akers said. “This barn will be that way. It’s going to have a nice flow to it. We think it will be real efficient for everybody.”

All unloading will be drive-thru unloading. Akers said there will also be a dock for straight trucks.

“It will be an outweigh market as is all of our markets, so the cattle are weighed as they are sold,” Akers said. “The scales are actually the sell ring itself.”

Akers said there is going to be a lot of technology in the Albany Market.

“It’s going to be really neat,” Akers said. “There is going to be a lot of computerization that will move really quickly. It will be very efficient. When your last animal goes through the sell ring and you get up out of your chair and go to the office, your check will be ready before you get there. It’s very fast and very efficient.”

The building will also be equipped with air gates and air doors in order to keep farmers and other people out of dangerous areas.

“It’s going to be a really nice facility and we are really excited about that,” Akers said.

The main sale day will be on Wednesdays at the Albany Market. The sales will start at nine a.m. central time.

“That’s our plan at this point,” Akers said. “We will probably have special sales and special events on Saturday. I don’t know what all will fit in this market place, but we are certainly open to input on that.”


Clinton County Agriculture Extension Agent Phil Smith addressed the crowd attending last week’s meeting of Cattle producers from Clinton, Cumberland and Wayne Counties.


Phase One Board members were present from Cumberland, Clinton and Wayne counties Tuesday night at the Cattlemen’s Association meeting. The Phase One committee presented a check to the Blue Grass Livestock Marketing Group for $435,000 for construction of the new facility. The money came from the Ag Development fund.