Rich and Alicia Robertson take over Crawford Livestock Market
It’s the good people in the community who make it all worthwhile. Both Jack Hunter and his daughter Alicia Hunter Robertson, first and second generation at Crawford Livestock Market Inc. agree on that, and quite a bit more.
Alicia Robertson and her husband Rich bought Crawford Livestock in Crawford, Neb., from her parents Jack and Laurel Hunter about a year ago. Rich had been an employee of CLM for nine years.
The first generation remains involved, but Rich and Alicia, with help from her sister Kris and rancher and auctioneer brother Ross, have bought the business from their parents Jack and Laurel, and taken on the responsibility of operating it.
Although she grew up in the salebarn business, Alicia always wanted to be a teacher. She was envious of the teachers’ kids who got to stay after school and write on the chalkboard.
Her dream of becoming an educator remained with her throughout high school. Her parents backed her 100 percent.
“My parents are all about education. They are firm believers in investing in yourself. My dad always said that a college degree was something nobody could take from you.”
After teaching school in Sturgis and Hot Springs in South Dakota and Crawford for 14 years, Alicia was ready for a change, so when her parents approached the couple about buying the barn, they both immediately agreed.
“We said ‘yes’ and then we talked about how we would do it,” she said.
Collectively, the generations are happy the business will remain in the family.
Growing up in the business, Alicia appreciates learning “how to deal with people.”
Alicia credits her folks for building a “tremendous business.” She said they care about their customers like family and that when they decided to step out of the business, they wanted to be sure the new owners were trustworthy and honest.
Jack echoed this thought.
“The ranchers in this area have good cattle with strong genetics,” he said. “The people in this region make their livelihoods with cattle. They make their money with good cattle, good genetics.”
“We have good cattle in this country but it’s the people who make the business work so well — consignors, buyers, the help that we have. It’s a people business, we’ve been fortunate to be around some of the best.”
He recalled a flood in 1991 that destroyed the barn and yards. “It wiped us out. We had to rebuild. We’ve had a lot of good memories, and we have put a lot of hard work into it.”
Both Alicia and Jack say attempting to predict the market — whether short term or long term, is a waste of time. In the near term, the presidential election will impact prices in one way or another, she said. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I will tell you that we work the hardest to get as much as anyone’s cattle are worth,” Alicia said.
All salebarns provide true price discovery, she said.
Crawford Livestock sells 85,000 through the ring and another 20,000 head through Western Video Market with approximately 40 percent of them coming from South Dakota, 50 percent from Nebraska and 10 percent from Wyoming. Crawford Livestock is a Western Video Market representative.
Alicia has enjoyed gaining a new perspective as a business owner, on how significant the barn, and all salebarns, are to the communities that they serve as well as the surrounding area. “Sometimes I go places and I think about the magnitude of our customer base and how remarkable they are, and how fortunate and blessed we are to do this,” she said. ❖