Perham Stockyards Inc.: Leading Livestock Auction in Western Minnesota

Perham Stockyards Inc. (Perham Stockyards), a family-owned and -operated livestock market, was built in 1974. Based in Perham, Minn., Perham Stockyards sources the highest grade of dairy and beef cattle from regional farms and feedlots alike. Perham Stockyards delivers the fastest pickup and delivery options, upholding customer convenience and satisfaction.

Jerry Barthel, founder and co-owner of Perham Stockyards, purchased Perham Stockyards in 1998. Mitchell “Mitch” Barthel, Jerry’s son and co-owner of Perham Stockyards, is also actively involved in the family tradition, as he graduated from Auctioneer School in 1992.

“We sent Mitch to learn the auction business when he was just 16 years old,” says Jerry. “He’s basically taken over running the company. I’m here to support him, but he does the majority of the work on his own.”
Mitch has been a licensed auctioneer since his industry schooling began; now, at age 37, he has over 21 years of experience in the art of auctioneering and selling. Mitch has participated in four championship events, as well.

“I placed No. 11 in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship in 2012 at Turlock, Calif.,” recalls Mitch. “The more experiences you have the better job you do; in turn, more people hire you.”

Along with experience, Perham Stockyards benefits from a location that is ideal for the cattle business. “We’re located in the heart of cattle country,” adds Jerry. “The support of regional farmers has helped keep us going for many years.”

The company serves regional farmers and ranchers by operating in a fashion similar to a marketing agency. “We are a commission firm for selling livestock to the highest bidder, the Auction Way,” Mitch explains.

Preparing For Auction

To ready the livestock for auction, Perham Stockyards brings in a qualified team to inspect the animals. “We have a veterinarian we’ve worked with for many years,” shares Mitch. “He comes in every Monday to perform health checks on the animals. We employ about 29 individuals, but our ring men are subcontracted and I do all of the auctioneering.”

Complete dispersals of breeding stock are cataloged for upcoming auctions on Mondays and special Saturday sales. Perham Stockyards has a wide range of advertising to promote upcoming sales. All groups of cattle are sorted for size and sex before the sale, according to Mitch.

The company has recently expanded its auction facility in order to house more animals and buyers. “In the last 10 years we’ve built additional space,” details Mitch. “I definitely see us adding more in the next 10 years.” The auction site can comfortably host up to 250 spectators in-house per sale, and also takes advantage of improvements in technology.

“Our operations make it easy for remote buyers to act as if they were physically here,” explains Mitch. “We stream live online, so buyers and sellers can log on to the Internet [at], to view and bid on the animals at the sale.”

The People Business

While Perham Stockyards is always positioning its operations to attract new customers, Mitch admits repeat buyers truly make the auction business a success. “We deal with the same folks all the time,” shares Mitch. “Some buyers and sellers come back weekly, monthly and yearly; I see a lot of familiar faces.”

Perham Stockyards operates in a smaller industry than most, where long-term interactions are invaluable. “Our business isn’t like other jobs,” states Mitch. “If I’m going to sell cattle for a rancher who’s been in the business for 50 years, the only things I can do are put in my time and pay my dues to show we’re providing an excellent market. I’m always working to build relationships with people.” Since many farmers and ranchers span generations, Mitch strives to get to know fathers, sons, cousins and all who are involved in each operation.

Perham Stockyards has been providing professional auctioneering and, a quality livestock market to farmers and ranchers throughout Minnesota and the Dakota’s for over 15 years. The company prides itself on hands-on family ownership and a dedication to repeat buyers, sellers and relationships across the board. Perham Stockyards Inc. continues to lead the cattle bidding and buying industry, building on years of experience and a well-deserved reputation.