FREDONIA, Kan. – The only thing faster than the auctioneer are the cattle sales at the Fredonia Livestock Auction. Hundreds are bought and sold every Tuesday.
“This year, 2018, we’ll literally sell thousands more cattle than we did last year, and we continue and continue to grow,” owner, Brad Haun said to Wichita’s KSNW. “We’re ranchers. That’s what my family has done. My great-great-granddad came here in a wagon train, and my family’s been here ever since.”
He usually deals in beef cattle, but on this day, he’s holding a special sale of Holsteins, dairy cattle, for the Amish.
“They can market them all here, and all of them come at the same time,” said sales representative, Buck Powell.
Powell is the go-between for about 150 Amish families who come here from three states. It’s a fun outing that’s also their payday.
“It’s their livelihood,” said Haun. “When they bring their cattle down here, I do everything I can to get them the most money. I’ll have buyers from Missouri. I’ll have buyers from Nebraska. I’ll have buyers from Wisconsin, all over Kansas trying to buy these Holsteins.”
Right after the auction, many of the ranchers head to lunch just steps away at the adjoining Stockyard Restaurant– but don’t worry, the cow sold at auction does not become the burger on the plate next door!
“All the ground beef is ours,” said Michelle Haun, who runs the restaurant.
The beef is home-raised at the Haun’s own feedyard, but at night, people often come for the steaks.
“People come from Wichita, Mulvane, Andover, Independence (Kan.), Coffeyville,” said Brad Haun. “You can’t believe it on a Friday night. The prime rib here, you wanna be careful about eating it ’cause it’s addictive. You’ll be back!”
His wife shuts the restaurant down the day after a cattle auction for deep cleaning.
“She says just because it’s a sale barn, it doesn’t have to smell like a sale barn in her restaurant,” said Brad Haun.
“We break everything down, kitchen and front, and clean it every Wednesday after the sale,” said Michelle Haun.
By the way, it seems Brad and Michelle Haun were destined for the beef business– after all, they met at a steakhouse 27 years ago!