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Ramsay, Montana

Butte livestock yards change hands 
By Leslie McCartney of The Montana Standard

December, 2002

The Montana Livestock Co., owned by brothers Don and Dan Ueland, has been sold to Brown's Gulch resident Ken Moe. 

The purchase price was not disclosed. 

"Our last sale will be Dec. 20," Don Ueland said Tuesday. 

A hearing on the transfer of the livestock sale business was held Monday in Butte with no opposition, and the sale is expected to be complete by Jan. 1. 

The Uelands have operated the Ramsay sale barn, which they built, for four years. They decided to sell when Moe stepped forward. 

"We thought this is an opportunity we can't pass up," he said. 

Even without the business, the brothers will remain busy. "We are local ranchers; we'll have plenty of work," Ueland said. 

They will continue to market their cattle through their former business. 

"We really liked the sale barn business," he added. He said that the brothers will miss talking with ranchers and those with ranching interests -- "that was the fun part for Dan and I" -- but that they were "spread real thin" with running their own ranches and the business. 

Craig Britton, who was partners with the Ueland brothers before selling his share in the live stock sale business, will return as the general manager. The business will be called the Montana Livestock Auction. 

Britton has been involved in the business for decades and had been managing yards in Missoula prior to being offered the Ramsay job by Moe. 

Starting with Britton's father, Earl, in the 1950s, the Britton family was a regional force in the livestock auction business in Southwest Montana. However, in 1998, Craig sold his controlling interest to the Uelands and the stockyards on Hansen Road were sold to Brandon-Legg Development Corp. 

Shortly after, the Uelands built a state-of-the-art facility near Ramsay. 

"It's the newest yard in Montana," Ueland said. 

Under the new ownership, Britton expects to turn the yard into an aggressive marketing operation active in solicitation of and visits to area ranchers. Britton hopes that 50,000 head of cattle will pass through the gates of the business in about three years. 

With Moe as owner and Britton as manager, the first sale under new management will be Jan. 7. 

The auction employs six full-time people. On sale days, the employment numbers jump to 30 people. 

The transfer of the state Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, the permit needed to operate a sale barn, is expected to go smoothly. The state is waiting on paperwork and then board members will render a final decision. 

The state has about 14 such permitted sale yards, according to Marty Falstad, a licensing clerk and auditor in brand enforcement for the Department of Livestock.

Copyright Leslie McCartney and the Montana Standard, reproduced by permission.

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