Beef cattle sale Nov. 7 at University Park

September 25, 2008

Penn State's 97th anniversary Angus Production Sale on Nov. 7 at the University Park campus, should generate more than $100,000 for the College of Agricultural Sciences, share highly desired, top-quality Angus genetics with beef producers across the East and reaffirm Penn State’s reputation as an institution that maintains a first-class breeding operation.

But according to John Comerford, associate professor of dairy and animal science and coordinator of the university's beef cattle program, those aren’t the biggest benefits.
“The most important reason Penn State owns cattle is for their educational value,” he said. “Sales give us an opportunity to teach students how to prepare cattle for a sale. For that reason, we developed an undergraduate class in livestock merchandising.
“Students in the class will participate in all aspects of the sale activities, including submitting advertisements, reviewing budgets, preparing the sale facility, meeting and interacting with buyers and guests, and providing feedback to help improve our sales in the future. This class gives students the opportunity to learn how a sale is produced to create better marketing opportunities for beef cattle.”
This year’s 97th anniversary sale marks the third Angus Production Sale since the program's re-introduction to Penn State in 2003. “We have received animals from endowments, gifts and donations,” Comerford said. “We must have a certain number of cattle available to have a sale because we could gut our program if we sold too many and didn’t have enough animals to meet teaching and research needs. But we decided if we are going to produce cattle at Penn State, then we should produce good cattle, and then we can use them to make a contribution towards education of our students as well as making a contribution to the beef industry.”
Starting at noon at the Beef-Sheep Center off Orchard Road, approximately 80 lots will be sold. The sale is being managed by Tom Burke, from Smithville, Mo., who is a sales manager and consultant for the American Angus Hall of Fame at the World Angus Headquarters.
“We hope to gross more than $100,000,” Comerford says. “We anticipate 200 or more people will attend. A few breeders may come long distances, but most of them will be cattle business people from Pennsylvania. I think it is important that people know that cattle sales don’t make our department rich. There are significant costs associated with a sale, and any proceeds we make are used for improvements in instruction and research.
“This year we are introducing an opportunity for people to bid on our cattle via the Internet,” added Comerford. “This approach to expanding our buying market will be both interactive and streamed in real time. The cattle have been videoed in advance and will stream live on a secure Web site during the auction.”
The addition of the Internet auction promises to increase the exposure of Penn State cattle across the nation with the potential to increase agricultural revenue. “Cattlemen in other states who may not have attended our sale will now have the ability to watch the sale online and bid on or purchase cattle without leaving home,” said Wendell Landis, assistant beef cattle manager.
Beef unit manager Don Nichols stresses that sales are great for students. “We are developing students who will be qualified to merchandise cattle,” he said. “They will learn marketing techniques and the subtle things we do to prepare animals for sale. They’ll meet people in the business and make merchandising contacts that might help them later.
"Sales help us to control our cattle inventory, and allow us to offer our genetics to other Angus breeders throughout the country," Nichols explained. “With the number of cattle we have, our long-range plan, is to have sales every two or three years," he said. "It is something that we would like to build on. Sales attract students and help other breeders.”
For information or to view the sale book, visit the Web at The sale will be held at


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Last Updated May 06, 2010