Silence. That is what will be heard each Saturday where the Templeton Livestock Market used to be. Gone are the bawling calves. Not to be heard are the sharp whistles from the workers sorting the cattle on horseback. The nearly unintelligible – except the dollar value – yet warmly familiar chant of the auctioneer, silenced. Gone are the rancher’s kids running around the yard. Silenced are the conversations of market news and the connections made each week by local ranchers. No more dirt sprays from the horse hooves or the calf hooves as calves are sorted. The Templeton Livestock Market located on Main Street in Templeton, CA swung its gates for the last time Saturday, October 4, 2014 for the 25th Annual Tri-Counties Breeder’s Choice Bull Sale.
The Templeton Livestock Market has been a connection place for local ranchers, as well as a local place to market their products or buy new stock since 1946. The sale of the land, which was leased by the TLM, has forced the closure. In its place will be a new housing development. This is not a reflection of the dedication and traditions of cattle ranching in San Luis Obispo County as cattle production remains a vital part of agriculture in this area; even as this area faces one the most severe droughts on record. The San Luis Obispo Chapter of the California Cattlemen’s Association boasts the highest membership number in the state.
Randy Baxley, the current owner and auctioneer of TLM wrote the following in the final TLM Breeder’s Choice Bull Sale program:
“I want to take this time to thank all of the producers in this area that have brought their cattle to me year after year. Templeton Livestock has always been known for its outstanding market and that is also the case in Visalia. The cattlemen and cattlewomen have made the past thirteen years a supreme pleasure and for that I will always be thankful. As we battle against one of the worst droughts California has ever seen I know the determination and the heart of the cattle producer will be unwavering. Thank you for the spirit that you hold and the hard work you put into producing an outstanding product.”
Randy plans to continue to serve local cattle ranchers by providing a receiving yard also located in Templeton. The TLM receiving yard will be open on the weekends and Tuesdays to take in cattle that will then be transported to the Visalia Livestock Market for its weekly Wednesday sale. The receiving yard will be located at 4340 Ramada Drive in Templeton and will have the capabilities to feed and water the livestock in a dust-controlled environment.
One of the local producers, who has been using the TLM for nearly all the years it has offered this service, is Carl Grieb of Grieb Ranch in Arroyo Grande, CA. He was present at the 25th Annual Breeder’s Choice Bull Sale to be a part of the history as an era came to an end. In the early days of ranching at Grieb Ranch (established in 1878) they used to drive the market animals down Halcyon Road to the cattle train in Oceano. In these later years members of the Grieb Family brought their sale cattle to the market in Templeton about once a year, however, they frequented the sale more than that. Sometimes they needed to add to the herd or were looking for a bull to enhance their breeding program. Now to ship their cattle they will have to travel over 3 hours one way and go over 2 major grades to do so.
Members of the Grieb family were at the last sale and like many of the ranchers present are sad to say farewell, but their dedication to their lifestyle and cattle ranching in San Luis Obispo County will remain steadfast.