For 14 years, Randy and Beth Baxley ran the Templeton Livestock Market, a sales yard that united buyers and sellers for live auctions.
Last October the Baxleys sold their last cow, and Templeton Livestock Market, one of the last vestiges of the cattle ranching market on the Central Coast, shut its doors.
The closure had little to do with the drought, or low inventory of cattle. The landowner wouldn’t renew the lease, opting to sell the property to a housing developer.
“It’s a sad thing. If we had owned the property the livestock market was on, we’d still be there,” Beth Baxley said.
The Baxleys are just two sales yard operators forced to close their doors as the cattle ranching market continues to decline.
More than 40 years ago, livestock markets dotted California in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Dixon and Salinas. Now just 23 sales yards remain statewide.
Cattlemen in Santa Barbara County must haul cattle 130 miles to the closest sales yard in McFarland, north of Bakersfield. Of the remaining 23 sales yards, 15 are more than 200 miles from northern Santa Barbara County.
“Now we have to ship cattle three hours away,” said Jenny Hardin, a Los Alamos rancher.
The Baxleys maintain receiving yards in Buellton at 2201 Jonata Park Road, and near the former market site in Templeton as a service to local ranchers that haul cattle to their other sales yard in Visalia.
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