West Fargo's historic stockyards to be shuttered, sold for possible development
By: Wendy Reuer, WDAY/Inforum (ND)
Nov 18th 2020
WEST FARGO — Late Tuesday afternoon, Kelly Klein was shuffling down alleys, shutting gates and clearing pens to ready the West Fargo stockyards for the hundreds of sheep and cattle arriving for the Wednesday, Nov. 18, auction that would open at 8:30 a.m., just as sales began there each week for the past 85 years.
But Wednesday's sale at Central Livestock West Fargo would not be like the thousands before it. The auction will be one of the last at West Fargo's iconic stockyards as the property is listed for sale and employees were notified of a developer's interest to raze the entire grounds and build something new.
The sale would end decades of history, as West Fargo has hosted cattle sales every Wednesday, along with sheep sales once or twice a month and horse sales twice a year during spring and fall, all of which have drawn buyers and sellers from across the region since 1935.
Klein has been an auctioneer for 16 years and manager at Central Livestock for three years. In a public Facebook post on Nov. 12, Klein announced the closing.
"... All will come to an end later this month. The property is being sold and torn down by new developers. I want to thank the loyal customers for having faith in me to sell their livestock. Over the years I've met a ton of the industry's finest producers, cattle buyers, sale barn workers and made many life long memories and friends," he wrote.
The post was followed by a flood of comments by past and present visitors with fond memories of the grounds.
Real Estate Agent Neal Beitelspacher with Dakota Commercial listed the nearly 82-acre property at 700 Arena Drive for $2.375 million. While he confirmed there is an interested party, he noted a potential buyer has about 30 days to continue to do due diligence on the property before a closing is set.
At its peak, the former Union Stockyards' 2,000 pens could handle 6,700 head of cattle, 1,900 hogs and 2,000 sheep at any given time. The biggest single-volume day was Feb. 13, 1985, when 6,475 cattle were sold, according to Forum archives.
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