Fort Scott Livestock Market Inc.
Fort Scott, Kansas
By Audrey Hambright
Jim Martin didn’t plan to make the livestock marketing business a way of life. In fact, he had wanted to become an airline pilot. Yet from the time he was 22 years old, he has molded his and his family’s life around a growing agricultural business.
Martin began working at the Fort Scott Livestock Market after his father-in-law purchased it in 1956. He started out in the back driving cattle, eventually working in the office and clerking sales. In the early 1960’s, he acquired an interest in auctioneering and continued to auctioneer the sales even after selling the market in 1975. Soon after his son Larry was hired to the market in 1993, the Martin family purchased back the business and later made it incorporated.
Larry and his wife Debra along with their sons Tyler and Kyle, all have active roles within the family business. Larry, Tyler and Kyle are all part owners and Debra helps with office work, especially on sale day which is Saturday. Extended family members are always pitching in with IT/accounting services and office work, as well.
They attribute their success and relationships they’ve built with customers to the reputation as a family business.
“We try to treat everybody like we’d want to be treated,” Debra said.
She also proudly added that families appreciate the environment they create at the barn especially for those with children as they have made a play area available. The café in the barn is also run by a mother-daughter duo.
The Martins were instrumental in hosting one of the regional Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) workshops at the Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., last fall put on by the BCI and the Kansas Beef Council.
“It was a very common sense approach about handling livestock and what needs to be done,” Larry said.
In addition to taking a proactive approach to animal health, Larry and Debra have been honored for their activities in the community. They were chosen as recipients of the 2011 Master Farmer and Homemaker Award, which recognized their community service and presentation of the beef industry in a positive light. The award program dates to 1927 and is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine.
Moving ahead, Larry Martin is looking forward to being a viable business.
“It’s a big part of America,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know where their food comes from or how big of a business it is.”
And as in a majority of agricultural-related industries, the main highlight of the business for the Martins is being associated with good people.