Minnesota Farm Sale Proves Successful During Global Pandemic

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Ritchie Bros Ag Consignor

Online bidders come out for virtual on-the-farm Minnesota auction.

There’s never an easy time to decide when to liquidate your farming operation. But for Jay Klemmensen the timing required extra consideration.

With his on-the-farm auction in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, suddenly happening right in the midst of a global pandemic and economic shutdown, it was only natural for Jay to have second thoughts about the timing of the event (April 4).

“To be honest, I called (Ritchie Bros.) two weeks before the auction and asked if I had an option to cancel given the current situation,” said Jay. “But for the most part everything worked out just fine. A few pieces were tougher because of the virus situation. But all-and-all very successful. I would recommend it to everybody.”

Going all-in online

For the safety of customers and employees, Ritchie Bros. made the decision in March to make the sale online only through a Timed Auction operation. This meant no live auctioneer or bidders onsite at the farm on auction day – everything would happen online using photographs and industry-leading technology.

“Initially, I was skeptical about being online only,” said Jay. “The only thing that scared me was the larger items. The Ritchie team put my fears to rest, though, and assured me that we were doing the right thing.

Nearly 1,300 registered bidders showed up online to compete for the 51 lots available, and nearly 20% of the equipment sold to out-of-state buyers. It followed a trend of other recent on-the-farm auctions showing surging online participation. Just days before Jay’s sale, an on-the-farm retirement sale in Taber, Alberta, attracted more than 3,500 people online, setting a new company record for ag auction participation.

“Ritchie Bros. is the perfect place for an online auction,” enthused Jay. “Given the large territory Ritchie Bros. covers and its huge database of customers, the smaller, more local auction sites just can’t provide that kind of buyer audience.”

Some highlights from the auction include a 2008 New Holland CR9060 4x4, a 1998 Case IH 9370, and a 2010 New Holland T5070.

New Holland combine sold at online Ritchie Bros. auction

Next Steps for Jay

Jay is not set for retirement. In fact, quite the opposite. He exited the farming business to focus on his four other businesses. There’s plenty more work to be done in Jay’s future.

“I contemplated exiting farming for a couple of years. Growing up on a family farm, I’ve been involved my whole life, so it was a very difficult decision. But Ritchie Bros. made it easy once we came to that decision.

“We were very fortunate with the team I had to work with. They put a ton of time and effort in, and I was absolutely thrilled. Between Marcy, Bob and Adam, they were phenomenal to work with. I have zero complaints.”

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