Templeton Livestock Market’s annual bull sale Oct. 4 will be its last. After 70 years, the market is closing to make way for a housing development, property owners said Wednesday — news that at least one local rancher took hard.
Templeton Properties representative Will Tucker confirmed that a 107-home development will begin construction on the 16-acre property by the year’s end. The homes will be entirely single-family and market-priced, he said, with no affordable housing options, and they are expected to be available by the end of 2015.
Beth Baxley, who has leased the auction yard for 14 years with husband Randy, said Templeton Properties notified them in August that they would have to vacate the property to make way for the new development by mid-October.
The market, at 221 N. Main St., has been in her husband’s family for many years, Beth Baxley said, and the decision to close was not their own. The couple owns and operates Templeton and Visalia Livestock Markets.
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“We are not the property owners, and we didn’t sell the business,” she said. “If we were the property owners, we would still have a market there.”
Business has been very strong for the past year, Baxley said, because ranchers have been selling off large numbers of cattle as the drought decimates much of the county’s grazing area. But, she added, they had begun to see a decline in the number of livestock brought to auction.
After the bull sale, the Baxleys will set up a receiving yard up the road at 4340 Ramada Drive that local ranchers can use to truck livestock to the couple’s other livestock market in Visalia. Ranchers using the receiving yard would have to pay a trucking fee to send the animals to auction, Baxley said. It is expected to be running by Oct. 18.
“We know it is a hardship to not have an auction in your backyard,” she said. “But we’ve always been dedicated to the producers over there, and (with the receiving yard) we want to make sure that they are taken care of.”
Cambria cattle rancher David Fiscalini, 60, said the closure is bad news for local ranchers.
“It’s just terrible — it’s not even that; it’s catastrophic,” he said. “This county is a big cow county. It’s going to cost this county a whole lot of money now that the yard isn’t here.”
Fiscalini said he is not sure yet where he will send his cattle to auction, or whether he would use the Baxleys’ receiving yard in Templeton.
No matter what, he said, it will cost area ranchers to send their livestock somewhere else.