TEXAS DISTRICT: Serving Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas

Find a Local Lender

Back to Landscapes Magazine

Sale barn savvy:A young, sale barn co-owner and co-manager mixes old-fashioned networking and social media to help the business grow.

Landscapes Winter 2020
Photo with loan officer

Photo by Joshua W Helms

Madi Bexley, left, realized her dream of owning a sale barn soon after graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in ag economics. She visits here with her loan officer.

Growing up in Lexington, Texas, Madi Bexley always wanted to purchase her own herd of cattle and dreamed of one day owning an auction barn.

“I’ve wanted to own a sale barn for as far back as I can remember,” she says.

At age 8, Bexley began working in the auction barn café her grandparents operated.

Today, Bexley, 24, does more than work at an auction barn. She co-owns and co-manages Lockhart Auction Inc., in Lockhart, Texas, with partners Bubba Bennight and Jim Schwertner, both longtime cattlemen.

She also got that herd of cattle she dreamed about. Bexley started small with a few cows and has grown her cow-calf operation with financing through Capital Farm Credit.

Feeding cows in field

Photo by Joshua W Helms

Besides owning a sale barn, Bexley wanted to raise her own herd of cattle. She’s grown her cow-calf
operation with the help of Capital Farm Credit.

Carving her path

In 2018, a week after graduating from Texas A&M University, Bexley learned Lockhart Auction was changing hands. She jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.

Women-owned sale barns are uncommon.

But if anyone had doubts about her joining the business, she’s proved to be a natural. “People don’t expect that I understand the sale barn business,” says Bexley. “Some thought I was a spoiled young girl whose father bought her a company to run.

“After talking with me for a little bit, they quickly realize that’s not the case. I’m making my own way. It’s my business.”

Her father, Keith, is the auctioneer at Lockhart Auction. He was a partner in the same sale barn from 1993 to 2003.

Bexley handles Lockhart Auction’s office, finances and marketing. In addition, on most Wednesdays, she’s helping haul and unload cattle, penning and “writing them up.” This allows her to personally thank the sellers for their business.

Sales ring

Photo by Joshua W Helms

Thursdays are sale days at Lockhart Auction. And the sales often run late into the night. Keeping things moving is Madi Bexley’s dad, Keith, left, serving as auctioneer.

Expanding the business

Business is on the upswing. Since 2018, sales at Lockhart Auction have nearly quadrupled, largely because the partners expanded their trade radius and improved customer service and marketing.

“When the sale barn changed hands, it was selling 12,000 head a year. Last year, we sold nearly 50,000 head of cattle,” says Bexley.

She’s found social media has its place in the cattle business. Bexley posts photos of the livestock before each sale day. This lets buyers who can’t attend see what’s available.

Running a sale barn is a team effort.

Bexley, Bennight and Schwertner rely heavily on old-fashioned networking and a good support team to drive most of the company’s success.

Putting customers first

Bexley says Lockhart Auction’s philosophy is simple: Treat people right.

“We try to do good, honest business, day in and day out,” she says.

“I enjoy getting to know people,” she says. “What’s most important are the relationships that working at the sale barn allows me to develop.”

Chase Lore is Bexley’s Capital Farm Credit loan officer. She’s also a customer of Lockhart Auction, which gives her a unique perspective.

“My husband and I sold cattle in Lockhart before Madi became a partner,” says Lore. “It’s great to see how the business has grown.

Moving forward with her lender

Bexley plans on expanding her relationship with Capital.

“Chase did everything she could to help me get a cattle note,” Bexley says. “She and her team understand where I come from. They make it easy to help you make things happen.”

Doing it her way

For now, Bexley wants to focus on expanding the sale barn’s market.

“Growing up around sale barns, I tried to soak up everything,” she says. “I tried to take the best part from each and implement it in my business.

“Not many 24-year-olds get the chance to live their dream so early in life. And I’m doing it my way.”

– Staff

Video by Joshua W Helms

What Can Farm Credit Do for Me?

Farm Credit offers loans, leases and other financial services to those involved in agriculture and rural communities. Whether you're a farmer, rancher or rural business owner - we can help.

Learn More
Back To Top