FTLComm - Tisdale - April 19, 2000

At one time a farmer who decided to end his or her operation would contact an auctioneer and a day would be set and folks would come to the farm and the equipment, sometimes the household items themselves would be sold. This big auction held yesterday in Tisdale and the one in Melfort today involves many farms. Their equipment and hardware brought into one sale area and sold off with a larger number of buyers available. Yesterday's event in Tisdale was truly a big one with cars and trucks filling up the John Bob Farm Equipment lot next door, along the highway and filling the area in front of the airport
This picture above show what it looked like as you drove in to Tisdale Tuesday afternoon with vehicles from the Tisdale Auction centre all the way to the ESSO service station.

On the right is another view of the airport and there were vehicles parked in the ditch and everywhere that would sustain the weigh as the area is still pretty wet.

The event was well advertised and buyers were there from all over including out of province shoppers from Alberta, Ontario and some from the US as far as Nebraska. This particular sale had a fair amount of
modern tractors and some good quality modern implements But it also had a lot of very old machinery that would provide the new owner with more head aches then it would service. Smaller cultivators, seeders and disc machinery was generally older, smaller and all but worn out.

But despite this shortcoming which yard sale and auction sale buyers are familiar there were also a large amount of serviceable goods of all kinds, tires and wheels, odds and ends from farm shops and commercial shops, hand tools of every kind and a real array of garden and yard equipment.

Other large auctions have seen a large number of cars and trucks but this one made up mostly of farm dispersal equipment had a good number of grain trucks and only four cars, a motor home and a few camper trailers. There was a good selection of off road vehicles and a couple of boats.

The single most remarkable thing about this sale were the large number of buyers. The amount of equipment offered
took up the entire area used
so that parking was distributed from the shopping mall parking lot to the airport and everywhere in between Tisdale School Division's bus barns lot is seen in this picture on the right and below right is the Tisdale Mall parking lot which was jammed.

With a sale this large and no parking on the property itself
only a couple of people were
working as security and the lady below not only handled traffic into the site but also checked off products sold as customers came out with their purchases.

There were at least three charity raffles on the site, the Wildlife Federation, this one on the right from Porcupine Plain and one for the Senior Citizens Centre project.

The food concession was a busy place through out the day with this size of crowd $1.50 hot dogs, $3.00 cheeseburgers were in demand.

The sale had three points of sales, small items, below left and the top picture on this page and two sound trucks working their way through the machinery.
Bruce Schpansky (below) was in full voice as he worked the patter of auction sales. Schpansky Auctions is a family business with Bruce, his wife, son and daughter all involved in preparing and running sales. About twenty people were on hand Tuesday to help out with the complexities of a sale of this size.
The customers were, as mentioned from near and far, most looked like farm folk as the discussions often seemed as heated as the business of the sale.
Each of the three sales trucks have a crew of a clerk, and at least two bid watchers. The picture below, a composite image, shows one man with the sign indicating the item for bid and two watchers who kept their eyes on the crowd and kept track of the bidding progress. Holding the camera above my head on my extended arm was a dangerous thing to do as I was worried that I might end up with an auger or something.
The bus going to and from the mall parking lot ran steady as purchases were made and people left the sale with what they had come for while others waited for items they had their eye on waited for the sales truck to get to that product.

Ensign has provide you with pictures of all of the sales but this time (below left) the Tisdale Recorder had their reporter on hand to get some pictures of this major event and talk with some of the buyers. So, next week on Wednesday you should be able to read about this sale in the Recorder.

As the day drew to a close the yard was busy as purchases were loaded up and the slow process of getting things back home begun. This actually takes up to two weeks to get some of the heavy equipment on its way. These two trucks from Nipawin were standing by to load.

A sale of this kind has some troubling issues as the six or so farms that once were operating last year have been gobbled up in the economic confluence of commodity agriculture. Transportation deregulation, the end of the Crow, inland terminals, disastrously low prices, rapidly escalating operating costs all have combined to make farming a business only for large highly capitalised operations. This big sale and others like it this year are a sign of the times the rapid depopulation of the rural portion of the province can be seen as farms sell out and the folks move away.

At the same time with these same economic conditions in affect those still in the business have to take advantage of purchasing additional equipment and finding that equipment at low prices to continue operating.

It was in the mid fifties when in South Eastern Saskatchewan the viability of the popular family quarter section farm came to an end. I can remember going to sale after sale as families sold their possessions and said their goodbyes. The most poignant of these was the Long family sale in the Fairmead District South of Wapella. The family had been poor for some years as the farm was just to small to support the family and so there was not a lot to sell. But everything went and as the day ended it was time to sell off the livestock. I can remember vividly looking around and seeing everyone with tears streaming down their cheeks as the teenage boy of the family road his horse around for the buyers, did some tricks including riding while doing a head stand on the saddle. That was a tough one, but so were they all.

Yesterday, the families who have had to leave their farms were not getting the send off that the Long family did, but a way of life for many families ended yesterday.

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