Ken Friesen began operating equipment at the age of five on his father's farm. Clearly, farming is in his blood. In 1990, at the age of 28, Ken started his own company - KFC Farms Ltd., a chicken farm and later cattle ranching and hay sales operation in British Columbia, Canada.
"We started a cow calf operation - commercial ranching - and then expanded the purebred operation and got to where we were having our own bull sale every year," says Ken. "We soon became the largest purebred Angus seed stock producer in British Columbia."
But Ken doesn't stop at cattle ranching, in fact, he says this is just a hobby. He's also involved in construction and manufacturing. He's a busy man - too busy. So in early 2011 he decided to sell two of his ranch properties, close to 500 head of cattle and more than 100 pieces of farm equipment with Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.
"I just had too much on the go. I needed to downsize part of my weekly activities," says Ken. "A friend of mine had sold their purebred operation and ranch with Ritchie Bros. a year and a half earlier and he was very happy with the experience. It was great that Ritchie Bros. could handle all aspects of my sale - from the real estate, to the equipment, to the cattle - all in one day."
The auction was conducted on May 28, 2011 on one of Ken's properties in Cache Creek, B.C.
"Before the sale, Ritchie Bros. came out and we walked around the property and decided where would be the best place to conduct the sale, lay out the equipment, have the cattle pens and such. They made arrangements to haul in the panels to make up the corrals and they sent people out to organize the set up of everything," says Ken.
No detail was overlooked in the preparation. "It was questionable whether it was going to rain on auction day so Ritchie Bros. brought in a big tent, which was a perfect call," Ken explains. "It didn't rain, but it kept the sun off. They pretty much handled everything from A to Z, which made everything easier for me. It was clear they had done this many times before - very professional."
Hundreds of people turned up to bid in person on auction day, and hundreds more participated online - from as far away as Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
"Online bidding provides you more buyers paying attention, potentially bidding on what you've got to offer," says Ken. "However, I still think you need on-site bidding because then you can really get momentum going - there is emotion in the auctioneer's voice, there is activity in the crowd. I really think you get a longer dollar having a live auction versus only online."
The large on-site and online crowds paid off and Ken was pleased with the results.
"The prices were very good. I had a little trouble wiping the grin off my face," says Ken. "The whole experience with Ritchie Bros. has been great - getting to meet all the people and the consistency in the staff. You always know what you're going to get when you are dealing with Ritchie Bros.: a professional outlet, all the way."
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