Robert Parchment has seen a lot of cattle get larger in his nearly 50 years working at the Dickson Regional Livestock Center.
Parchment, 64, is the Sale Barn Manager for the DRLC that is located at 120 Livestock Rd. off of Highway 46. It opened its pens for its first cattle sale on Aug. 22, 1972.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years,” said Parchment, who said he began working there when he was 15. “It used to be that steers would weigh 1,200 to 1,250 pounds. Nowadays a lot are weighing from 1,400 to 1,600 pounds.”
Parchment said that many sell their cattle these days because land is in demand for higher prices, so people sell the cattle and the land.
“There’s not as many buying cattle and turning them out like it used to be,” he said, adding that a new roof is in the works for the barn.
Parchment said that in 1972 the facility was operated by Bob Churchill of Dickson, James Daniel of Charlotte, Duard Sullivan of Nashville and Calvin Curkham of Portland. Churchill served as manager and Curkham served as auctioneer. Riley Livestock, Inc. took over as owners in November of 2013. Jeff Riley, Joey Riley, Randy Riley and Mary Ann Riley still operate the DRLC.
“They had 20,000-22,000 cattle a year and last year it was up to 57,000, drawing cattle from a 150-mile radius,” said Parchment, whose wife, Lisa, is secretary for the DRLC.
Parchment said that roughly 200 cattle an hour are sold at the DLRC every Monday starting at 10 a.m. There are 150 pens that are often filled to capacity on Mondays, he said.
“It’s mostly supply and demand these days,” he said. “When it does good, you’d be surprised just how much you benefit. I’ve been doing this ever since I was I was 15 living in Cumberland City. The first year the barn paid for itself. There are bigger sales that last now. We’ve also been pulling cattle from west Tennessee where Memphis and Trenton shut down. The goal for the farmer is to make money.