Party Planners: Val and Lori Eberspacher do sale prep, promote junior Simmental association
While most cattlemen don’t budget for a party planner, many regional Simmental breeders have utilized one.
Val and Lori Eberspacher, professional sale managers who operate Eberspacher Enterprises, out of Marshall, Minnesota, helped put on about 35 seedstock sales this past year – most of them Simmental, with a few Angus sales sprinkled in.
“We serve a special niche. I tell people we are like party planners for fancy cows,” joked Lori.
“We can take care of the behind-the-scenes work. All the breeder has to do – and it’s a big job – is show up with the cattle ready,” said Val.
Each half of this husband-and-wife team testifies to a deep passion for the livestock industry. “We both grew up showing cattle through different junior associations. We actually met at a junior show,” says Val.
Lori, is originally from Minnesota. The couple now lives just a mile and a half from her home farm and ranch. Val grew up in Nebraska, and his family maintains the family operation. Both traveled the country showing Simmental and Limousin cattle.
The two were raising cattle when first married, but quickly shifted focus. “We saw a need for marketing in the Simmental world,” said Lori.
Val served as a field representative for the breed for a time and made note of a few basic improvements he believed breeders could utilize. “At that time, we thought we really needed to use pictures more. Most people weren’t using very many pictures. We felt like there was a need for better promotion – better catalogs, better pictures.”
Now in the business for 32 years, technology has changed the scope of their profession, and the Eberspachers have adapted right along with others in the industry – today, pictures are accessible, and now we use video and other formats to help these breeders achieve their goals.”
Val said the team’s involvement in an operation can be as big or as small as the breeder wants. Some breeders rely on them to handle advertising decisions year-round, along with the promotion, catalog, venue, customer appreciation efforts for the sale.
“For example, this week we are headed to Wisconsin to look at a herd that is considering a September sale,” said Val.
While the couple doesn’t raise cattle any longer – they do graze some family cattle on their property – their daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Mark Hilbrands, who live about 50 miles away, continue showing cattle across the country, and their four-year-old granddaughter Kinslee will soon carry on the tradition.
“Our daughter had a very successful showing career. Now she and her husband put on two successful production sales each year.”
Helping ensure generations continue to carry on the family livestock tradition is one of their favorite aspects of the job. “We are allowed to help a family make their dreams come true.” In some cases, the couple is working with the third generation on the family farm or ranch.
The younger generation is fun, they say. “They love change, they love technology, they are open to new ideas,” said Lori. But the older generation is a key to the success in any operation, they are quick to point out. “They are an important part of the wheel, especially in these challenging ag times when it’s very difficult financially for young producers to get started.”
The Eberspachers are looking forward to the North Central Regional Classic Junior Simmental show in Fargo, North Dakota, June 11-15, 2019, hosted by the North Dakota Simmental Association. Eberspacher Enterprises has sponsored livestreaming of junior shows for several years, and this year will sponsor the Fargo show as well as the national show in Louisville, Kentucky, July 22-27. They believe it’s important for the grandparents, neighbors, friends and others “back home” to have the chance to watch their favorite Simmental junior perform in the show ring.
“We think this junior program is one of the best in the industry,” said Lori. The couple has watched kids, including their own daughter, grow up to gain leadership, public speaking, and organizational skills through the association. “So many people say, ‘my kids wouldn’t be where they are today if not for this junior association.’ Kids get the opportunity to network, to learn responsibility and so much more,” said Val.