South Branch Valley Livestock Exchange
Photo: Connie Twedt
The South Branch Stock Yard may be a different species from the other pristine homes and buildings open for tour this weekend, but the building and its location has had a significant influence on the layout and destiny of Moorefield, making it the business/social center of Hardy County since its opening in 1935.
On nearly eleven acres in the middle of town, it has seen other businesses and factories come and go, but it held steadfast in its duty to assist local farmers in the sale and purchase of livestock and other items. For some, taking a seat in the stand on Wednesday night has become a ritual and a way to mark the passage of a week.
Early on sheep by the thousands, horses delivered on the train, beef cattle, hogs and other animals were unloaded in the stockyard waiting for the sale. Bud Miley was the manager for about 11 years when he passed away. Other persons associated with the business over the years include Elizabeth and John Coffman, and John’s second wife, Katie Coffman. In 2002 , the name was changed to the South Branch Valley Livestock Exchange with Gary Vance taking over the operation. Roger Pratt, who has been working at the stockyard since he was 13 years old, has seen a lot of changes over the years. He indicated that the number of animals being sold has decreased dramatically, and much of the operation has become more technical with farmers able to view the animals online before the sale at www.vacattleco.com . Bids can now come in by cell phones. There is also a Miscellaneous Sale every Wednesday beginning at 8 am and ending around Noon. This precedes the livestock auction and can include everything under the sun including fresh produce in the summer months.
The Future Farmers of America members will be offering tours and re-telling the history of the building.
Location: 341 Clay Street , Moorefield near the intersection of the railroad tracks and Jefferson. Free parking available.