Schnell becomes honorary Stockmen’s Association member

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association
Farm Forum

Cattleman and auctioneer Larry Schnell of Dickinson, N.D., was one of two recognized with the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association’s (NDSA) Honorary Membership Award at the organization’s recent convention in Fargo, N.D.

Following college, Schnell attended the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Mont., and returned to work at his family’s auction market, which was started by his grandfather, Ray, and his partners under the name Dickinson Livestock Sales Company 80 years ago. Now, it is known as Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange.

Today, Schnell is the managing partner of the market, which sells 100,000 to 150,000 cattle each year for more than 3,000 cattle ranchers in western North Dakota and eastern Montana.

He has continued to hone his auctioneering skills not only with practice, but also by competing against the best auctioneers in the nation. Schnell is a six-time semi-finals qualifier in the World Livestock Auctioneer Contest. He has been the president of North Dakota’s Livestock Marketing Association for more than 20 years, is a past president of the North Dakota Auctioneers Association and is currently serving on the national Livestock Marketing Association’s Executive Committee.

Over the years, Schnell has served on various boards and committees to support the cattle industry and his community, including the NDSA Board of Directors and its Resolutions Committee. Last year, he represented the organization on a nationwide CME Working Group, which worked to gain a better understanding and control over volatility in the futures market. He has testified on various pieces of livestock-related state legislation and been a many-time speaker and frequent media source on markets, trends and other current issues.

Schnell also oversaw producers’ beef checkoff investment as chairman of the North Dakota Beef Commission and, later, as the regional vice president of the Federation of State Beef Councils.

While serving in each of these roles, Schnell said he has always tried to ensure that the producer’s side of any topic is clear and taken into account. He’s been involved in many of them, ranging from lien laws to animal identification and from humane horse slaughter to futures manipulation.

One area Schnell has had a significant impact on is animal handling. He was instrumental in creating an animal handling video, “Focal Point,” which teaches auction market employees the proper way to handle cattle, including non-ambulatory ones, in a responsible manner to enhance the welfare and safety of both the livestock and their human handlers. The resulting DVD, which was his brainchild, has been sent to every livestock auction market in the United States and been dubbed into Spanish for use in Mexico and South America. He was recognized for this effort and other Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) support in February 2013, when he was awarded the national BQA Marketer Award.

“Larry understands the livestock business, and folks throughout the production chain rightfully regard him as an expert in areas ranging from livestock marketing to animal handling,” said Lisbon, N.D., rancher Jeff Bunn, who serves on the NDSA Honorary Recognition Committee. “People appreciate his common-sense, say-it-like-it-is style and see him as a thought leader.”

Schnell and his wife Judi have two grown children. Their son Jay, his wife Emma and their children, Grayson, Finn, Juliet and Myla, live in Wahpeton, N.D. Their daughter Dee, her husband Charlie Lothert and their child Shep live in Sioux City, Iowa.

Larry Schnell of Dickinson, N.D., was recognized with the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association’s Honorary Membership Award at the convention in Fargo, N.D., last month. Courtesy photo