Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The structure of the livestock industry in the United States has undergone change in the past three decades. Integration, scale economies, changed eating habits, production and processing innovations, decentralization and increased demand for service have all affected the market structure. During this change, however, livestock auctions have remained important outlets for marketing livestock. Since the establishment of the first auction at Yankton in 1930, livestock auctions in South Dakota have become increasingly important.1 By 1937 the number had increased to 34. In 1964 there were 58 auctions operating in the state handling an annual volume of almost three million head of livestock. In the early stages of development of the auction industry, existing conditions in transportation and production largely limited the distance from which firms could procure livestock. As a result, most firms were too small to attain any significant degree of efficiency in their operations. High costs of operation were usually passed on to the producers through the charges that were assessed by the auctions for handling and selling livestock. In recent years, however, the continual development and improvement in roads and truck transportation, along with the trend in livestock production toward fewer but larger producers, has reduced the time and cost of transporting livestock. As a result the distance from which auction firms can procure livestock has become greater. With a larger supply area, the potential size of auction firms has increased. With the increase in firm size should come greater operational efficiency and ultimately, lower marketing charges and costs. Thus, the primary purpose of this study is to examine the cost structure of the livestock auction industry in South Dakota and to determine any relationship between cost, volume and marketing changes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Livestock -- South Dakota -- Marketing
Auctions -- South Dakota




South Dakota State University