The approaching State Sale on March 8 at the Fayette County Fairgrounds, West Union, will be the 70th sale sponsored by the Iowa Brown Swiss Association. The first sale was held October 1, 1945, at the state fairgrounds, Des Moines. The sale was well attended and averaged $378.90 on 61 head. An Excellent 8 year old cow from Peter Huendling, Breda, topped the sale at $1400. She went to Dr. Anderson's Melody Grove herd in Nebraska. Forty seven of the consignments were purchased by Iowans, indicating a strong demand for Swiss in Iowa. The remaining 14 head went to Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin.
A sale committee organized the sale, guided by V.B. Vye, Brown Swiss Sales Service, Waukesha, Wisconsin, well-known sale manager. After Vye's untimely death in 1947, Norman E. Magnussen obtained Brown Swiss Sales Service and continued to assist with the sales until his passing in 1976. His son, Norman C. Magnussen, began operating the sales business and this year marks his 38th year assisting with the Iowa sale.
The sale was held at Hawkeye Downs, Cedar Rapids in 1946 and 1947. In1948, it moved to what was then the National Dairy Cattle Congress grounds, Waterloo. The sale was moved to the Fayette County Fairgrounds, West Union in 1979. In 1949, the first pre sale banquet was held at a Waterloo hotel the night before.
Sale day starts with a breakfast, compliments of the Iowa Brown Swiss Association, cooked and served by members of the association. Junior members are busy as they manage and staff the lunch stand and present the cattle in the sale ring.
One Iowa Brown Swiss herd sold cattle in the first sale and continues to consign. John Fick, Boyden, consigned to the first sale. His son, Alfred, supported the sale with consignments and the tradition continues with consignments from Fick's Swiss, now operated by John's grandson, Galen, and his wife, Sandy.
In those seventy sales, good money making Brown Swiss have gone through the ring. The sale managers, consignors, and barn crews have established Iowa's reputation of offering quality Swiss. Cattle have been purchased by breeders in numerous states, including Alaska. When the export market was strong, the Iowa sale saw many animals head to Latin America.
This year's sale features 17 cows, 22 heifers, and 19 calves, including heifers suitable for 4-H or FFA projects. For a catalog contact: Lee Barber, 3348 235th Street, DeWitt, IA 52742; phone 563-659-5356 or 563-271-3781; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Catalogs will be available online after February 25 at: www.brownswissusa.com.