by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
“This started out with very humble beginnings 30 years ago,” commented Broome County Farm Bureau President David Johnson. “Now it’s a major fund raiser for us!”
The Broome County Farm Bureau’s 30th annual Absolute Consignment Auction has expanded to include an enormous amount of items, with “something for everyone,” featuring everything from antiques to brand new farm equipment. Amish furniture, nursery stock and livestock of all sorts were only a few of the hundreds of items available.
The 2017 auction consisted of over 3,600 lots and more than 2,200 bidders.
Johnson explained that the auction, founded by Rance Livingston, Mel Manasse and Charlie Franklin, started out as a way to raise funds allowing the Broome County Farm Bureau office to remain open.
“For a number of years it was not a big money maker, but paid office space,” said Johnson. “But, more and more people joined a long the way and it got bigger and bigger!”
Now the 2-day event runs three and four auctions simultaneously.
Judi Whittaker reports that food sales from the auction support seven scholarships; six general scholarships of $750 each and one scholarship, dedicated to and named in honor of Rance Livingston, for $1,000. This is only awarded to a student majoring in the agricultural field.
“Farm Bureau gets 10 percent of the commission,” explained Whittaker.
Volunteers are the glue behind the major event, which is known as “the largest Absolute Consignment Auction on the East Coast.”
“This is a group effort,” said Whittaker. “It’s a solid week of getting ready.”
Bobbie Jo Randall of Harpursville, NY, has been attending the event with her family for years. This year one of her interests was in the beef cattle.
“We’ve been coming here about 20 years,” Randall said. “We buy something every year. If not cattle then we buy something else. We’ve been very pleased!”
Randall was also buying plants and planters.
“We take a lot of pride in this,” said Johnson. “We appeal to a lot of different people.”