FARM AND RANCH: Moore in the Hall

Joplin Regional Stockyard owner inducted into Cattle Marketing Hall of Fame

By Kyle Troutman

An area stockyard co-owner has been inducted into the Cattle Marketing Hall of Fame, recognized for his years of dedication and hard work to turn the Joplin Regional Stockyards (JRS) into the largest in the nation.

Jackie Moore, auctioneer and co-owner of JRS was inducted into the Hall on July 29, having learned about the recognition about a month prior.

“I was pretty excited about it,” he said. “It’s not something everyone gets in their lifetime, so you are lucky if you do.”

Moore said there’s not a whole lot to what made it happen, just a hardworking mindset.

“[I attribute it to] hard work and dedication to our producers and customers we buy from and sell to,” he said. “We try to do the right thing and treat people how they want to be treated. The cattle market is the market, but everyone who sells with me deserves to get that market because of their commitment to me. We will get a market for the cattle when they bring them, and I take that obligation to heart because they are putting their trust in me and what I do.”

Moore was introduced at the Hall of Fame ceremony by Corbitt Wall, a fourth-generation cattleman and host of the Feeder Flash news program.

Wall said one of his lasting memories was the first time he met Moore decades ago, remembering a firm handshake and the first words Moore said to him.

“As he shook my hand, he said, ‘Jackie Moore, I get up at 5 and go to bed at 10 — call me.’”

Wall lauded Moore as one of the hardest workers in the business, at times presiding over full 12-hour sales, hardly stopping to use the bathroom and even eating a sandwich in between calls.

Moore brought about 80 people with him to Dodge City, Kan., for the induction ceremony, including his three children, nine grandchildren and a large group of JRS employees.

“In my whole lifetime, I never want to be a hinderance to anybody,” Moore said in his acceptance speech. “I think everybody needs to be able to do all the things they need to do and become all they can become. If my kids and grandchildren are not better at what I do, I failed them in some way. The only legacy I’ve got in this world is all them.”

Moore said in a recent interview that legacy is a vast source of pride.

“It gives me a lot of pride,” he said. “It’s always been my philosophy they become better than me because I taught them all I know and they picked up stuff like being better with technology. Really, they are going to [better than me].”

Those who meet Jackie Moore for the first time quickly learn he’s not into nuance. At first introduction, he measures folks up with the intense eye of a practiced appraiser — someone who’s spent almost three-quarters of his life in the livestock auction business. 

His handshake telegraphs his confident nature. In his corner of the world, he moves like a heavyweight champ, exchanging greetings and flinging one-liners in all directions to a public that all seem to know him. He admits to having a short attention span, a trait he said serves him well in his chosen profession. He seems to operate at just one speed — flat out.

“He’s worked harder than anyone else — worked harder and went faster,” Wall said. “He’d always say, ‘I’m not in the cattle business, I’m in the people business. I don’t deal with the cattle.’”

“What think about the auction business is when man comes to unload calves, he says, ‘Here’s my livelihood.’ It’s what I do to send kids to school, buy shoes, make farm and truck payments, and I’m giving it to you to take care of it for me. It’s a pretty big obligation to put on a man’s back belly; and if you ain’t able to do that, you need to take your sign down, and the day that I can’t is the day I’ll take mine down and go home.”

Moore said he’s a product of his upbringing, born in a three-room log house in Arkansas and assisting in a small cow-calf operation his late father Claude Moore ran. He now has spent 45 years working in the operation he now co-owns with his sons and son-in-law. 

The 64-year-old Moore got his start at the Joplin yards as a 13-year-old. He never wanted to do anything else. He eventually bought a commission at the Joplin yards, which at the time was a faint competitor to the hefty livestock trade going on near Springfield. 

Driving by the old Joplin yards one day, Moore said the idea came to him to buy the operation. That’s how his inspirations usually come, he adds, by stewing on the multitude of informational bits he picks up in his non-stop contact with business associates, clients and contacts. In 1986, he partnered up with other family members to buy the old Joplin yards, which at the time marketed 90,000 head per year. The partners built the current JRS facility in Carthage in 1995, which is today the nation’s largest cow-calf auction. 

He was also a leader in innovation, becoming one of the first to broadcast his operations over the internet in 2002, embracing education and accepting help from the MU Extension.

Moore bought out the other family interests in 2017. Bailey, Skyler and Dustin Eldridge and their wives took ownership, along with Jackie. 

Today, the JRS operation is one big extended family. With sons Bailey and Skyler doing the auctioneering and order buying, and Dustin, brother-in-law, working on the financials. 

“I pretty much have always handled the customers,” Moore said. “I’m just a cowman and people person, and I’ve known most of the people we do business with all my life.

“I’m the visionary, the idea man. I dream up the programs and it’s the great partners and people I work with who figure out how to get them done. I spend zero time in the office, and don’t carry a calculator or a computer. I rely on business cards, buyers’ cards, a cell phone and my good memory.” 

About 40 full-time and 60 part-time employees, with an average time of service between 15-20 years, are employed at the Carthage facility. Former employees include the Hammens of four State Stockyards in Exeter.

It features 10 acres under roof with pipe fences that can hold approximately 3,500 head, with feed and water pens. In addition, 51 outside traps with feed, water and shade have capacity for an additional 7,500 cattle. A total of 527,000 head of cattle in 2022, mostly 300-900# calves, for $549 million in volume, sell annually though JRS from a client base of 10,000 sellers. 

“He was young, hard-working,” said Joe Day, longtime order buyer who recalled the frenetic energy Moore brought to the area with the 1986 purchase. “Jackie was out beating the bushes. He wasn’t afraid to take chances, and he ran the wheels off his truck calling on people. The commission men in the old stockyards didn’t know what hit them.” 

“I don’t know a single person involved in Missouri’s cattle industry that reaches more people in a given year than Jackie Moore,” said Mike John, past MCA and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president. “Thousands of cattle producers from Missouri and bordering states do business with him. He has had and continues to have a profound impact on the cattle industry throughout the state and the country.” 

Moore admits he sets a torrid pace. 

“My philosophy has always been to go faster than anyone else,” he said. “My deal is if they’re asleep, I’m awake and trying to get their customers.”

He said his drive comes from growing up, on small farms in Stotts City, a little town not far from Carthage.

 “I know how important these cattle and the income from them is to these folks,” he said. 

John contends that Moore is one of the most producer-oriented market managers he’s ever known. 

“He honestly believes his mission is to keep small producers in business and to help them adapt to change,” John said. “He invests and takes time to adapt and provides his customers with opportunities.”

“Our job is to work as hard as we can for our customers to make them aware of industry trends and opportunities,” Moore said. “We’re not out to tell them how to run their operation. We want our customers to make all they can but it’s up to them to participate. 

“In most cases JRS doesn’t make any more money, and I tell them that. Because of that, I think the producer regards us as a more honest source of information.” 

Moore lives by a cattle-centered mantra.

“As the population grows every day, the cow herd shrinks, but it’s the best time in your life to be in the cattle business,” he said.

Moore, who in the span of four months lost his wife, best friend and a grandson, said when it comes down to it, his legacy is his family and friends.

“All that we’ve got to leave is the people that we’ve touched, the people that we we’ve loved and the relationships we’ve had,” he said in Dodge City. “I appreciate the recognition given to me, but there’s the people (pointing to his family and employees at the ceremony) that need the recognition, because they made me who I am.

The cattle marketing hall of fame recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to competitive marketing and true price discovery. These men and women are the backbone of the cattle industry. Their efforts ensure a competitive marketplace, the foundation of the American cattle industry. Their commitment to protect price discovery ensures longevity in our industry and in our way of life. 

Publisher’s Note: The Joplin Regional Stockyards Cattlemen’s News contributed to this article.