Passion. Integrity. Work ethic. These values have defined Kevin Wendt as a farmer and nationally known livestock auctioneer since 1986. They play an integral role in how he’s raised elite cattle and swine for 4-H and National FFA Organization families, how he stewards farmers’ assets through auctions in more than 20 states as CEO of The Wendt Group, and how he distinguishes himself in his field — in 2015, he was inducted into the Ohio Auctioneer Association Hall of Fame.

The Propane Education & Research Council recently partnered with him as a social influencer to help raise funds for the national 4-H organization. Learn more here. 

What fuels your passion as an auctioneer?

The auction business is unique. You must earn trust from both the sellers that hire you and the buyers that attend to buy merchandise or support their community. My passion is fueled by helping both entities achieve their goals regardless of how big or small or the dollar value of the item sold.

Can you tell us about a memorable auction that you’ve conducted?

Choosing a specific auction is hard as I have been involved in over 7,000 auctions since my career began in high school. Toward the top of the list of favorite auctions is the first year I was asked to sell at the Ohio State Fair’s Sale of Champions. The excitement, tradition, and pageantry of the Sale of Champions is like no other event in the world.  Participating in the auction is a top-of-the-mountain experience for any state fair exhibitor. Being able to auction their projects for record prices, following in the footsteps of my role model auctioneer Merlin D. Woodruff, is a memory I will cherish forever.

How does your work as an auctioneer support the success of America’s farms?

I am fortunate in that I have the opportunity to do livestock, real estate, and farm machinery auctions during the year, traveling to over 20 states. Being highly involved in the process and having a bird’s eye view into each farm and transaction allows me to ultimately help those family farms or corporations succeed from year to year. It also aids the consignor to make decisions that impact American agriculture and rural communities from coast to coast.

What does it take to be a successful auctioneer in today’s agriculture industry?

Several key factors make up a successful auctioneer. Honesty, integrity, passion, loyalty, and work ethic are the most important influences. Auctioneers must also be willing to adapt and change over the decades with new technology.

What aspects about farming and owning your own farm do you enjoy the most?

Owning our own farm has allowed my wife Megan and I a great place to raise our family and teach them valuable skills and responsibilities that could not be duplicated in any other form.  The blood, sweat, and tears of raising livestock and being on a family farm provide great joy for my family and the relationships and friends we have made during this experience will last a lifetime.

How does using propane help you meet your goals on the farm?

Propane has been a staple in our farming operation as long as I can remember. All the way back to drying grain with my father on the farm and keeping the farrowing house warm in the winter. Propane is the most efficient, cost effective, clean burning fuel available that meets our needs and provides safety in our operation. Propane is one of the inputs on our farm that we spend very little time worrying about due to its consistency and our local provider, Union Propane, having the highest standards of service.

Why is it important to you to have a reliable, safe fuel to heat your livestock barns?

Peace of mind.  In our livestock operation we have some very valuable cattle and swine genetics that have taken years of selection and animal husbandry to get to where we are. We are able to offer elite animals for our family to show and sell to other families in 4-H and FFA.  Propane offers great peace of mind that our multiple heaters will be working, and buildings will be warm for our livestock at all times of the winter.

Why is it important to you to use a clean, environmentally-friendly fuel on your farm?

As a farmer you have a bunch of activities going on during each season that can affect your bottom line. Over the years as smaller housing lots and homes have been sold off in the country, farmers have had to be more responsible for the environment around the homes that border their farmland. In our case, using propane as an environmentally-friendly fuel fits the guidelines we have established to be great stewards of the land and livestock, allowing us to deliver a clean, safe, and high-end product to the consumer. Propane allows us to achieve those goals with very little worry, due to the efficiency and clean burn of propane.

Describe your relationship with your propane provider and why you chose them as a partner for your energy needs?

Union Propane provides excellent customer service and reliable delivery times throughout the year, and during times of high usage. The staff of Union Propane is courteous and responsive to our needs. We chose to work with them because they are a family-owned and operated company made up of farmers in our community that understand my individual needs and exceed them with excellent service and competitive prices. Union Propane is also a huge supporter of our local community by supporting Junior Fair Premium Sales, 4-H, FFA, high school sports, and benefit auctions.

What do you want to share with young farmers about how to find your passion in the ag industry and succeed at it?

To find your passion in the agriculture industry is simple.  Define what success looks like for you. Look deep into your heart and find your passion of what drives you and work towards those goals. Will everything be easy and simple? Absolutely not. However, if you let that passion drive you, work harder than your competition, always make decisions based with integrity and with the direction of God, you will achieve your goals and make an impact in your community.

Learn more about how propane helps feed the world in a more sustainable way.