I hope you are all healthy and doing well.
The Board of Directors have been working diligently with our State Representatives, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor, advocating auctions to be listed as essential. We have sent membership information, along with a plan for members to advocate to your State Representatives. We have also included an auction procedures manual to assist you with COVID-19 safety instructions, for the benefit of you, your staff, your clients, and buyers during this pandemic. I believe the Montana Auctioneers Association's Day at The Capital, and our presence in Helena during that time, will help you to receive a positive response, from your State Representatives, and get auctions listed as essential at the Capital.
We have been conducting online only auctions in the middle of this pandemic, and I will say the market has been strong, with a record number of buyers from several states. The only changes we made, were restrictions at inspections and pickup, with limiting the number of people at the site at one time. We have actually made changes for COVID-19 that we should have made years ago.
If there is anything the Board of Directors can do to help you out, please reach out to us.
Like the Marines, we have to adapt and overcome.
J.K. Kinsey, Montana Auctioneer Association President
Article by MAA Director Gideon Yutzy
I hope that this finds everyone doing very well! It is amazing how quickly our world outlook changed! Here in our area of the state we had a busy spring auction schedule and just like that everyone of them had to be cancelled.
This was certainly a let down to a lot of folks, first and foremost the sellers who were anticipating marketing their merchandise in a historic, efficient, and fun way, the auction way had to decide on waiting or finding another way to market their products.
It certainly did show us that we had to consider getting set up to be able to do internet auctions if this trend is to continue. It is and has been a great idea to have live auctions with internet bidding available as well, this has been a great idea for a long time but for some of us old fashioned folks it was just easier to continue doing business as usual and when this pandemic hit us we weren't prepared because we did not offer internet bidding. Hopefully this is a one-time occurrence but who knows, it should certainly spur us on in being diversified in our methods and being prepared to sell no matter what happens.
We are slowly starting to see some live auctions being scheduled now and I hope that this trend continues throughout the summer. Your board feels that all auctions should be deemed essential business and are busy doing what we can to see to it that the state officials agree with us and in the event of possible future similar events that auctions will be deemed essential and we will be able to continue to hold auctions without interruption!
Northwest Montana is busy, aside from auctions, the economy in general and real estate sales are strong and we anticipate a strong 2020. Some sectors of our economy are certainly slower with the Canadian Border being closed until sometime in June as it stands now, we live next to Lake Koocanusa and have hundreds of Canadian landowners down here and with them being unable to come down it seems pretty quiet.
Even with our current struggle that our country faces we are very blessed, we get to live in the greatest country in the world and have a President that understands economics and we will make it through this and be stronger than ever!
If there is anything that I can do as one of your board members please don't hesitate to email or call me anytime!
In the meantime, have a safe and blessed 2020 and I hope to see you all in Lewistown, MT in January for the annual MAA Convention!!
Broker/Owner, High Mountain Realty
Article by MAA Past President Kevin Hill
Dealing with the issues of this COVID-19 pandemic as the media has dubbed it, has been trying for most. The advocacy committee along with Mr. Kinsey implemented a plan to try and get auctions in Montana deemed as essential, which through dealing with government can be a slower process then we would like. All members were sent an email asking you to contact your local representatives with the information that was provided for you in that email. To my dismay it appears that most of the members did not take this opportunity to make the connection with their representative to further the changes of making this happen in a more timely manner. Folks this has been a hardship on most of our sellers as well as our businesses and I feel it was a golden opportunity to connect with them to get the MAA recognized as well as our own business.
As a member of the board and having heard what you the members would like the MAA to become in the future, you as members must also help yourselves. The board cannot do this solely on their own when it comes to moving forward, so I ask you to please help out your association whenever possible. There is power in numbers!
Your association has made a great choice with JK as President, he has been very proactive on both the local and the national levels for auctioneers overall.
As restrictions are relaxed and we are able to proceed, I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
Article by MAA Board Member Wade Affleck
I hope this finds all of you enjoying your spring. Here in Billings the spring weather seems to be cooperating nicely. Spring to me is the start of our auction year. Seems like once the nice weather hits, auctions start ramping up and the calendar gets busy.
Starting into this year with all the virus talk and country shutting down in many ways, we couldn't help but wonder how it was going to effect our auction industry. Thankfully as auctioneers we are all are taught to be fast, fast at seeing upcoming problems and fast at adjusting on the fly. So a great job to all! We were very happy to be able to continue our "online auctions" as a method of continuing to help people sell their asserts. That being said, we still got our fair share of questions on how we thought auctions would be effected. Thankfully with tracking the data we were able to show our consigners that in fact we were experiencing an uptick in traffic. Seems like when people are stuck at home they have more time to get online and bid!
I wonder if this virus hasn't changed the way business is conducted. More people were forced to shop "online" and I am sure for some, it has opened their eyes to a whole new way of buying. For some I am sure they will be happy to get back in their car and drive to the store but I can guarantee that there will be those that really liked their packages showing up on their doorstep with a simple click of a button...I know I did! It will be very interesting at our next convention in Lewistown to hear about everyone's different experiences. I am sure there will be some great stories to be heard.
Thinking back on our convention last year, I would again like to thank all of those involved in making the convention another great success. This was the first year that I have had any part in the beginning stages of setup and wow, it sure does take some work. Thankful to Jim Cooper for really being the driving force to make it happen. I also would like to thank all the members for again showing their trust in me for another three years. I feel honored to again serve. I hope that I can help in continuing this great association on the forward path. Please feel free to contact me at anytime with questions or concerns.
With that, good luck to all and I look forward to seeing you at the next convention in Lewistown!
January 29 & 30, 2021