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Key M Auctions pleased to still offer in-person auctions

Dellan and Donna Mohrbutter of Wauchope still love holding auctions in person, at a time when sales have shifted online.
Donna and Dellan Mohrbutter make a new book each year with all of the photos taken from their auctions and events.

WAUCHOPE - Dellan and Donna Mohrbutter have been on the same farm near Wauchope since 1969 and have no plans to leave yet.

Their parents immigrated to Canada in the 1920’s with Donna’s family residing near Antler and Dellan's just off Highway 13 near Wauchope. Dellan went to the country school in Salem and Wauchope, while Donna attended school in Antler, and when it came time to go to high school, they both attended in Redvers.

In 1963 Dellan’s dad passed away, leaving the farming duties to the family. Dellan, at the time, was in Grade 11 and he farmed with his brother Henry for the next several years.

During this time, he met Donna through mutual friends and they were married in 1969. Donna was a school teacher and continued with her career until their children were born. She remained at home raising the kids, keeping a huge garden, and maintaining the yard in perfect shape, while helping with the farm work when needed.

They purchased the land across from the home farm. It was stubble field with no buildings or trees, and work began to make this their farm site.

First a home was built in 1969, and in 1970 they built a pig barn to house sows. When the weaner pigs were old enough, they were sold.

Trees were planted in 1971, and this continued for years, filling the yard with a beautiful landscape, and creating a campsite for family when they came to visit.

Dellan’s brother Henry and his wife Susan remain on the home farm situated across the road.

Commercial Hereford cattle had always been part of the family farming operation. In the late 1960s, Dellan and Henry started using purebred Charolais bulls in their herd. They started a purebred Charolais herd in the 1970’s.

Dellan said that Donna did a great deal of work on the farm, and participated in many aspects of the sales, through the paperwork and welcoming potential buyers into their home when they came from all over to view the bulls.

In the 1980s, the interest rates skyrocketed into the high teens and low 20s, which created a great deal of problems for many farmers. Interest rates were typically around seven to 12 per cent according to Dellan.

It was in 1985 that the decision was made to sell the pigs and focus on the cattle, as they now had 50-70 head in their herd. This was considered a decent-sized herd in those days.

The farm was named Key M Polled Charolais and in later years Key M Auction Services was added.

 Dellan always enjoyed the auction scene, and in 2000 took the course to become an auctioneer.

He said it was a hard industry to get into and it took several years to get things going.

Their first consignment auction was held on the farm in April 2000, and a week prior to the sale, they received a foot of snow. This created a little chaos, but the sale went on and it turned out to be an enjoyable day.

A few years later, mad cow disease hit Canada, and this affected the beef industry, crippling a lot of farmers. Luckily the Mohrbutter’s were not one of them. They were running a grain operation as well.

With auctions being booked regularly and taking them away from the farm more often, they decided to do a herd dispersal in 2007 in Alameda. This was a difficult and emotional day for the family as it was the end of an era for the Mohrbutters that took 35 years to build.

Holding farm auctions became a way of life for the couple, and they often held consignment sales on the farm.

It can take days to set up an auction on a farm and they are one of the last to hold live auctions, since most are done online.

Dellan, who is 79 years old and Donna, 75, say the sales are lots of work, but Dellan loves getting the feel of the crowd, meeting the people and securing the highest bid.

“We love to meet people, and this cannot be done with an online auction,” said Dellan. “Some people still like a live auction as they get to see the item, have a visit and enjoy some homemade pie.”

They have met a lot of people over the years and these memories are all captured in a yearly book.

If a person sees Dellan with his camera or phone to take a photo, rest assured the photo will be found in their many books of memories, and they would not have it any other way.