By DOUG GRAVES
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It is said that a good auctioneer can almost hypnotize bidders into spending money. The seemingly random words used by the auctioneer are well rehearsed and designed to lull bidders into opening their pocketbooks and splurging on the products presented before them.
But auctioneers do more than initiate bids and chant at breakneck speeds. They also market the auctions through advertising and public relations, appraise the items being sold and finalize the sales. For their efforts, they earn average incomes of roughly $50,000.
Now, the FFA and the National Auctioneers Association have worked together to create the Auction Industry Supervised Agricultural Experience, or SAE.
An SAE program is a planned, practical activity that helps a student develop skills, competencies and experience in a career area of the student’s choice. The program is designed to implement specific agricultural and academic backgrounds.
This new SAE involving auctioneering will give FFA students the opportunity to explore what a career in the auction industry could look like. They can experience what it takes to be an auctioneer and learn from those already working in the field, allowing them to gain skills that will prepare them for a career in this industry.
Indianapolis resident, 4H and FFA member Tyce Freije is a prime example of an individual taking that route to auctioneering success. Freije, a senior at Roncalli High School, won the title of 2019 International Junior Auctioneer Champion at the 70th Annual International Auctioneers Conference in New Orleans. With that win, Freije took home the big trophy, a cash prize and became the spokesperson for the young auctioneers of the National Auctioneer Association for the next 12 month.
“I’m a fourth-generation auctioneer,” Freije said. “My grandpa and my dad both have an auctioneering business right by my house. We host an auction at least once a month. We sell everything from cars to tractors, lawn mowers, antiques, toys and guns. I really enjoy it and will be pursuing it in my future.”
A few weeks later after accomplishing this feat, Tyce won the very competitive Hendricks County 4H Fair’s Grand Champion Barrow and competed in the Indiana State Fair.
Shelby Shuman, 16, of the Eaton FFA Chapter in Eaton, Colo., utilized the recently adapted auction SAE and had laid the groundwork for a potential future in this business.
Using the FFA Auction Industry Guide, Shelby now conducts local fundraising auctions and competes in auctioneering events. To date she has conducted auctions for the Colorado State University women’s volleyball team and Western Colorado University athletic program. She’s also served as an auctioneer during events at her high school.
“I graduated from auction school in Iowa last year and it really motivated me to focus on getting better and finding ways to apply what I’ve been learning,” Shuman said. “I’ve enjoyed pursing auctioneering as my SAE because it’s so different from what many other students do, and it give me an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Plus, it’s given me the tools I need to create my own business.”
Shuman won the Colorado Junior Auctioneer Championship in 2017 and the Colorado Troil Welton Award for new auction school graduates in 2019. She is now inspiring some of her fellow chapter members to try their hands at the auctioneering SAE.
“It’s exciting that other students are interested in auctioneering, because it gives them the chance to try something that has multiple career avenues they can choose from,” said Heidi Lanning, Eaton FFA advisor. “They learn public speaking and communication skills, and how to market and promote events. Auctioneering is an ideal SAE for young people who do not have access to resources like land and livestock.”
“Whether it’s farmland, cattle, cars construction or fundraising, just to name a few, there are options for everyone in the auction industry.”
This particular SAE begins with the history of auctions and explores the different facets of the industry. The curriculum allows one to shadow an auctioneer and helps create a business plan for the auction industry.
According to The Princeton Review, 75 percent of auctioneers are independent contractors. They are typically paid a salary for conducting the auction and percentages from the items sold.