The Most Powerful Men of Hojancha’s Livestock Auction

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Just two months after the Hojancha Livestock Auction initiated, the most powerful ranchers involved in the activity have already consolidated, with their investments of thousands of dollars making them the great cattle breeding chiefs of the district.

According to data from the administrative department of the auction, Hugo Rivera of Alajuela ranks first among the investors of the auction. Rivera has bought 88 head of cattle for an approximate amount of ¢37,500,000 (about $70,000).

For this Alajuela native, now in his 60s, his passion has always been livestock, so he travels to several auctions around the country looking for a variety of cattle; however, the activity in Hojancha has motivated him to contribute to the livestock of that canton.

“I have many friends and acquaintances from Hojancha and I know about the efforts they are making to build up the livestock activity and due to this, I want to help them. It seems to me that this project will provide support to local producers. I participate quite a bit with the idea of promoting the chamber and the auction since it is a benefit to the town,” Rivera commented.

Rivera has a cattle ranch in La Irma of Abangares, where he develops raising animals to sell when they acquire the ideal weight.

“I buy all kinds of animals, calves, bulls and cows, to keep them on the farm, give them the care needed and sell them later,” Rivera commented.

In second place is Raul Barrantes, a resident of Santa Cruz, who has invested about ¢17 million (about $32,000) so far in the 49 animals that he has bought. Barrantes owns a farm in Santa Cruz and is dedicated to raising and developing livestock. He travels to different fairs to look for good specimens.

“I have always been connected to the livestock industry. I like to attend this auction because good cattle come in and I almost always take between 10 and 12 head, between bulls, steers and cows. These cattle are well cared for,” explained Barrantes.

Then there are other investors like Orlando Venegas and Juan Murillo, who already exceed ¢11 million in investments with the purchase of 30 specimens each.

“I am a broker. I buy for some butchers in Alajuela. Here I find raw material to choose from, although I realize that the livestock industry has been declining and businesses are not like before. For example, if before five animals were killed for the week, now only one or two are at most, perhaps because of the economic crisis,” Murillo said.

The cattle industry in Hojancha has replaced other activities such as agriculture, coffee cultivation and the production of citrus plants and lumber such as teak and melina.

Currently 80% of people in Hojancha are linked directly or indirectly to the cattle industry. About 150 producers are affiliated with the Hojancha Chamber of Cattlemen and more than 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) of land are used as pasture.

The auction opened on September 24, 2014, as a marketing alternative and a way to boost the livestock industry in the Canton of Hojancha. Auctions take place on Wednesdays every other week, from 9 a.m. on, and on average the auction offers 200 cattle per session.