PULLMAN, Wash. — An auction of equipment at Washington State University’s Flying T Ranch north of Centralia is scheduled at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10. Proceeds will be used to create the Max and Thelma Baxter Endowed Chair in Beef Cattle Research.
Retired industrialist Max Baxter and his wife Thelma donated their ranch and 400 head of cattle to Washington State University in 1996 to make certain that his dream of developing a “quality gourmet meat that is tender and very, very tasty” would not fade.
Since then, the ranch has provided the university with a living laboratory for beef cattle genetics research as well as an opportunity for animal science students to live and learn on a working ranch.
But doing beef genetics research across the state from the Pullman campus has not proved cost-effective for the university, according to Charles Gaskins, WSU animal geneticist. “We are selling the assets to preserve the gift. It was Max’s wish that if we couldn’t run the ranch in a cost-effective manner, that we should liquidate all the assets and create an endowed chair in beef cattle research.
“We have a cooperative arrangement with the USDA Livestock and Range Research Center in Miles City, Mont., to continue the genetics research.”
The terms of the Baxter’s $1.8 million gift to WSU permitted the university to sell the ranch and the cattle. The property was acquired by the city of Centralia in July. One-hundred-seventy head of cattle were sold this fall.
About 70 pieces of quality equipment will be sold, including a Massey-Ferguson 3650 four-wheel drive tractor, a Featherlite aluminum stock trailer, a Massey Ferguson 312 manure spreader and a John Deere 6400 4X4 tractor.
Baxter, a native of Cove, Ore., worked as a salesman in the restaurant supply industry and later owned restaurant supply businesses in Boise, Idaho, and Portland, Ore. He founded Baxter Manufacturing as a sideline in 1958 to build steel tables for supermarket bakeries. Today the company manufactures and sells a full line of commercial ovens and other equipment for the bakery and food service industry.
Max and Thelma, who was secretary-treasurer of Baxter Manufacturing for many years, were named Washington’s Small Business Persons of the Year in 1986 by the Small Business Administration. In 1993 the firm received the Puyallup Area Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Award. He sold the company in 1995. The Baxters lived at the ranch after giving it to WSU. He died in 1998.
The auction will be conducted by Booker Auctions of Colfax and Connell. Call Booker Auctions at (509) 397-6102 for further details.
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