A new study will investigate the social benefit, functions of, and prospects for, livestock marts in the UK.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund has commissioned academics at the University of Exeter to conduct the research, following HRH The Prince of Wales’ visit to Louth market in March 2018.
Researchers would like to hear from auctioneers, livestock owners and any other stakeholders who use marts as they research the unique contribution these businesses make to the UK’s rural communities.
They want to know what livestock auction marts contribute to the agricultural sector, the rural economy and communities and the countryside.
The research, carried out by the Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR) will examine how a viable, socially responsible and vibrant livestock mart sector can be encouraged and supported.
Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “We have commissioned this research following our work with the Livestock Auctioneers Association.”
“We understand that auction marts are often at the heart of their agricultural communities, however, we are aware of the difficulties that many of these businesses are facing.”
“We hope that this research will offer practical recommendations to help them prepare for the future and ensure their long-term survival.”
Social and mental health benefits
Professor Michael Winter OBE, Professor of Land Economy and Society at the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter, said: “We are anxious to hear from all those with a stake and interest in the future of livestock market in the UK, to help us identify examples of good practice as markets adapt to changing demands and circumstances.”
Chris Dodd’s of the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) says that, “Although the basic principles of the livestock auction market are to ensure that a fair trade is achievable for all livestock producers, through the competitive and transparent bidding platform that the live ring provides, markets are also a vitally important link in the chain to ensuring we continue to see sustainable agricultural and wider rural communities.”
“The social and mental health benefits provided by a vibrant auction mart business are often overlooked but should not be underestimated.”
“Many markets offer a wide range of services, especially on a market day, and it is clear that the farming community benefit from many of these.”