The Prince's Countryside Fund calls for evidence on UK Livestock Markets

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has commissioned academics at the University of Exeter to undertake a study on the social benefit, functions of, and prospects for, livestock auction marts in the UK.

Following HRH The Prince of Wales’ visit to Louth market in March 2018, the Fund has been keen to look at how the vital social role of markets can be supported. A research project jointly funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and the John Oldacre Endowment at the University of Exeter is an opportunity to showcase the potential for markets to realise the full extent of the service that they provide to the farming community and to ensure that they are in the best position possible to be able to offer the support that the industry requires during this period of transition. 

Researchers at the University of Exeter would like to hear from auctioneers, livestock owners and any other stakeholders who use auction marts as they research the unique contribution these businesses make to the UK’s rural communities.

Researchers 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 auction 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.”

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. We welcome the opportunity of working with The Prince’s Countryside Fund to assist our members in developing a broad offering of services that can further benefit those within our rural communities”.

To respond to the call for evidence please click here

Evidence should be submitted by February 28th 2020.

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