Markets help sustain rural community, new report says

A new report from the Prince’s Countryside Fund has recognized the important social and community links that livestock markets provide to rural communities.

The report of the charity “More Than A Mart” also highlights their role as dynamic centers of knowledge exchange, business and physical and mental health checks of farmers.

But if the marts aren’t successful commercially, they won’t be there to provide all of these vital benefits, warns the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

More recently, changes in agriculture have put new pressure on auction markets, with some farmers now selling their livestock directly to supermarkets or to consumers.

And infectious diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease and bovine tuberculosis, have dampened the enthusiasm of farmers to mix their animals with others in markets.

In response, more auction markets have closed and some operate much less frequently, the Fund report notes. Some have moved, moving out of town to larger “agro-industrial sites”.

And many now offer more services – not only agriculture-related services, such as accountants, food stores, and equipment vendors – but also hairdressers, food stalls, and even wedding venues. .

Faced with massive pressure, the report says auction markets have survived thanks to farmers’ continued preference to see firsthand the stock they are buying.

They can be essential to local communities, he says, bringing customers to pubs, cafes and other businesses.

Above all, they are central to the lives of many farmers, providing much needed health and social services as well as practical support.

The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS), the body responsible for livestock markets and auctioneers in Scotland, said it welcomed the report recognizing the role of markets.

But he said markets need to be “fully utilized” by the livestock chain for buying and selling livestock, for markets to continue to be an active tool in the boxes of farmers and trade regulators. fair.

“There is no better space than live markets, for buyers and sellers, to get the best and fairest price,” said Neil Wilson, IAAS Executive Director.

“As we emerge from a difficult 18 months, the IAAS will revert to our pre-Covid plans to bring together young auctioneers to examine the market of the future.

“As restrictions ease, we will soon see markets revert to being this noisy, enterprising, exciting and fun social hub, and farmers hopping into their pickups in the morning with a trailer in the back and eagerly waiting. their day. “

About Keneth T. Graves

Check Also

IIT Madras researchers identify barriers to rural communities’ access to off-farm employment

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) have identified barriers to entry of …