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Livestock Auctioneers Confident About the Future

More than nine out of ten livestock auctioneers expect overall trade to be better or the same during 2015 compared to last year, according to a survey conducted by the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA).

Hosting sales of cattle, sheep, pigs and other livestock on a regular basis throughout the year, auctioneers are generally seen as having their finger on the pulse of farming. When asked how they expected livestock trade to be “in a year’s time”, 18% said they thought it would be better and 76% thought it would be the similar to that experienced in 2014.

Suffolk Sheep Sale

However, when asked how they feel about the farming industry in general, auctioneers were more polarised. While more than half (52%) said that “things are getting better, but there is a long way to go” another 46% said they felt “things are getting a bit worse.” Perhaps encouragingly only 2% felt that things were “getting a lot worse” with there being no prospect of them getting better.

Chris Dodds, executive secretary, the LAA, said: “I’m encouraged by the cautious confidence most auctioneers feel about the livestock trade and farming in general.

“As well as feeling good about future prospects, two-thirds of them reported that they took on more staff last year and 45% say they will continue expanding their team in 2015. So any young people out there looking for a promising career in a confident and growing sector should consider the opportunities livestock markets offer.”

On average, each mart reported employing nine full time and 24 part time staff. As well as investing in more people, auctioneers also reported significant levels of investment in personal development and training, with 94% of marts providing training of one sort or another.

Rod Cordingley of Stephenson & Son in York, and chairman of the LAA, said: “I’m particularly pleased that more than three-quarters of auctioneers surveyed provide suitably comprehensive drover training for the staff they employ to handle the livestock they sell, which is independently verified by Newton Rigg College and more than a third enrol their young auctioneers on our four-year distance learning course, which is delivered by Harper Adams University.

“The auction system is integral to the creation of a competitive marketplace, generating a fair market price that reflects local, national and world demands for livestock. Always on the side of the farmer, trying to get them the best price possible, the auctioneer is their champion. In my view it’s one of the best and most important jobs in farming and the supply chain. So I would obviously encourage anyone considering their future career to visit their local auction mart.”


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