A report to look at the needs of local farmers and determine whether a viable livestock market is needed in the region has been published. The report was commissioned by Creative Rural Communities, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Rural Regeneration initiative in partnership with NFU, FUW, local farmers and the current market operators.
There was overwhelming support for the continued need for traditional livestock auctions locally with strong support for the need to provide for mixed livestock sales and the re-introduction of cattle sales alongside sheep and specialist sales in the right location.
Whilst the number of livestock markets has declined in recent years, they still provide for 50% of livestock sales across the UK.
An extensive programme of consultation and engagement took place to inform the study findings and conclusions. Some 95 individual conversations with farmers and other stakeholders were held and a further 120 people responded to the on-line survey.
Cllr Jonathan Bird, Cabinet Member Regeneration and Planning said: “This report has given us a clear way forward and we will now work with Welsh Government and our partners in the region to identify the next steps. Any new market would need to be viable with the right mix of funding and operating model and located appropriately, minimising site constraints.”
With understandable concerns over the future uncertainty for sheep production post-Brexit, all stakeholders felt strongly that a new facility should not be a ‘like for like’ replacement and should be used for more than one day per week. Other multiple uses need to be factored into the construction and operation of a new appropriately located site. Revenue from the livestock sales could be supplemented by holding other non-livestock sales.
The report was funded by the Vale Council and the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Andrew Thomas from Glamorgan Marts said, “This is an important piece of work which provides a clear and concise conclusion—a multi-function Auction Centre, for the benefit of farmers in Mid and South Glamorgan, is the way forward”
A new market facility could also help farmers to diversify and add value to their products through provision of shared facilities such as meat cutting and access to cold storage; helping them to build direct sales to consumers.
You can read the report via www.creativeruralcommunities.co.uk