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Marts play a vital economic role
THE north of England has the highest number of operational livestock markets in England, but it has also seen a large number of market closures as the industry has rationalised over the past 15-20 years.
In 2010, there were 21 markets in the north-east, with 10 located in North Yorkshire.
I am a firm believer in the role of livestock marts. They play a unique role in the rural economy.
Marts have a vital economic role as a hub for the rural economy, setting the price of animals and providing the best possible place for buying and selling in an open and transparent way. Auctioneers work hard to drum up interest, allowing producers to realise the best price for their stock.
In a world of gradually decreasing subsidies and quantitive easing, livestock marts are a place that supports farm incomes. It enables the buyer to view the animal in the flesh before purchase. Not only that, but marts provide a social hub and bring the farming community together to discuss current events and open a forum for support, advice and sharing knowledge.
Auction marts are not just for farmers, the whole of market towns can benefit from the services a mart provides, such as a café and meeting and conference rooms.
Therefore I am very keen to see a vibrant future for the livestock mart in Malton .
Its present location is untenable, but time is pressing to find an alternative location within the Malton area.
Thirsk Rural Business Centre could provide the model for an alternative mart with livestock at its heart, but with other interest groups around it.
However, as the current mart is only a tenant, then funding for the new mart has to be found.
There is a great appetite for such a Rural Business Centre in the Malton area.
Malton is a buzzing market town with the livestock mart currently at its centre.
Even at the 11th hour, I urge all the interested parties, including estate agents who service the mart, hauliers, the planning authority, local farmers whose livelihoods depend on a thriving auction mart at a new location and others to come together and reach a timely decision on the new location for all those living in Malton and the surrounding areas.