‘Significant step’: Farmers urged to support ‘safe sale’ return of marts

The resumption of auction rings at the marts from tomorrow, Monday, June 8, under the new Department of Agriculture ‘safe sale’ conditions and protocols, has been welcomed by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Commenting, IFA president Tim Cullinan said that, while the protocols are detailed and restrictive in order to protect people, it’s a significant step towards getting this essential service back up and operating again.

The president strongly encouraged farmers to support their local mart.

Marts provide an essential service to farmers and the agricultural community in terms of the livestock trade. They provide open and transparent market price competition and security of payment.

“While online trading has been a great help and is certainly part of the future for marts, the closure and restrictions on the trade this spring have hit the livestock sector, marts and farmers. The spring is peak trading season for cattle and a lot of this trade has been lost,” Cullinan warned.

The IFA said it commends the efforts of the marts and their representative bodies to re-open the services as soon as possible.

“It is essential we have a strong mart service for the summer and autumn periods,” Cullinan added.

Discussions have taken place with the Department of Agriculture and detailed protocols and procedures have been worked out, which hopefully will facilitate a smooth return towards a more normal service from next week.

IFA National Livestock Committee chairman Brendan Golden said the marts, as an essential service provider, have a very strong case to make to Government for assistance due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

He said: “The IFA strongly supports the case for :an amnesty on rates; Government assistance with insurance costs; grant aid for investment in IT; and online technology trading developments in the marts.”