The Government’s blanket closure of all marts is disappointing given that the marts, that had remained open, had put significant effort and finances into staying open in a safe way while still enabling farmers to trade their animals.
Co-op marts are owned by farmers and exist for farmers. We urge any farmer wishing to buy or sell livestock to contact their local mart manager as we can still arrange for the marketing of animals, albeit as the Government has decreed, we cannot market them through the physical auction sales ring. Marts have significant contact databases of buyers and sellers and we have a long and proud history of honouring payments to farmers. We will continue to offer these services to farmers. ICOS mart managers will be considering how we can best serve our customers during this difficult time.
We are calling on the Government to now reconsider the ANC retention periods, as a matter of urgency, as if marts are now closed to a minimum of 19th April then complying with the current 7 month retention period will be a problem. This would allow farmers a longer timeframe to purchase the animals needed to comply with the stocking density requirements of the scheme, greatly assisting their economic viability. Basic payment schemes and ANCs will never be more critical for farmers to comply with in order to secure these payments and DAFM should prioritise this change immediately to alleviate this situation.