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Reaching out to the next generation of livestock auctioneers

Posted on: 20th June, 2023

A call to inspire, enthuse and support young people interested in following a career in livestock auctioneering was one of the key messages coming out of this year’s AGM of the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) Next Generation Group, in Darlington, on Tuesday, 13 June.

In a new format event involving open forum debates, some 20 Next Generation Group members, representing young auctioneers under the age of 40 from across England and Wales, convened at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart to address key topics concerning the future of the industry.

“A common theme coming out of individual debates was the lack of careers guidance in schools for young people in education, who may be interested in a career in auctioneering, or the associated roles our industry supports,” says Zanna Dennis, LAA development officer.

“Through our open forums, and by sharing personal experiences, we discussed initiatives individual markets have instigated to help bridge that gap, targeting primary education right up to school-leavers and college students,” she continues.

“There are so many opportunities in this exciting industry. We want to encourage the next generation of auctioneers, market managers, drovers and administrators.” adds Ms Dennis.

Having introduced the highly successful Livestock Market: Operations and Management course at Harper Adams University, in conjunction with the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers Scotland, the LAA continues to work with its members to develop further guidance and opportunities for young people.


In the formal proceedings of the AGM, LAA Next Generation Group chair Greg Christopher of Hereford Livestock Market and vice chair Will Alexander of Bentham Auction Mart were re-elected for a second term in their respective roles, continuing to help drive future initiatives and feed into the national LAA council.

Farm Visit

Prior to the AGM, the delegates visited the impressive beef finishing operation at Bracken House in Melsonby, farmed by the Richardson’s since 1916. The farm finishes between six and seven hundred head per year, split between bulls and steers, with finished bulls sold at Darlington Market.

Only the second farm in the UK to build a roundhouse in 2004, Bracken House added a further round building in 2019, holding a total of 390-head, with integrated handling systems. The hosts gave an in-depth presentation and tour of the efficiencies of the system, to great interest from the delegation.

Productive meeting

As the newly re-elected chair of the LAA Next Generation Group, Mr Christopher was delighted with the day’s proceedings.

“It was another well attended event, and our new open forum format, splitting into three groups to discuss topics and feedback into the main group, encouraged great interaction and generated important points. In turn we will put these views across to the LAA national council,” he says.

“The farm tour was excellent and informative, from our very hospitable hosts. The roundhouse livestock buildings were met with great interest. I would also like to thank Scott Ferrie and his team at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart for hosting the more formal proceeding of the AGM.”

Commenting on the next steps, LAA executive secretary Chris Dodds adds, “It is essential that we have direct line of communication throughout our membership.

“The feedback from the LAA Next Generation Group AGM strengthens our resolve to inspire and hopefully welcome young individuals interested in pursuing a career in our industry, by helping to provide the additional guidance and support they need.”