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Young livestock auctioneers helping to inform future direction of the industry

Posted on: 25th June, 2024

LAA Next Generation Group nurturing talent, sharing knowledge and driving progress for the livestock industry

A collaborative approach in sharing best practice and nurturing talent is helping drive positive change and informing the future work of the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA), on behalf of the wider agricultural industry.

That was the overriding message as young auctioneers across England and Wales gathered at the end of May for the LAA’s Next Generation Group AGM, this year hosted at the impressive 690ha arable and grassland farm, Brockton House in Shrewsbury.

The farm tour was hosted by the Pickstock family, who lamb some 1400 Lleyn X ewes, and finish thousands of store sheep, all sourced from livestock markets. The delegation of young auctioneers learnt more about the unit’s regenerative farming practices, and how this all supplies into their successful Pickstock Foods business.

“The team at Brockton House provided a really insightful look into the finishing process of store sheep, and this set the tone for the more formal proceedings of our AGM and Open Forum Discussion,” explains Zanna Dennis, LAA development officer.

Election of LAA Next Generation Group Chair & Vice Chair

During the AGM, Will Alexander of R. Turner & Sons, operating out of Bentham Auction Mart, was elected as the new chair of the Group, while Hywel Evans, chief executive of the co-operative society Farmers Marts (R G Jones) Ltd, assumed the role of vice chair left vacant by Will’s election.

Both former graduates of the Livestock Market Operations and Management course, run by Harper Adams University on behalf of the LAA, Will and Hywel point out that the Next Generation Group plays a vital role, providing a platform to exchange knowledge and to support professional development.

“The Group provides a great opportunity to network with peers and discuss views and concerns on industry issues,” explains Will, who replaces Greg Christopher, following his successful two-year term as chair.

“In my role, I will also take a seat and will be reporting back to the LAA national council, on behalf of not just the next generation of auctioneers, but also the next generation of livestock farmers,” he adds.

The Group’s role includes engaging with young farmers, acting as ambassadors for the industry and helping to drive the future of livestock markets forward.

“By getting together, we are able to draw on and share knowledge and experiences of the wider industry, not just locally but on a national basis. This not only helps us as a group to connect our own working practices, but is ultimately benefitting our customers and mart users,” explains Will.

Hywel agrees, saying “By promoting knowledge sharing and best practices, the Next Generation Group not only enhances our individual skills, but also contributes to the overall advancement of the industry. 

“The insights gained from discussions and site visits are invaluable, enriching our understanding and enabling us to implement positive changes within our businesses. Ultimately, this benefits our mart customers and clients, as we're better equipped to serve them effectively,” he adds.

The Next Generation Group meets several times a year across England and Wales, and is made up of young auctioneers and fieldsmen up to the age of 40. 

Chris Dodds, the LAA executive secretary concludes, “The Group’s open forums and meetings generate constructive discussion, and this is always fed back into the national LAA Council.  By bringing ideas and solutions to the table, the Next Generation Group helps inform the LAA’s future work and helps us drive the direction of the industry.”


Photo Credits: Bentham Auction Mart & Mari Lloyd Photography