Sales of Livestock Will Cease at Forfar Mart

Livestock sales are to cease at Forfar Mart, the operators, Lawrie & Symington, have announced.

In a statement issued, the directors blamed a 30% reduction in cattle throughput this year.

The statement added: “Although we have identified other potential revenue streams for Forfar, the market’s main income source must be from livestock sales commission and current throughput numbers, coupled with ever increasing operating costs, are not sustainable.

“Scottish agriculture has lost so many marts from traditional ‘market towns’ over the years and we fear that the current downward trend in national livestock numbers will only exacerbate this problem in the future.”

The directors said they recognised the history of the market at Forfar and what its closure would mean to the farming community, but they also had a responsibility to their shareholders.

Local director, Andrew Steele from Craignathro Farm, Forfar, confirmed the mart would continue to trade for a month while staff are consulted.

“It has sadly been on the cards for a long time and we’ve fought our hardest, so it is very upsetting it has come to this,” he said.

NFU Scotland Angus area chairman Amy Geddes described the news as “devastating” for local livestock producers, and said she feared the loss of the mart could be a tipping point.

“Not having access to a local mart might mean them coming out of livestock.  It’s potentially devastating to the local industry and may hamper the ambitions of many of us to see better local services for food and farming with regards to processing.”

Ms Geddes raised the possibility of resurrecting the facility through a community or co-operative enterprise.

“It’s very early days, but in terms of our duty to our members, NFU Scotland wouldn’t shy away from facilitating discussions on that and helping pull together interested parties, but we’ll need to consult on what people need and want,” she said.

One local beef farmer who wished to remain anonymous said it was a huge loss to the Angus area but added there hadn’t been a great deal of support from Lawrie & Symington’s board to keep the momentum going.

“This will implement much higher costs on to our haulage for transporting cattle to the market as we are one and a half hours away from both Thainstone and Stirling.”

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