Next breed of livestock auctioneers recognised during graduation ceremony at Harper Adams University

23rd February 2018

Future of the livestock auctioneering receive qualifications after industry celebrates its 200th anniversary year

The next generation of livestock auctioneers took centre stage during a graduation ceremony at Harper Adams University, and in doing so were awarded their Fellowship of the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA).

John Wynne Davies, Ian Atkinson, Richard Barrow and William Alexander were all recognised for completing Certificates of Higher Education in Professional Studies for Livestock Market Operations and Management, after spending four years working towards the qualification while in full-time employment.

Mr Davies, 30, who lives on the family farm with his wife and daughter in Cilcain, North East Wales, celebrated double success as he topped the class again and secured the award for the highest scoring final year student.

Wynne, who has been with Mold and Llanrwst based J Bradburne Price & Co for eight years, matched last year’s achievement, and in doing so picked up the LAA Golden Gavel, awarded to the top graduating student.

Commenting on the award success, Wynne said, “The course provides an excellent opportunity to understand the wider management of livestock markets, and really considers where markets fit within the ever-complex food supply chain.

“It made me consider the challenges of the future and how markets can try and adapt to deal with considerable changes likely to happen in the industry.”

Echoing Wynne’s comments, Ian Atkinson of North West Auctions said, “It’s a very interesting course, it gives a really thorough insight into both the managerial and animal welfare side of the auctioneering industry.”

Like Wynne and Ian, fellow graduate Richard Barrow, auctioneer with Voyce Pullin in Cirencester, comes from a farming background. Richard is a local farmer and livestock haulier’s son, and the course and his aptitude has enabled him to gain a tremendous amount of practical knowledge of the livestock auctioneering industry.

An exception to the rule, Will Alexander of R. Turner & Sons, operating out of Bentham Auction Mart, is not from a farming background, but has always sought a career in the industry. Following the successful completion of a four-year BSc degree in agriculture at Harper Adams, he progressed from fieldsman to auctioneer before taking the market operations and management course.

“Harper Adams and the LAA have developed a strong course covering all aspects of livestock auctioneering,” said Will.

“The course has not only taught me specifics within the industry, but has also introduced me to other young auctioneers from throughout the UK, from which valuable friendships and working relationships have been formed.”

Wynne Davies agreed with these sentiments, stating, “The course provides an excellent platform to network and build friendships with like-minded individuals within the profession, from across the country. This enables us to contact and help each other when faced with different challenges and opportunities.”

Concluding, Will Alexander said, “The LAA is great at supporting new auctioneers and I would thoroughly recommend the course to anyone starting in the industry.”

Daniel Slade of Thame Farmers Market was also recognised on the day, as he was awarded the Dick Harrison Trust plaque for the top first year student.

During the event, Mark Simcock, principal lecturer at Harper Adams told the graduating students, “You’re the future of the livestock auctioneering industry, an industry that celebrated its 200th anniversary last year. An industry that in 2016 saw 152 livestock auction markets operating across the United Kingdom, with a combined turnover of £2.2 billion and selling more than 12 million sheep, 1.6 million head of cattle and 150,000 pigs.

“Livestock markets provide a vital service to all the farmers and producers across the United Kingdom. The connections and discussions you have with the farming community on a daily basis is unrivalled in any other industry.”

John Brereton, chairman of the LAA said, “On behalf of the LAA, I’d like to thank Harper Adams for this course. We think it’s an excellent course. The feedback we’ve always had from the students has been exceptional.

“Advice given to me when I first started many years ago was that you only work for the person that pays you, and that means the farmer. I was told that it was always important, and even vital, to have an understanding of the people to whom you are selling, but that you should remember that they are, in the main, professional buyers and more than capable of looking after themselves! The farmer brings his livestock for sale and puts his trust in you as an auctioneer, and you must never betray that trust.

“Auctioneering is not just about taking bids, it’s about assisting prices and being a trade maker. This course provides the perfect platform for aspiring auctioneers to make a real difference for their farmers”.

John Wynne Davies is presented with the Golden Gavel by LAA’s Gwyn Williams
John Wynne Davies is presented with the Golden Gavel by LAA’s Gwyn Williams
Left to Right: Ian Atkinson, Will Alexander, Richard Barrow and John Wynne Davies
Left to Right: Ian Atkinson, Will Alexander, Richard Barrow and John Wynne Davies
LAA chairman John Brereton presents John Wynne Davies with his Fellowship of the Livestock Auctioneers Association
LAA chairman John Brereton presents John Wynne Davies with his Fellowship of the Livestock Auctioneers Association