Prince CharlesPrince Charles at Louth market

HRH the Prince of Wales has praised the efforts of local farmers and rural businesses who co-operated to save Louth mart in Lincolnshire last year – the sole remaining auction mart in the county.

The prince was visiting the site as part of a tour of Lincolnshire, which also included a visit to Boston vegetable business Freshtime UK and National Trust property, Tattershall Castle.

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Louth Livestock Market, which has been at its current site since 1983, was earmarked for closure by East Lindsey District Council, which argued it was underused on a site that was ripe for development.

But farmers said the mart was used on a regular basis and its closure would mean they would have to send their livestock excessive and unsustainable distances.

Prince Charles at Louth market

Prince Charles at Louth market

This led the council to launch a consultation last summer, which culminated in the site being saved, with 84% of 4,078 locals polled wanting the council to refurbish the site at a cost of £700,000 and withdraw any plans for its sale.

Addressing a gathering of farmers, auction staff and other businesses based at Louth mart on Monday (19 March), HRH the Prince of Wales said he was “thrilled” the market had been saved and thanked the rural community for their efforts.

“The fact that my Countryside Fund was able to assist a little bit in this campaign has given me enormous pleasure,” he is reported in the Louth Leader as saying.

“Apart from anything else, it shows how important these sorts of livestock markets are in helping to maintain the rural community and the farming community and the whole life of an important part of the world like this.”

Simon Williams, a partner with Louth Market Auctioneers, described 2017 as a “tumultuous year” for the market, and thanked the prince for his help.

Lincolnshire to benefit from Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme

HRH the Prince of Wales also announced that Louth will be a new location for year three of his Farm Resilience Programme, which will help up to 20 local family livestock and dairy farms improve their business skills.

Run by the Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF), the initiative is offered in 15 locations across the country each year, to help farming families become more resilient and prepare for the future through a series of business skills workshops run by leading agricultural consultancies.

“We would emphatically encourage farming families in the area to sign up when the programme starts in the autumn,” said PCF director Claire Saunders.   

In total, the project is backed by funding of £1.5m and is intended to reach up to 1,500 farming families nationwide, to help them improve their confidence, efficiency and resilience.