19 July 2002

Grant aid for Skipton plans

SKIPTON auction market in North Yorks has been awarded substantial grant aid to develop facilities at the site to include a new meat processing plant and rural skills centre.

Mart manager, Jeremy Eaton, says the precise amount of aid from the England Rural Development Programme is still being finalised, but he believes the project will breathe new life into the site. "Even before foot-and-mouth it was becoming unviable to maintain the site purely for selling livestock."

Producers will benefit from the changes, says Mr Eaton. "In conjunction with local farmers, we have been selling lamb under the Yorkshire Lamb brand for some time. But we have always had to process the meat off-site. This will allow us to increase the number of carcasses we handle to about 50 beef, 450 lambs and 100 pigs a week."

The company aims to make the market a one-stop-shop for all agricultural needs including a new training facility for the local further education centre, Craven College, and an indoor exhibition and events arena. &#42

Straw prices are back £10-15/acre, while yields look good.