Livestock sales are to resume at a Welsh auction mart that had been under threat of closure.
Sunderlands has purchased Brightwells’ minority shareholding and taken full control of Hereford Market Auctioneers (HMA), which is one of the largest and busiest livestock marts in the country.
Meanwhile, Sunderlands has also taken over the running and management of Builth livestock market to add to running Talgarth market.
The company said in a statement: “The current situation has underlined how important it is to have a thriving, home-grown food industry and, with this in mind, Sunderlands took the view to invest further in HMA and take on Builth Wells market to add to Talgarth market, which also takes place every Friday.
“Powys has the highest density of sheep in the world and, therefore, further investment in this crucial part of the food chain would seem obvious to expand our part of the promotion of British agriculture.”
Brightwells said the sale of the livestock enterprise would allow them to “focus and redeploy resources in our already established markets, such as rural professional services, and develop new ones”.
It added: “We believe that selling our share in the HMA business to Sunderlands, and with Builth Market joining HMA, that this transaction can only benefit the industry.”
Sales to reopen
Following the purchase, Builth Market Auctioneers said it was “highly delighted” to announce the reopening of the livestock market on Friday (10 July) with the sale of prime lambs and cull ewes.
But the auctioneers warned that vendors must adhere to social distancing rules to ensure the site can remain open as the country starts to rebuild after the coronavirus crisis.
“We cannot stress enough the importance for our vendors to fully comply with social distancing measures and to take all necessary precautions when attending our markets,” said the auctioneers in a Facebook post.
“We would encourage vendors to wear face masks and gloves to reduce the potential risk of the transmission of this deadly virus.”
Builth Wells Market had remained closed since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced in March.