Fears grow over future of Carmarthen livestock market

Concerns are growing for the future of Carmarthen livestock market, with farmers reporting they have not been paid for stock sold there up to eight weeks ago.

Bob Jones, Prytherch and Co Marts Ltd (BJP Marts) operates the out-of-town market on a site rented from Carmarthenshire County Council.

A market has not been run at Carmarthen for many weeks and some farmers who contacted Farmers Weekly said they are owed money for animals traded there in July.

See also: Farmers still in the dark over future of Cowbridge market

Peter Weeks, a beef and sheep producer in Boncath, Pembrokeshire, said he was owed £4,289 after two cheques for the sale of store cattle and weaned suckler calves were returned by the bank.

Mr Weeks, who has been a customer at Carmarthen market for 20 years, said he had made repeated attempts to contact the company’s director, Jonathan Morgan, about payment, but the matter had yet to be resolved.

“I was assured there would be a bank transfer to cover the amounts on the cheques that bounced, but that was eight weeks ago and I still haven’t been paid,” said Mr Weeks. “It is my understanding that there are many others in a similar situation.”

The last advertised sale at Carmarthen was on 3 July, when a monthly sale of breeding cattle, organic cattle, stock bulls and weaned calves was held.

Mr Weeks said he has since sought advice from his NFU Cymru group secretary and was planning to take action to recover payment.

In March 2020, a notice appeared in the Official Public Record, The Gazette, stating that the Registrar of Companies was giving notice that Bob Jones, Prytherch and Co Marts Ltd would be struck off the register and dissolved.

But the following month another notice appeared stating that the striking off action had been discontinued.

Mr Morgan said he was restructuring the business with support from a private investor following the resignation of his co-director, Iwan Jones.

He insisted that he had visited most of the farmers who had not been paid. “I am endeavouring through the restructure to ensure they are paid as soon as possible,” said Mr Morgan.

The restructure would allow him to “take the business forward” .

The market was once the most strategically important livestock centre in west Wales with a buoyant trade and good road networks, but numbers of livestock offered for sale have significantly fallen over time.

Meanwhile, farmers in Glamorgan fear livestock trading in Cowbridge will not resume following the closure of the current mart on 1 September.

Face coverings ‘must be worn’ in livestock marts

All mart customers are being reminded to wear face coverings in enclosed areas of livestock marts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) said it was not happy with Covid-19 face covering and social distancing compliance rates at a handful of livestock markets across England.

“If we want our business to remain open, some members need to do more,” said the LAA in a statement.

Marts are also being urged to ensure adequate hand-washing facilities are available for everyone to use and that a record of all attendees is kept.