Hope for Carmarthen mart as it seeks new operator

Livestock auctions could soon resume at Carmarthen mart as the site owner is looking for a new business to run a “progressive and forward-looking” regional market there.

The trouble-hit mart, which had been run for many years by BJP Marts, has been closed for months, with farmers who had previously sold stock there yet to be paid by the company.

There were fears that it would never reopen amid rumours that it would be used as a retail site. But Carmarthenshire County Council confirmed on Tuesday 19 January that it intended to offer the lease by open-market tender.

See also: What have livestock markets learned from 2020?

It urges interested businesses to get in touch to find out more about that opportunity.

Applicants must demonstrate proposals for a progressive and forward-looking regional livestock market, it said, operating regular livestock auctions and managing all ancillary functions, including subletting of concessions, catering functions and business units.

Carmarthen mart is a traditional and prominent fixture in west Wales’ vibrant agricultural industry.

The site has a purpose-built, modern building, with two auction rings and associated livestock pens for cattle, sheep and pigs.

Ten associated business units are occupied by agricultural supply and service companies.

Council commitment

David Jenkins, the council’s executive board member for resources, said the authority was “absolutely committed” to supporting Carmarthenshire’s farming community and rural economy and recognised the important role Carmarthen mart had to play in that.

“This is an exciting opportunity – as well as operating this busy mart, we hope to attract applicants that will also look at wider opportunities to create a viable and sustainable enterprise. We very much look forward to seeing the mart operating again.”

The council’s rural business development centre could also be included within the lease, Mr Jenkins added.

The last advertised sale at Carmarthen was on 3 July 2020, when a monthly sale of breeding cattle, organic cattle, stock bulls and weaned calves was held.