Huw Evans on return of Carmarthen mart.
It was a different view from the rostrum in Carmarthen this week. As an auctioneer I have never been too nervous about an outcome of a sale. Trade is always good. Numbers are always good. Everything will be fine.
However, taking on the duty of reopening Carmarthen mart and reviving the sales having been closed and vacant for two years was more tense than usual. Trade was good everywhere. Numbers were good everywhere. Everything was fine everywhere. But Carmarthen was now an unknown entity and not the certainty that it used to be.
The familiar faces started coming through the doors with nothing but pure happiness showing. I have been in many a busy mart, but the atmosphere and sense of excitement you could see and feel from everyone who were back at Carmarthen was like I’ve never felt before. It really was quite emotional to see the hustle and bustle of market day return to Carmarthen.
The cafe was not just full, but it was busy and full of life and energy. The reception was filled with sales reps from all walks of business and the buzz bounced from wall to wall and around every corner. The car park got fuller and fuller. The loading bays were busier than a McDonald’s drive through on a Bank Holiday.
Everybody gathered at the reception for the opening ceremony and introductions to the Nock Deighton partners and staff. Nigel Owens, international rugby referee and local farmer, welcomed everyone to the mart and welcomed the return of the mart as the integral hub that it is to the farming community in the region.
Reverend Simon Bowkett, the mart’s resident chaplain, echoed the sentiments and blessed the mart going into the future. It was almost time for business, but first a little charity fundraising.
The first lot of the day, a Hereford bull calf, whose proceeds would be donated to the DPJ Foundation which supports people in agriculture with poor mental health. The calf, auctioned by Nigel Owens, raised 1,080.
Then, the auction was away and immediately in full flow, with calves selling to and beyond 400 for the better end bull and heifer calves. In the dairy section, an open day show and sale took place. Carmarthen was once notorious as Wales’ only dairy centre and the void left in the dairy sector after its closure was vast.
Islwyn Gibbon, of Garreg Farm, was the day’s judge and champion animal was awarded to Richard Lewis, Fronun, with his pedigree heifer, Erie Liberty Beatrix. Bred from seven generations of VG/Excellent cows it sold for 2,750. Two further heifers sold for over 2,000 and dairy heifers averaged 1,701 on the day.
I have no doubt the support of local farmers will be there for the mart they have longed for to return. And with stock, the buyers will follow and trade will be good, and numbers will be good and everything will be fine at Carmarthen once more.
This is the people’s mart and we at Nock Deighton are here to open the doors, welcome you in and sell your livestock for the best prices possible.
Thank you all for making the opening day such a memorable event.
Huw Evans is an auctioneer at Nock Deighton. Call 07976 328 177.