More than two centuries of innovation and transparency are being marked throughout 2017, as the livestock auction mart industry celebrates the bicentenary of the UK’s first registered livestock auction.

Following the launch of a new brochure charting the history of livestock auction marts since the first registered auction was held in Hawick back in 1817, the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) is leading celebrations with a series of events and receptions across the country.

Speaking at the launch of the celebrations, George Eustice MP, the minister of state for agriculture, fisheries and food, spoke of his appreciation of the industry.

“I am delighted to congratulate the livestock auction industry on this special anniversary, and to recognise the important contribution auction markets make to the rural economy,” said Mr Eustice.

“Over two centuries livestock auction markets have provided a consistent, stable and transparent method of selling livestock.”

Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the LAA added, “Along with our colleagues at the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers of Scotland (IAAS), we are organising a number of events and activities to celebrate the important role of the livestock auction industry.

“Our annual conference, from 18-21 May, had a special focus on the bicentenary celebrations, while at the same it brought together industry experts and keynote speakers to address the key issues facing the industry today.”

The LAA and IAAS continue to support, develop and promote the crucial role of the livestock auctioneer, helping to deliver an open, transparent and competitive marketing forum for the red-meat sector and the wider rural economy.

“We can draw on our proud history to address and tackle new challenges and opportunities facing the industry,” continued Mr Dodds.

There are 152 livestock auction markets in the UK today, with a turnover of £2.2 billion, selling more than 12 million sheep, 1.6 million and around 150,000 pigs.

Details of further planned activities and events marking the bicentenary are available at