Marts will continue to operate, in line with Government guidelines, as long as they can successfully comply with social distancing rules and the maximum 100 person limit on attendees, said ICOS yesterday, after consultation with the Department of Agriculture.
ICOS livestock and environment executive Ray Doyle said, “We must strictly enforce methods of operating within the safety parameters laid down by the Government, or marts will need to close.
“This will be an individual decision for mart boards in the best interests of the country first, shareholders, customers, employees and all extended families involved.”
Farming families need marts to enable them to earn a living and supply much needed cash, but not to jeopardise anyone else in the process.
ICOS is asking the department to help marts comply with the Covid-19 measures. “If marts can spread out their usual peak spring sales, it will greatly assist with ensuring compliance. This means reducing the retention period for Area of Natural Constraint Payments from seven to five months.
"This measure would allow farmers a longer timeframe to purchase animals needed to comply with stocking density requirements of the scheme, greatly assist their economic viability, and avoiding compression of sales into a short timeframe in the marts.”