Posted 11 September 2015
The future of the profession is clearly secure in the hands of these young auctioneers. I can vouch that each of them is thoroughly committed to their work and the profession."
Current and former Harper Adams students dominate the finalists in the 2015 Marts the Heart New Entrant Award, organised by the Farmers Guardian.
In the New Entrant category, every finalist has studied at Harper Adams. Three are former undergraduate students and all five have completed or are working towards the Certificate of Higher Education on Professional Studies - Livestock Market Operations and Management.
The Cert HE programme is run by Harper Adams in association with the Livestock Auctioneers Association in England and Wales together with the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland.
Mark Simcock, Associate Head of Department for Land Management and link tutor for the auctioneers’ programme, said: “It is good to see the services provided by livestock auctioneers across the country being recognised by the Farmers Guardian in this way. The future of the profession is clearly secure in the hands of these young auctioneers.
“I can vouch that each of them is thoroughly committed to their work and the profession. I wish them all the best in the competition."
Will Alexander, 24, from Lancaster, who holds an honours degree in agriculture from Harper Adams, said: “I began working for North West Auctions as a fieldsman in 2013, after graduating. I have since progressed to junior auctioneer, selling calves and cast sheep weekly, as well as being lead dairy auctioneer. I am half-way through the four-year course in livestock market operations and management.
“In my first year, I was awarded the Dick Harrison Trust Award. I have a passion for the agricultural industry and I am committed to making the most of my customers’ businesses, which brings me enormous job satisfaction. Outside of work, I manage my own flock of pedigree Suffolks and commercial sheep.”
Ian Atkinson, 25, from Preston, holds an honours degree in rural enterprise and land management (REALM). He said: “My passion to become an auctioneer stems from attending local auctions with my parents. It became a reality in 2013 after graduating from Harper Adams and gaining a full-time auctioneering role at North West Auctions. I sell at both Lancaster and J36 Rural Auction Centre, selling prime sheep, prime beef, cast ewes and calves on weekly basis. I also sell breeding and store sheep seasonally.
"I am a keen stockman with a good understanding of the industry stemming from my family’s sheep and beef farm. My understanding of the challenges facing the industry helps me communicate with farmers through difficult times.”
2010 REALM graduate Jonny Dymond, who works for Wright Marshall, is the third nominee. He said: “I moved from my Cornish family roots to Cheshire two-and-a-half years ago and now, age 27, I am principal calf and weanling auctioneer at Beeston Castle, one of the biggest UK rearing calf centres.
"It is an honour to be nominated and feel humbled and grateful to the clients meet and work with. Over the last 12 months, have established our monthly catalogued weanling sales, which I see as my proudest achievement to date as a livestock auctioneer. Entries have soared from 20 a week to our record entry of 321, providing continuity and choice for buyers and sellers. I believe in quality service, honesty and communication.”
Stirling-based Raymond Kennedy, 24, who hails from Glendaruel, Argyll, worked for Caledonian Marts for four years before joining United Auctions while in the second year of the Harper Adams auctioneers course, which he is doing by distance learning. He said: “I cover the West of Scotland as a sheep and cattle auctioneer, servicing centres at Dalmally and Islay. I have gained experience selling both commercial and pedigree stock, including at the 150th bull sales this February.
“Raised on a beef and sheep farm in Argyll, I always wanted to stay in the industry and help provide a service to those involved. I enjoy travelling throughout Scotland meeting all kinds of folk and seeing the process in action.”
Nominee Mark Richardson, 30, from Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, said: "After my auctioneers course at Harper Adams, I have worked for H&H for eight years. This has mainly been at Kirkby Stephen with most classes of stock and a three-day Swaledale ram sale. I also work at Borderway. I live on sheep and beef farm at Ravenstonedale and run herd of pedigree British Blues.
“A member of the Swaledale and North of England Mule Sheep Assocation, I sell at Kirkby Stephen, Lazonby and Middleton-in-Teesdale. With massive support from local farmers for myself and the mart, I get a real buzz from giving 110 per cent towards making a top job of selling customers’ stock.”