Livestock auction marts to decide on next steps

Livestock Marketing Association of Canada pondering next move in face of pandemic

You may want to call first to see if it’s open, but many auction marts in Alberta were still having sales on Tuesday morning.

The Livestock Marketing Association of Canada has a conference call set for this evening to discuss COVID-19 safety measures for staff, customers and buyers, said Chance Martin, an LMAC director and president of the Alberta Auction Markets Association.

“It’s obviously very important to keep commerce going and to keep cash flow moving in the cattle industry, using all these guidelines provided by the government,” said Martin, an owner/fieldman and auctioneer for Thorsby Stockyards.

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“We’re going to do our best to do that as much as possible.”

There are reports that prices at auction sales are down significantly, and that’s a concern, he said.

“We’re looking out for our customers and will try and talk to the government officials about putting up some cash flow in these trying times too.”

Regular sales are going forward, but the numbers of attendees are not necessarily that high, he said.

“Regular cattle sales, it’s not such a huge issue,” he said. “Sometimes bred heifer sales bring in more farmer-type buyers, and then it can be an issue.

“But as far as a stocker/feeder sale, it’s just more the professional buyers. Big crowds aren’t a huge deal. We will be using safe practices.”

Martin added his company has had a staff meeting to address safety protocols for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

— Alexis Kienlen reports for Alberta Farmer from Edmonton.

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Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for the Glacier FarmMedia publication, the Alberta Farmer Express, since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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