By Donald Young, regional managing director of United Auctions and a member of IAAS

The sheep sector was given a much needed boost last week after a buoyant day at our iconic Lairg lamb sales here at United Auctions. With so much doom and gloom for the farming industry around the prospect of a no deal Brexit, it is with some relief that we can report buyers and sellers bucked the trend with better than expected prices for the thousands of lambs passing through the ring.

The farming industry is facing one of its biggest challenges to date with the uncertainty which surrounds Brexit, and this uncertainty is without doubt transferring to the ringside. However, despite this, customers turned out in force at Lairg to get down to the business of buying and selling lambs. It was great to see the sector out in full force, despite the national and international backdrop.

While trade was definitely good, we can’t ignore the growing feeling of unease as we approach October 31, with no clarity on what the future holds for farming. Just this week, new research from the BBC suggested that leaving Europe with no deal could cost farmers around £850m in lost profits.

These are headlines which as an industry we can really do without. What we need to see is redoubled attempts to secure an EU agreement, at the same time as the industry will need to see the details of exactly what mitigation measures can be introduced to provide reassurance.

Despite all the negativity and scaremongering, what we can be sure of is that the mart is still by far the best place to buy and sell stock. Now, more than ever, we need farmers to support their marts for the simple reason that both buyer and seller knows that they will get the fairest most transparent price – settled in the ring on the day.

With Brexit dominating when it comes to uncertainty, the marts give farmers a level of reassurance which is missing elsewhere. While it may be of little comfort in the current climate the message is clear, support your local markets to ensure the fairest price is delivered. The future is far from bright for farmers at the moment but as an industry, auctioneers can assure farmers that by supporting their mart, they will get the best price and the fairest deal.