Moves are afoot in the hope of bringing back livestock sales in Taree.
In a statement issued on Friday afternoon (April 28), owner of the Taree Saleyards at Taree South Greg Mitchell announced their immediate closure.
Reasons given included that it was no longer economical, insufficient community support and slow paying customers.
Former owner of Taree Saleyards Bruce Moy was disappointed to hear the news.
“It’s a terrible shame for our area and we’ve got to see what we can do to bring the business of livestock sales back to Taree.
“The area needs it and the producers should be able to demand it.”
Bruce has fielded many phone calls since the announcement on Friday with people asking him the question ‘What can we do about it?’ “I feel very strongly for the producers of this area,” he said.
“I’ve made certain inquiries to see just what perhaps can be done for the industry and for those people. I will see what I can do but it will be with another person. I’m trying to get some other people to take up the cudgel.”
Bruce Moy’s association with the Taree Saleyards began in the 1970s, when it was owned by Tom Ellis and Eric Butler.
“I later became a partner within the business and eventually did own the saleyards through the 1990s and into the early 2000s.”
He was the sale auctioneer during his time, a role he said he “absolutely loved”.
Bruce saw the deregulation of the dairy industry have a huge impact on the business.
“While the deregulation of the dairy industry might be viewed by some as a positive, certainly to our coastal areas and dairy industry it was anything but a positive.
“With it we lost a lot of cattle that were no longer in the valley… the rate of beef cattle didn’t increase at the rate that the number of dairy cattle decreased.”
Bruce acknowledges that running a business also has changed. “I think everyone in business knows what I’m saying there.
"Management has to be strong and very stringent today to survive in business and I think it is a terrible indictment to our Manning Valley area to have the saleyards close.”
Taree Saleyards has operated in its current position since the 1950s. “In the Ellis and Butler time we were seeing upwards of 1000 cattle weekly go through the yards and the paddock sales.
“They were not the first saleyards for the area but they have been the most significant and have seen tremendous growth in the numbers of cattle.
“I really feel for the area over this, I really do. The farming community to me is family, it’s been my livelihood and to see this happening is devastating.”
Bruce said the saleyards had been a big economic boon for the Manning.
“On Mondays farmers would come into the business area of town for the sales and their wives would do the shopping. As well as buying and selling it was certainly a huge social day.
“Thursdays were another big day as the cheque was available from Monday’s sale, and again the wives would come into town and go shopping.
“It was a major part of the structure of Taree and it was a major business in Taree.
“But things change and nothing stays the same.”
Greg Mitchell bought the Taree Saleyards business with Craig Young in 2001, who he later bought out. Mr Mitchell then sold the business to Webb Bros under a vendor finance arrangement only to have to buy it back from the liquidator of that company in 2014.
In his statement on Friday, Mr Mitchell said he wished to confirm that collections of outstanding payments will continue, and when received, be forwarded to the appropriate vendors.