Granard Mart has earned quite the reputation for its weekly weanlings and store cattle sales down through the decades and continues to get the local support necessary for thriving year in, year out. Mart Manager Charlotte Kearney told Irish Tractor & Agri all about it recently.
These are busy times at Granard Mart in Co Longford and the hope for Charlotte Kearney and co is to keep the sales strong and ensure the farmers coming through their gates stay satisfied with the products on offer each week.
Owned by 42 different shareholders, the mart itself dates back over 50 years now and is one of the most popular around the midlands region when it comes to the sales of weanling’s bulls and heifers, store blks and heifers, dry cows, sheep and horses.
With a rich tradition over the past half of a century, there are more than 25,000 cattle sold at the mart on an annual basis and overseeing the sales each and every week is its manager Charlotte Kearney.
The Donegal native was good enough to take some time out recently from what is a highly hectic schedule to tell Irish Tractor & Agri all about the business – from its origins, to current owners and present sales figures.
“We’re just outside the town of Granard and the mart itself would’ve first been established in the year of 1972,” Charlotte outlined.
“The mart is made up of 42 shareholders of which 5 of them are elected as directors who with closely along with myself to run the day to day business. We have up to 25/30 people employed here when we have sales and outside that we have five full time staff.
“Our busiest sale would be our weanling sales every Monday evening followed by our store cattle sale every Wednesday.
“Few years ago we decided to move our sheep sales from a Wednesday during the day to a Tuesday evening which has proven successful as it suites the farmers more that have full time jobs out side their own farms.
“Granard Mart has a good reputation when it comes to quality of stock and we are in a very good area and well supported which enables us to keep up the two sales per week.”
Local support has been crucial to the mart’s success and longevity all these years and that support remains strong, according to Charlotte, who is fast approaching 20 years since she came on board with the business.
“There’s between 26,000 and 27,000 cattle sold yearly here and last year there was in and around 3,500 sheep sold,” she said.
“Sheep is a smaller section for us and with horses the figure is around 1,200 a year. We have horse sales here nine times a year so it’s not a bad figure at all.”
The figures are solid for Granard Mart and its team of staff are certainly due huge credit for what has been achieved in recent years.
For Charlotte herself, it’s all very much a far cry from when she first took the decision to pursue a career in the agricultural industry.
Coming from a farming background in the Tir Chonaill County, she headed for Cavan for her studies before venturing a little bit further south and eventually taking on a role which she herself will admit is challenging by times, but also very enjoyable and satisfying.
“I’m from Donegal originally and went down to Ballyhaise College to study,” she explained. “I did one year there and went off to Kiernan’s Piggery and then came here as a secretary. I suppose I just found a liking for it here and enjoyed it and I’m here ever since.
“When I first started working here I came in as a secretary and after a number of years later the manger left which left me managing the mart, I have to thank the directors at the time which entrusted me with the task and as they say the rest is history.
“It has been a huge learning curve in my life with sometimes not always making the right decisions but we all work very well here together. As for the customers, it’s mainly locals and you’re depending on their support all year round. So I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank them for their continued support.”
While the core of the business is coming from locals, many farmers also come from Cavan, Westmeath and other surrounding counties for the weekly sales at Granard Mart.
Charlotte is happy to report that business has been good these past few years and that the early part of 2019 has seen a huge focus on the Health & Safety end of things in particular.
“It’s like everything, it comes in waves. We are always up against opposition from other marts but as long we keep making sure that every customers gets there livestock sold and sold well we feel that’s what stands to us,” she enthused.
“The main focus for 2019 now seems to be Health & Safety and insurance, so that occupies it a bit, I’d say the first month of this year in particular has been all about Insurance rates and Health & Safety actually.”
Granard Mart gets its priorities right and the evidence is there when you look at the repeat business it has gained from its customers throughout the decades.
Charlotte herself feels that there are numerous combining factors for the mart’s long-standing success.
“I think it’s down to a mixture of tradition and the fact that we would have been noted as one of the best marts around,” she said.
“We do have a good strong trade and a lot of that comes down to the fact that we try and be fair to everyone that passes through here,” she concluded.
“So if it’s weanlings, heifers or sheep you’re looking to buy or sell, be sure to give Granard Mart a visit. On Monday evenings, the mart has its sales for Weanlings Suckler Cows & In-Calf Heifers, while Wednesdays are All Classes Cattle, Calves and Sheep.
Granard Farmers Mart Ltd Auctioneers & Livestock Salesmen
Tel: 043 6686026/86027
Fax: 043 6686841
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 3, June/July 2019