Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Report highlights the social value of saleyards



This report is from Australia, but the same holds true for local stockyards across America too.

IT has long been understood that cattle and sheep sales are more than places to simply transact livestock, serving also as a regular gathering point and valuable social outlet for the livestock sector. 

However, little research has been conducted to quantify just how valuable saleyards are to the wellbeing of rural communities and the people that attend physical livestock sales.

A new report has now been released seeking to fill that gap, drawing on online surveys of 152 people and in-person interviews with 105 people at six saleyards across five Australian States.

Key findings of the “Social Value of Saleyards Research Report” released on Monday include:

– 96 percent of people identified that when they’re not buying and selling, they are socialising – “catching up with their mates and having a laugh”

– Stakeholders undertake information sharing, networking and market research and learning from one another

– Not being able to attend saleyards led to an increase in loneliness and social isolation for stakeholders

– Saleyard communities provide a ‘hub’ to deliver a range of services to a diverse group of people.

The Social Value of Saleyards Research Report is the result of a research project conducted by Blue Wren Connections and  commissioned by the Australian Livestock Markets Association, the national industry body for saleyard owners and operators in Australia.

Despite a widespread understanding that saleyards bring a vibrancy and energy to communities and sale days are a significant contributor to reducing social isolation, building community identity and promoting well-being in the population, there is a clear absence of research into the social value of sale days at livestock selling centres, the study noted.

ALMA identified that it was important to capture the data to reflect and give evidence of the social value in having saleyards operating in regional communities in rural Australia.

The report said the research provided evidence that saleyards create a place for social connection and when people have limited access to be able to attend, they experience loneliness and social isolation.

“The data suggests stakeholders that attend the saleyards build a sense of connection and belonging through positive social interactions such as: sharing stories, a smile, shaking hands, networking, learning about best practise and industry development and having a meal and a coffee at the canteen.

“For this cohort of rural Australians, saleyards provide a place for connection and storytelling.

“People experience being listened to and this in turn allows for people to feel better about themselves.”

Often people may not discuss the complex topics in their lives, however the positive experiences happening at the saleyards increased people’s well-being, the report noted.

Of those who gave interviews, 57pc reported that they experienced social isolation, 59pc experienced loneliness, 46pc experienced a decline in not being able to share information and learn from peers.

60 percent of participants identified that in addition to buying or selling livestock, they came together at saleyards for social reasons.

To view the full report click here

USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient

USDA efforts to create more and better markets will benefit both producers and American consumers through fairer prices, as well as address longstanding issues intensified by pandemic
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2022 - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing details of a framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. Today’s announcement builds on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. This announcement also provides additional details on the June 2021 announcement to strengthen critical supply chains and address longstanding structural challenges that were revealed and intensified by the pandemic.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, USDA made significant investments through its Pandemic Assistance Program, providing immediate relief to producers, businesses, food workers and others. As the pandemic has evolved and Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused supply chain disruptions, it has become clear we cannot go back to the food system we had before: the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA recognize we must build back better and strengthen the food system across the supply chain, from how our food is produced to how it is purchased, and all the steps in between.

The goals of USDA’s Food System Transformation framework include:

  • Building a more resilient food supply chain that provides more and better market options for consumers and producers while reducing carbon pollution: The pandemic and recent supply chain disruptions have revealed the perils of a national food system that depends on capacity concentrated in a few geographic areas and requires many steps to get from farm to fork. In order to be more resilient, the food system of the future needs to be more distributed and local. Having more capacity to gather, process, move and store food in different geographic areas of the country will provide more options for producers to create value-added products and sell locally, which will support new economic opportunities and job creation in rural communities. Additional regional capacity will also give consumers more options to buy locally produced products—helping ensure food is available to consumers—and reduce the climate impact of our food supply chain.
  • Creating a fairer food system that combats market dominance and helps producers and consumers gain more power in the marketplace by creating new, more and better local market options: Just 14 cents of the food dollar go to producers on average – in large part because producers’ power in the marketplace has declined over the past 50 years with increased consolidation in the food system. Today, just a handful of companies dominate meat and poultry processing and just a few multi-national companies produce most brands and products on supermarket shelves. Right now, input prices and food prices are up—but so are the profits of major food companies and national supermarket chains. Covid has revealed the perils of a food system dominated by a few corporate players. USDA’s investments will deliver a better deal for farmers, ranchers, growers and consumers.
  • Making nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers: The pandemic exposed and exacerbated the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity in this country. A family in the United States not having access to affordable, nutritious foods is unacceptable. Hard-pressed families—including those who depend on school meals, SNAP, and seniors on fixed incomes—may have limited food options and some communities have been underserved by grocery stores and food retailers, making it difficult to access healthy food. USDA is committed to ensuring every American family has access to affordable, nutritious foods. That is why USDA’s Food System Transformation framework includes programs to ensure all consumers are able to access fresh, healthy, nutritious food.
  • Emphasizing equity: For too long, rural communities, underserved communities, communities that experience persistent poverty, and the people who live there have been left behind. Where you live should not determine a fair shot to economic opportunity. It is in these communities where most of our food comes from; where most of the water that we drink comes from; and where most of the energy we consume comes from. USDA’s Food System Transformation investments will create more economic opportunities for these communities and allow them to retain more of the food system dollar. This will speed the transition to more equitable growth, with the wealth created from these communities remaining in small towns and underserved communities, helping to lift them out of poverty.

USDA investments through the programs included in this framework will help make this vision a reality.

Today’s announcement supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader work to strengthen critical supply chains as directed by Executive Order 14017 America's Supply Chains. Funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act and other relief legislation.