IN the second of a weekly diary, Richard Rankin, the CEO of H&H Group, reveals how Borderway is adapting to the changing picture in the livestock rings brought about by the current coronavirus pandemic.

“The country continues to rally to the needs of a nation but with supermarket shelves emptying quickly, we are reminded of the importance of our food chain in the UK, quietly working behind the scenes amidst a viral storm.

“This brings home the role our livestock auction mart Harrison & Hetherington plays, still managing to run auctions under strict government guidelines, whilst ensuring the safety of our people,” said Mr Rankin.

He added: “This week, we have held our weekly calf sale at Borderway, where 203 head was offered and over the next week, we will have primestock, store cattle and cast cattle sales at our marts at Borderway, Lockerbie, Kirkby Stephen, Wooler, Middleton-in-Teesdale and St Boswells.

“As goal posts are constantly moved, change forces innovation, it’s either innovate or die.

“This is a challenge the team has, despite intermittent homeworking and social distancing, met face on and it is with immense pride we launch the 2020 Border and Lakeland Club annual spring sale of pedigree Holstein and British Friesian Bulls through a virtual sale online, rather in the physical space of the ring.

“Farmers need to be able to buy and sell stock to ensure that our food chain is not disabled and the marts underpin this wider food production capability.

“This would be the case in normal circumstances, but now it is imperative – delivering this is our job!

“This is again evident within our H&H Land & Estates division as our annual grass lets auction took place successfully this week with a change of approach required for safety reasons.

“Instead of the buzz of an auction room, this was done via sealed bids, another necessary adaption but a sign of the times.

“As a business with a complex range of services, we continue to review and scale back operations to match the demand whilst continuing to meet our customers’ needs and deliver the service they are used to, and expect.

“As with other businesses at this time, these actions, whilst difficult calls to make, are essential to safeguarding our cash flow and securing our long term future.”

“Once again I urge you to keep safe and stay home!” he said.