SOMETIMES you fall on your feet! I did, the first time I was given the task of selling hill- bred wether lambs at Lazonby Auction.

These sales were always the day after the big autumn gimmer lamb sales.

My boss Norman Little had to go to Penrith to sell cattle and I as trainee auctioneer at Lazonby was tasked with selling the store lambs, mostly from high Pennine farms.

As I began the sale my nerves were jangling. It was a big test. Could I handle the trade and the regular buyers gathered at the ring entrance doors, ready to have a share-out!

Twenty minutes into the sale a man in a trilby hat, who sat on the wooden benches above the ring began bidding, in between sipping coffee poured from a thermos flask.

The local buyers eyed the intruder suspiciously. It did not deter him. He kept bidding and bidding; in fact, he blew them all out. Within the next half an hour he had filled a four decker. Now I began to worry. Who is this man? Can he pay? His bill was mounting fast. Mary from our office team had a quiet word with him and a bank reference was produced. Mary rang the bank and yes, he was good for the money.

Over the next hour the man in the trilby hat filled another decker. I asked Mary to call his bank again. No problem, there was money available to cover our account.

By now our other buyers weren’t trying to decide who would stand for the next pen. They were asking each other who was going to bid!

It was a young auctioneer’s dream as pen after pen was knocked down to the man sat there with a raised coffee cup to indicate he was in and stopping in!

My pal John Errington was trying to buy lambs and said to me, “You lucky…….. You’ve never had it so good”! He was right. By this time Mary was onto the bank for a third time.

“Put it this way” said the bank manager, “if he wants to buy the whole auction, he can do, and he’ll pay cash”! Local buyer Jared Faulder described it as “the sale of the century”!

It turns out the man in the trilby was a businessman with farms, farm shops and other developments to his name. The lambs from Lazonby would be fattened by him and sold in his shops. After the sale I begged him to come back in a fortnight, but he was fully stocked up. “Don’t worry” said the other buyers, “we’ll be back next sale and it will be different story”! And it was.

Since that day nearly 30 years ago, we’ve seen some good years but more bad years in the livestock industry.

Right now, despite the limitations of Covid 19, markets are really in the ascendant with strong trades and much demand

. I don’t want to spoil the moment so let’s enjoy it, but on the understanding that it probably won’t last. It never does, and there are going to be some very different challenges to face in future!

The Farmer Network will be there every step of the way.

Adam joined the Farmer Network in 2015 initially working three days each week, but has now increased this to four days.

He is involved in all facets of the Network working closely with the Board of Directors and the Management Councils to ensure that the Network is delivering what members want and need.

The Farmer Network Ltd is an independent not for profit company that provides help and support to farmers and their businesses.

Formed in 2006, the company currently has more than 1,100 members.

They brand themselves as a friendly, grassroots farmer’s organisation with an experienced team of knowledgeable people used to dealing with most queries and challenges that today’s farm business can experience.