Next generation of livestock auctioneers recognised at Harper Adams University graduation ceremony
28th April 2023
A new generation of livestock auctioneers celebrated their achievements at the annual
graduation ceremony for the Livestock Market Operations and Management course, hosted by
Harper Adams University and attended by the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) on
Monday 9 th January.
Daniel Lynn, livestock auctioneer at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart was awarded the LAA
Gavel for the highest achieving graduating student for England and Wales, while Zanna Dennis
of both Bentham Auction Mart and the LAA, collected the ‘Golden Gavel’ Dick Harrison Trust
award as the highest achieving first year student.
Daniel graduated with a Certificate of Higher Education in Livestock Market Operations and
Management, also receiving his fellowship for the LAA during the ceremony, the culmination of
four-years study while in full-time employment.
The ceremony also included five graduating second year students being awarded Associate
membership to the LAA. Oliver Chapman (Louth), George Starkie (Clitheroe), Joe Bowman
(H&H), Paul Gardner (Penrith) and Jake Wagstaff (Thrapston) are continuing their studies to
complete the full four-year course for Fellow membership of the LAA.
The Livestock Market Operations and Management course aims to provide the bedrock of
knowledge and skills needed by anybody aspiring to succeed in livestock auction practice. First
delivered in 2011, the programme has been developed by Dr Mark Simcock of Harper Adams, in
conjunction with the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association and the Institute of Auctioneers and
Appraisers in Scotland.
Path to a career in the industry
Having grown up on the family farm, 24-year-old Daniel actually took a slightly convoluted path
to a career in the industry, initially joining the armed forces for a brief period after leaving
However, the call of farming was too strong, and he soon returned to his roots, taking up a
trainee auctioneer opportunity at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart back in April 2016.
Daniel was encouraged to enrol on the course by the team at Darlington, starting in January
2018 and actually completing his four-year course, five years on, due to the disruption caused
by the Covid 19 pandemic.
In this time, Daniel now heads up all of the sheep sales at Darlington, as well as a large part of
the machinery sales. Outside of the rostrum, he also runs his own sheep flock, with a mixture of
pure Cheviot, pure Texel sheep and Mule ewes.
Commenting on the course, Daniel explains, “It covers so many aspects of the industry, but it is
not just about learning. The networking opportunities and connections are invaluable, bringing
peers from around the country into one place.
“Those connections have remained strong from day one. I am regularly picking up the ‘phone,
gaining and sharing advice and updates from different parts of the country. It really helps
knowing what is going on, and what has worked well in some places as well as what hasn’t
worked so well,” he says.
Daniel, who was presented with his LAA Gavel award by new LAA chairman Alastair Brown of
Bletsoes, adds, “The course is really well-run and covers so much. The facilities and support are
Balancing her time as development officer for the LAA alongside her role as drover and
administrator at Bentham Auction Mart, Zanna Dennis was delighted to receive the Dick
Harrison Trust ‘Gold Gavel’ award as the top first year student.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to study the course, providing an excellent
understanding of the day-to-day operations and wider management of auction marts. It has
already been of benefit to both my roles at the LAA and Bentham market,” she says.
“Equally, the course provides a hugely valuable opportunity to meet with, and learn from, other
auctioneers from across the UK.”
Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the LAA comments, “The course is about encouraging the
networking opportunities and developing the skillsets to help build a career that will not only
bring great personal reward, but will also support the wider UK livestock industry.”
Course manager Dr Mark Simcock says, “All of our farming clients are going to need sound
advice from their professional advisors in the years ahead as agricultural policy develops, and
our graduates today are in a position to give that advice.”
Mr Dodds adds, “I would like to congratulate all graduates and current students on their
achievements to date, and I look forward to seeing them help shape and support the industry
“Investing in the next generation of auctioneers is crucial to secure the future of our livestock
market industry. This course is a great example of industry doing so.”