THE farmers' union, the NFU, has joined the battle to save Penistone's livestock market.
The union is working with farmers and auctioneers to try to help save South Yorkshire's last remaining livestock auction mart.
Penistone has been a vital livestock sales centre for more than a century, serving generations of local farming families.
But, due to difficulties securing urgently needed investment, its doors could close in matter of weeks - during one of the year's busiest periods for livestock sales.
The closure would be a hammer blow to Yorkshire farmers, forcing them to travel much further to buy and sell animals.
The only other market in the area is at Holmfirth, which meets once a week.
But the loss of Penistone would mean more to local farmers than increased transport costs and reduced marketing opportunities, said Graham Coultish, Barnsley and Penistone NFU chairman and sheep farmer.
He said: "Penistone is more than a livestock auction mart. Historically it has always been, and still is, an important focal feature for a lot of agricultural activities in the area. These include a thriving farmers' market and Penistone Show.
"South Yorkshire is an European Union-targeted area for regeneration.
"How is closing this important market going to help sustain the region's agriculture industry?
"It would be further evidence of a continuing decline that we no longer want to see," added Mr Coultish.