Scott Heasley

Job: Livestock Agent     Area: Rodney District

The Livestock Buyer

Scott grew up in Hastings, but his family was involved in a livestock transport business. During school holidays he worked on farms and later secured a place at Smedley Station training farm. He is now Livestock Procurement Buyer for Wilson Hellaby, with responsibility for the Rodney region.

What’s your typical day like?
The farmers start calling at 6.00 am about the price schedule or drafting stock for that day. I contact the trucking firms, booking transportation needed for deliveries. Then I'm on the road to do drafting at two to 12 farms daily. It's all go, working Sunday through Thursday.

What exactly is drafting?
It's pointing out prime cattle or lambs to be sent to the Meat Processor in Auckland. I get into the pens, put my hands on each animal to assess prime livestock, and mark with chalk those fat enough to be sent in the next day's truck. I decide which livestock we buy and send and organise the paperwork with the farmer.

So what are the skills most necessary for your job?
Organisation is the biggest thing. You also need to be aware of what's happening to market conditions and stock on-farm. Animals do better in some areas because of fertiliser applications, soil types, grasses, breed, etc.

How do you enrol at Smedley Station?
I applied after sixth form. A panel of board members whittled down 130 applicants to about 70 and then there were interviews from which they select ten cadets. The training is fully funded so the board has to make sure the cadets they choose will be committed and right for the industry.

Is it like a farming university?
Yes, you learn all aspects of farming, with lots of practical work as well as theory. I took Level 2 and 3 Agricultural ITO papers.

What do you love most about your job?
Being on the road, the livestock handling and working with people. I just love this job.

Back to The Real World
"Once I had done shepherding and learnt more about livestock handling, then the natural move was to go into the meat-buying side of things."

How did I get here:

School - NCEA: Maths, Agriculture, Science

University: Smedley Station Farm