Trainee agent bucks trend

Trainee agent bucks trend

It has taken 120 years but Elders in Millicent has finally broken the mould by appointing a female stock agent.

The rare honour goes to Meredith Turner who took up a trainee role with the nationwide company late last year.

The warmth of the welcome from her colleagues and the local farming and sporting community has been appreciated.

“The people of Millicent have been welcoming and encouraging and keen to hear your back story,” Ms Turner said.

“They expect you to know what you are talking about.

“It could be the nature of the cattle, market trends or how an individual farmer manages his operations.”

Her formative years were spent on her family’s small land-holding at Flaxley in the Adelaide Hills.

After 12 years at the Waldorf School in Mount Barker, Ms Turner was ready for a change.

This took the form of being a jillaroo on a large cattle station in the Northern Territory where thousands of head of cattle are mustered each year.

Choppers are used along with horses and motorbikes on the elusive hunt for stock.

Some of them were no doubt convinced they could evade capture in paddocks which measured 200 square kilometres.

Early in 2019, Ms Turner sought a change of scene although her role as a jillaroo was still satisfying and enjoyable.

An opportunity arose to work as a station hand in the remote Kimberly region of Western Australia and she could not pass it up.

Her new work included the mustering of so-called feral cattle which have never before had any human contact.

After two years in that role, Ms Turner decided to put her practical experience and theoretical knowledge to good use by going to work as a trainee stock agent with Elders in another part of the Kimberly region.

“I learned the ropes with Carly Longmuir,” she said.

The call home was proving strong and she came back to South Australia around a year ago.

Looking five years ahead to 2028, Ms Turner has her heart set on some professional and sporting goals.

“Within the next five years, I want to be well travelled including a 1000km ride in the 2024 Mongolia Derby,” she said.

“Another planned long-distance move is to Queensland to get the experience of working with tropical breed cattle.

“I love Aussie Rules and when I was 18 I got picked up to play a few games with Essendon in the Women’s VFL competition.

“I can play centre half forward or any other position.

“I will also be playing with Millicent in the Limestone Coast women’s competition.

“I do not want my good knee to need a knee reconstruction.”

Standing at 175cm tall, Ms Turner hopes the rebuilt knee will not require another major surgery and is still aiming for representative honours.

A typical week day for Ms Turner is to be a part of the early morning staff meeting at the Railway Terrace office of Elders.

Following that, she might provide a stock assessment for Auctions Plus, weigh some sheep or have face-to-face conversations with clients.

Until her traineeship is completed in August, Ms Turner is obliged to work alongside a senior agent.

Elder, Smith & Co. came to Millicent in 1903 when it purchased the local business of Mount Gambier firm Livingston and Yates.

The forerunner to Nutrien Ag Solutions was Dalgety & Co which opened a branch at Millicent in 1900 after buying the interests of Adelaide-based John Grice &Co.

Independent agents Merrett Livestock and John Chay &Co have been in business in Millicent for around 20 years.

It is understood no other stock firm in Millicent has ever employed a female stock agent although there has been several working in the general office, merchandise and real estate.

It took 110 years for Millicent to receive a female police officer and it was Constable Cathy Mason in1984.

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