Ballarat’s Eboni Knights kicks off a career in livestock
Standing high above the pen of stirring cattle, Eboni Knights is at the epicentre of the sale, leaning on the rail alongside the auctioneer as he shouts a cascade of numbers and banters with the crowd.
Clipboard pressed against her pink shirt, Ms Knights jots down all the vital information that makes a cattle sale tick: pen, price, buyer and numbers.
The 26-year-old from Ballarat began an Elders traineeship 12 months ago after working in the thoroughbred industry, managing a property and a stint in sales.
“I think being able to get out there and work at a few places and really figure out what I want to do and begin this at what I call a ‘mature age’, although I’m not as young as some of the other trainees but that life experience and bringing aspects of other jobs is valuable,” Ms Knights said.
Speaking of the trainee program, which sees participants work in a variety of roles, Ms Knights said she valued the insights it offered into agriculture and its people across different regions.
“No two days are the same,” she said.
“It’s long hours, it’s hard work, it’s a lot to learn but then, as with anything, you never stop learning.
“It’s an opportunity to get out with very experienced agents who’ve been in the job for 30 or more years and soak up so much from people who are phenomenal at this job.”
That hard work has paid off, earning Ms Knights a permanent role as a livestock sales support officer with Elders just this month.
“There are so many opportunities with Elders and I was pretty excited to land this job,” she said.
“Part of my role at Ballarat is to get up on the rail and clerk sales, I do a lot of preparation for the store cattle sales, interfacing with online platforms, drafting on farm and in the yards and everything in between.”
There were still plenty of misconceptions about the industry that Ms Knights would like to see change.
“I’d really like to see more women at the forefront in agriculture,” she said.
There’s little likely to stop Eboni Knights, who has set the goal of becoming a full-time livestock agent in the next five to 10 years.
“Beyond that, the sky’s the limit,” she said. “I think you should never say no to an opportunity because it may never come up again and you don’t know unless you try.”
“The Elders network is pretty incredible and so are the people you get to meet in the industry.”
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