Caught in the action of the auction - Elders Rural Services

Caught in the action of the auction

For Eliza Connors, there is no greater thrill than watching the auctioneers hammer fall on that winning bid at a bull sale.

As a woman working in the heart of Queensland’s stud breeding industry, that rush of excitement has become part of the job.

The first taste of sale day excitement came to Eliza as a teen, when she joined her family to purchase a pen of commercial cows at the local saleyards.

“Seeing the auctioneer standing above the crowd of buyers, he was so confident and engaging, moving through the pens of cattle so quickly – it would be hard not to get caught up in the action.”  – Eliza Connor, Elders Stud Stock Sales Support.

“For me, that’s where my interest in learning more about the cattle industry really started.”

From that first sale, little did she know that one day she would be part of a livestock sales team of her own, managing million-dollar sales at one of the biggest selling centres in Australia, CQLX Rockhampton.

Eliza’s formal introduction to agriculture stemmed from agricultural studies in high school and travelling to local shows as part of the school cattle team. Like many country kids before her, these early experiences became stepping-stones to expanding her knowledge of livestock and genetics through higher education, completing a university degree with UNE Armidale, and finally securing a job on a cattle station closer to home.

“At first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in agriculture or the cattle industry, but with such a comprehensive degree it was encouraging to see the range of possibilities grow in front of you,” says Eliza.

“You kind of get the feeling that this is the industry for you, then it’s all about finding your own path to a career that can fit your interests.”

So, when a role of Stud Stock Sales Support became available with Elders, working alongside an experienced team of auctioneers and sales staff in the pink shirt, she took the chance and applied. The iconic Elders pink shirt will always be more than a uniform for Eliza.

“When I started, I couldn’t wait to be part of the team and that only becomes real when you get your Elders shirt,”

“When it arrived in the mail, it was a really special moment.”

Since joining Elders Stud Stock in early 2021, Eliza admits she has hardly had a moment to stop and look back at how far she has come in the past year.

From meeting generations of stud breeders right across northern Queensland, to getting the ultimate backstage pass to the largest livestock saleyards in the southern hemisphere (CQLX Rockhampton), her career in stud stock sales has taken off with many highlights.

While there is always a new adventure for a woman working in the livestock industry, there is one element that Eliza says remains the best part of the job.

“For me, getting to know our clients is something I will always hold close to my heart,” she says.

“You follow their journey to a sale, learn about the history of their business and the passion they have for developing their genetics, and then the day comes for their annual sale and you are right there beside them as the bidding builds.

“I find it impossible to not feel that thrill as years of careful management and breeding are put to the open market and you watch the success unfold. It is something truly special and I guess I’ll always be chasing the feeling that comes from a live auction.”

Eliza thrives among the action at saleyards and auctions.

At just 25 years of age, Eliza is already moving into her second year in the state-wide role which involves preparations for million-dollar sales and major events, including managing marketing plans and auction materials for key clients.

Her confidence to take on bigger responsibilities, she says, comes from the support of the team around her.

“We are a close group, but that seems to be the culture of Elders no matter where you go,” she says.

“Before joining, I knew some of the Elders Moura team through friends and all seemed to really love what they do, so I had pretty high expectations for what working in Elders would be like,”

“The support from my team to achieve the best results for our clients has certainly helped my grow into this role – and while experience is something to come, I know that my team will have my back along the way.”

When asked about her experiences as a woman working in the sector of livestock sales, particularly the stud stock industry, Eliza is quick to point out just how many female faces are present and the support she has received during her time so far.

“Yes, many of the auctioneers you might see are men, but working in the industry there are so many women calling the shots; as breeders, managers, journalists, or technical support staff at the sale. I’ve found that the attitudes of the past towards women in agency are just that – in the past,”

“There is support for any person willing to have a go and work hard. That has certainly been my experience here with Elders Stud Stock.”

With the Australian livestock industry reaching all-time highs alongside the boom in online auctions and digital marketing, Eliza is one of many young faces joining an industry facing intense change.

Looking ahead Eliza says that change may come, but it’s the traditions of the job that she hopes will always remain.

“We are adapting to new ways of marketing stud stock every season, but it’s the traditional things that will always keep me coming back. It’s the people and the passion behind quality stud breeding,”

“When I’m back at a live auction, with a crowd of bidders eager to buy and the hammer is going down on a sale you’ve worked so hard for, it reminds me all over again just why I love doing what I do.”

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