Nigel Hawke – a livestock agent for all seasons
One of Elders’ most highly regarded and successful livestock agents, Nigel Hawke, is driven by a great passion for helping his clients produce food and fibre for Australians.
As Nigel explains, no two days are the same in his line of work, yet his purpose remains unchanged after many years – to provide support and guidance to clients no matter the season.
Nigel works closely with 60 farmers around the South Coast and Great Southern regions of Western Australia from his base at Elders Albany, guiding them as they develop their business plans and encouraging them every step of the way.
As a livestock agent, he markets sheep and cattle at the right time and to the right buyers for maximum returns, as well as classing livestock and sourcing breeding stock.
“I love my job. It’s seasonal and varied, it’s competitive and busy, and there’s a reasonable amount of pressure and adrenaline involved with it, but the best part of my job is developing relationships with my clients and seeing their long-term strategies pay off,” he said.
Nigel joined Elders 10 years ago, bringing a wealth of experience gained from years of livestock buying.
He grew up in Victoria and studied wool and fibre marketing, before working in a variety of ag industry jobs around his home town of Whittlesea and then in Western Australia.
His entry into livestock buying arose when a position came up with Fletcher abattoirs, which he describes as the best opportunity of his career. It developed into a successful stint as a commission buyer for exporters, major abattoirs, butchers and private clients, and then led him to Elders.
“What attracted me about working with Elders was the opportunity to develop closer relationships with clients and help them build on longer-term strategies,” he said.
“At Elders, we all work together to help our clients’ businesses grow.”
Nigel Hawke, Livestock Agent, Elders Albany.
While strong local sale connections are critical, Nigel also uses Elders extensive national network for market opportunities.
“For example, when the pressure was on with the drought in 2020, we sold a lot of sheep to the eastern states through our connections with Elders livestock agents over there,” he said.
“I haven’t met any of them personally, but we keep in touch now and it’s like the Elders family has grown.”
As a key adviser, he keeps himself informed through reading, talking with colleagues, and living the industry.
“Being with Elders means you live and breathe agriculture, it’s more than just a job,”
“You feel for farmers when there’s a frost, a drought or a flood and you’re proud when your clients grow their businesses and buy that extra bit of land or achieve a good price for their stock, because you’ve helped contribute to that result. It can be very rewarding.”
Nigel’s days are as varied as his clients.
“This morning I met with a client and classed up his rams and then next week we’ll go and buy replacements for his breeding program for next year,” he said.
“In the afternoon I drafted cattle for a sale happening tomorrow that we bought six months ago.
“On the way home, I met with a couple who have just bought a winery and are looking for a few trading sheep to keep the grass down under the vines.
“All my clients are different, but they all need support and guidance and I’m proud to be the person they trust with the responsibility of marketing their livestock.”
He said Australian farmers were increasingly being recognised for their vital role in supplying food and fibre.
“I think it’s important that we stand firm against underselling our product,”
“In a small way that’s what I do every day when I’m marketing sheep and cattle.
“I’m immensely proud of the service Elders is providing to Australian agriculture and the part I play in that.”
Elders hold livestock sales across Australia.
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