Farm Animal Breeding & Trading

By ACS Distance Education on January 30, 2019 in Animals, Built Environment, Careers & Jobs Success | comments
This industry sector is concerned with buying, selling and breeding livestock. Animal suppliers work with farmers and industry to ensure purchase of breeds appropriate to need and environment.

Scope of Work

Some farmers breed animals while others buy and/or sell animals. Most types of livestock have been developed over hundreds if not thousands of years to produce a large range of different breeds, each with unique characteristics, suited to a particular environment or purpose. Some animals produce better meat; while others may be better for milk production. Some are hardier in harsher climates.

Breeders: These specialist farmers focus on the supply side of the industry. They might have specialist breeds for specific purposes or climates. Breeders may use artificial insemination or an appropriate environmental setting. Mothers must be cared for properly through pregnancy, then the birth and after care of young managed appropriately.

Agents: Agents connect breeders with buyers. Trading animals requires identifying and judging the characteristics
of animals, understanding market values and trends and negotiating good deals. It also involves properly handling and caring for animals throughout the whole process from leaving one property, to arriving at the new owner’s property.

Wildlife Catchers: Catching young animals to breed in genetic characteristics; or to grow on to a marketable size.

What You Need to Learn

  • Animal taxonomy and genetics – differences between species & breeds within a species
  • Animal anatomy and physiology – understanding organ systems
  • Animal feeding and nutrition – deficiencies, supplementation, nutritional needs, pasture management
  • Agronomy – crop growth and harvest, storage
  • Irrigation and water supply – ensuring adequate water is available for livestock and/or feed crops
  • Waste management – disposing of or utilising livestock waste
  • Animal behaviour – handling and working with animals, managing infant care
  • Breeding practices – how to get the most out of a breed, choosing appropriate pairings, species selection
  • Animal health care – identifying ill heath, diseases, preventative health care, first aid
  • Business management – maintaining a business, administration, enterepeneurship, bookkeeping, maintaining relationships with vendors
  • Marketing – sales and transport, showing stock at trade shows

Starting a Career

There are many different paths to becoming a farm animal supplier.

Ways to get started include:

  • Apprenticing to, or doing work experience with a farm animal supplier or livestock agent
  • Attending trade shows and agricultural fairs
  • Talking to producers at local markets, going on farm tours
  • Volunteering at an agricultural vet or other livestock care practice
  • Set up a small boutique farm at home, or work with a community garden or community supported agriculture organisation

Progressing a Career

Careers progress by continually improving your capacity to do the work, and awareness of the diverse opportunities that exist. Strive to:

  • Develop networking - join industry bodies, read industry media, develop strong business relationships
  • Broaden and deepen experience - attend auctions, embrace new opportunities, attend shows
  • Learn - formally through CPD courses, informally, attend workshops,

This type of work is diverse, and there are flexible options for people willing to invest in learning and networking.  These may include:

  • Biosecurity officer or monitor
  • Stock agent
  • Farm manager
  • Breed specialist or consultant
  • Animal supplier/breeder
  • Industry representative