It was third time’s a charm for Murray Bennett, who was humbled to win the Victorian Young Auctioneer of the Year.
The 25 year-old works at Landmark Wangaratta and has been selling livestock for about four years, including in the weekly fat markets and Wangaratta’s monthly store sale.
It was the third time he had entered the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association’s (ALPA) Young Auctioneers Competition and made the finals.
On Monday he topped a field of 10 finalists from throughout Victoria, who were chosen after ALPA’s auctioneers school in Bendigo in June.
Mr Bennett was the first finalist to sell his lot of three pens of prime cattle at the Victorian Livestock Exchange at Pakenham, in front of a large crowd of major livestock buyers, local producers, other agents and the contestants’ family and friends.
Elders livestock operations manager Ron Rutledge was one of the three industry judges, and he said the scores were particularly close.
Mr Rutledge, Landmark Leongatha livestock co-ordinator Eddie Hams, and Rodwells Wodonga manager Peter Ruaro made up the judging panel, and they scored the finalists on their voice, diction, price and manner.
It was Mr Rutledge’s first time judging the Victorian final and he said the skills of the young people was very high.
“The industry is in good hands; anyone of the 10 (finalists) would have had the winning run on the day,” he said.
Mr Bennett said he was humbled to be sashed the winner as the level of competition was very high.
“I want to thanks the Landmark team, especially Daniel Fischer, Hayden Roders and Laura Nankervis for their support. Thanks also to the other competitors, ALPA, the buyers and vendors,” he said.
“There is heaps of support for upcoming auctioneers. Andy (Madigan, ALPA’s cheif executive officer) and his crew are fantastic.”
Mr Bennett aspires to continue improving his auctioneering skills.
“You never stop learning and I’m only starting.”
His connection to farming in the North East runs deep – Mr Bennett is the fifth generation and sixth generation on his mother and father’s sides of the family respectively to farm at Everton and Bowmans Forest.
This year’s runner-up was also from the north-east. Joe Allen was born and bred in Euroa and works for the local Elders branch. He has been selling livestock for about a year, and sells cattle and sheep weekly in Euroa, Shepparton and Yea.
Mr Allen made his ALPA young auctioneers competition debut this year.
He said he was a bit nervous before selling his three pens and wants to continue to develop as an auctioneer and agent.
VENDORS & BUYERS
Everitt, Seeley and Bennetts’ Jarrod Bennetts emceed the event and said the ALPA Young Auctioneers Competition Victorian final was only possible thanks to the support of vendors and buyers.
The Seebeck family, Berwick, were again among the producers to provide cattle for the finalists to sell.
Their pen of three Limousin-Red Angus cross, yearling steers were judged the top grain fed pen by Robert Radford, Rodfords Warragul.
“It’s a feather in our cap to win the ribbon,” Bernie Seebeck said, adding he hadn’t expected it.
The family also donated another Limousin-cross steer that as auctioned by last year’s Victorian young auctioneer champion Toby Newham, Elders Swan Hill.
The steer was knocked down to Coles for $5000, which will be donated to The John Logan Foundation, which financially supports people living with cancer throughout Australia. The charity contributes to prescribed treatments not available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Money was also raised the night before at the dinner to celebrate the event. Read more about that event here.
Coles also purchased the highest priced lot sold in the young auctioneers competition.
Coles national livestock manager for beef Steph Rennie said his team was at ALPA Queensland young auctioneers’ final at the Ekka in Brisbane last month and tried to support as many of the event throughout the country as possible.
The other major ribbon that Mr Radford awarded was the grass fed champion, which was awarded to Kaduna Park, Officer.
Mr Radfors said although more animals were being sold directly to feedlots and abattoirs, the saleyard auction system was a vital consideration of setting those pricing grids.
He said it was a privilege for Gippsland to host the state championshi pin the ALPA Young Auctioneers Competition.
The other buyers who supported the sale included but were not limited to Cardinia Meat Company in Warragul, meat wholesaler Vince Nativo, Hardwicks of Kyneton, O’Connors of Pakenham, and Westside Meats of Bacchus Marsh.