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Livestock Agent

Livestock agents arrange the buying and selling of livestock for slaughter or farming. They also give farmers advice on livestock, farming supplies and livestock market trends.


Tasks & duties


Livestock agents may do some or all of the following:

  • visit farms to assess the weight and condition of animals that may be ready for sale
  • receive orders for stock from meat processing plants
  • telephone farmers and other clients
  • plan and arrange work for the week
  • assess the value of livestock
  • buy and sell livestock on farms and at auctions on behalf of clients
  • draft prime stock (sort stock into groups) for meat processing or export companies
  • keep records of the sale of livestock
  • arrange transport for animals to farms, auction yards or meat processing plants
  • advise farmers about market trends and new stock prices
  • attend sales or stock auctions
  • act as an auctioneer at sales
  • sort animals once they are in the stockyards
  • arrange the sale and purchase of stock for fattening
  • advise clients on genetic improvement


Skills & knowledge


Livestock agents need to have:

  • knowledge of farm management
  • knowledge of stock breeds, stock classes and stock health
  • the ability to classify and price stock
  • animal handling skills
  • knowledge of market values and trends, and how climatic conditions affect stock prices
  • knowledge of the standards required to sell animals
  • knowledge of auctioneering
  • sales and negotiation skills, including the ability to persuade farmers to sell at the right time
  • good communication and people skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • record-keeping skills
  • problem-solving skills


Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements to become a livestock agent, but knowledge of farm management and livestock and/or a tertiary qualification in agriculture, commerce or farm management is useful. A driver’s licence is usually required.


Secondary education

There are no specific secondary educational requirements; however, Bursary or NCEA-equivalent English and maths may be useful.


Tertiary education

A tertiary qualification in agriculture, commerce or farm management may be useful for becoming a livestock agent/buyer.


Training on the job

Livestock agents learn many skills on the job. Employers usually train new livestock agents/buyers in different areas of farming, livestock characteristics and livestock sales before sending them out in the field.

They may also complete courses through the Agriculture Industry Training Organisation.


Related courses

Farm Management and Agribusiness

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