Melbourne based wool buyer Madison Gallagher was glowing after placing in the senior paraders at her first Herefords Australia National Youth Heifer Expo.
Madison, 22, grew up in Heyfield, Victoria, with no family background in farming but went on to complete an agricultural science and commerce degree at La Trobe University.
She was encouraged to attend the 2022 Herefords Australia National Youth Heifer Expo at Wodonga on July 6-9 by the Sykes family.
“Literally every single thing I’ve done since I got here (to the Expo) has been new – from how to prepare, lead and judge an animal,” Madison said.
“It’s good to be able to talk the talk with farmers, and having confidence in your knowledge helps with confidence and credibility in front of farmers.”
Madison fell in love with agriculture after taking part in the National Merino Challenge in Sydney where she networked, opening doors to opportunities.
She discovered a natural talent for picking different qualities in wool and the renewable aspect of the fibre appealed.
Madison secured a position as a wool buyer with international wool buying and broking company Segard Masurel, based in Melbourne.
“There are a few other young women in this sector and that number is definitely growing – even though it is still male dominated, the industry is open to young women starting,” she said.
Madison values catalogues of wool samples provided by brokers each Monday, followed by two to three days of auctions to bid and batch together wool to fill orders, finishing the week valuing clips.
“We are dealing with overseas agents and sell wool to mills rather than interacting with growers. It is a very volatile market at the moment with the shipping constraints, fire in a Chinese mill and the Ukraine-Russia war delivering surprises,” she said.
“It is definitely challenging but you just have to adapt, and it’s about working as an industry to figure out the best way forward.
“The shipping issues have caused increased storage and freight costs. It’s a good time for young people to come into the industry and face those challenges as it is a great learning opportunity how to deal with the extra pressure.”
Madison said the job enabled her to learn many commercial skills adaptable to a variety of jobs, including currency, trading, the economy, and commodity markets.