By Leon Georgiou
REBECCA Barry has been in the agriculture business her entire life.
It is a background that should serve her well as she takes over as the manager of the Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange (NRLE).
Growing up on the family farm in The Wimmera, Victoria, Ms Barry said farming was in the blood.
“It’s something I’ve loved and been passionate about… it’s always been what I know because I was born and raised on a farm,” she said.
Unsurprisingly, Ms Barry went on to university to study Agricultural Sciences.
She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2006 and spent the next 12 years working as an agronomist and territory manager, with an interest in animal health.
In 2018, Ms Barry, together with her partner – who is also a livestock farmer – bought and sold various farms around the Limestone Coast and Western Victoria.
Eighteen months ago they moved to Apsley, near the Naracoorte border, to work a farming property there.
Ms Barry will take over from the previous NRLE manager, Richard James, who will retire on July 7, after 41 years in the role.
The fact Mr James was in the position for so long was one of the factors that drew Ms Barry to apply for the job.
“This position isn’t something that comes up very often and I thought it would be a good challenge for me, professionally,” Ms Barry said.
“It’s [also an] opportunity to be able to continue all of the work that Richard has done with having a fabulous facility and being able to grow it and help local producers market their stock.”
Whilst it’s still too early to speak of future plans, Ms Barry is keen to keep improving the saleyard’s facilities.
In particular, she would like to upgrade some of the infrastructure from wood into steel, which would help improve animal welfare, along with the ongoing management of effluent treatment.
As for market trends, Ms Barry feels confident of the market conditions heading into the second half of the year.
“I think that it will continue to be strong… In terms of yarding, the cattle number here at Naracoorte is fairly steady. But there’s been an increase in sheep yarding this financial year. So I think that it is trending in a fairly positive way,” she said.