6 Tips to Become Livestock Agent

Livestock Agent

Livestock Agent: Livestock agents work for clients to help them buy or sell farm animals, such as cattle or pigs.

These professionals typically have a background in the agricultural business and experience working with livestock to help them assess the quality of these animals.

If you have an interest in agriculture and enjoy working with animals.

You may want to learn more about livestock agents and how to become one.

What is a livestock agent?

A livestock agent, also known as a livestock buyer, is an agricultural professional who manages the buying and selling of farm animals, such as cattle, poultry or pigs.

They work on behalf of their clients, which may include farmers, ranchers, meat processing plants, or other companies that use animal products.

They travel to various auctions to assess the health and quality of livestock, estimate profit values and make purchases for clients.

These agents follow market trends closely so they can advise their clients about livestock to purchase.

What do livestock agents do?

Livestock agents often act as a liaison between a seller and their clients to facilitate the purchase of livestock.

While their responsibilities may vary based on the agricultural industry in their area, these professionals typically have the following duties:

  • Identify opportunities to purchase livestock and visit farms to evaluate the condition of animals for sale

  • Assess the value of livestock and negotiate prices with sellers to get the best deal for their client

  • Assist with preparing contracts and answering clients’ questions about the sales agreement

  • Arrange the transportation of animals to their clients

  • Communicate with clients to understand their livestock needs and make recommendations on purchases

  • Follow market trends and stock prices to stay updated on current conditions

  • Attend auctions to buy and sell livestock for their clients

  • Maintain purchasing records and prepare sales reports for their company or agency

The work environment for livestock agents

Many livestock agents are self-employed and work directly for their clients, such as farm owners or managers.

Others work for companies that purchase livestock for their operations, such as food production companies or grocery stores.

These agents may travel often for their work to attend auctions for their clients.

Their work hours can vary when attending auctions or meeting with clients who may want to meet in the evenings or on weekends.

Livestock agents spend much of their time outdoors while inspecting livestock.

hough they also complete some office work, such as preparing reports and researching market trends.

Livestock Agent

Average salary and career outlook for livestock agents

While average salary data is unavailable specifically for livestock agents.

There is information about the earning potential for purchasing agents.

Which includes livestock agents. Purchasing agents earn an average salary of $44,444 per year.

Their average salaries can vary based on geographic location, employer and experience.

Typically, livestock agents can increase their average salaries as they gain experience in the field.

Self-employed agents may also have a higher earning potential than those working for a company or agency because they can set their own client rates.

Livestock Agent

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects limited employment growth for purchasing agents, managers, and buyers over the next decade.

Still, the agency predicts employers to have about 45,800 job openings each year for these professionals.

These positions are likely to become available as others in the industry transition to new areas of the workforce or retire, according to the BLS.

Some businesses may also have an increased demand for livestock agents to help them purchase livestock to sell animal products to customers.

How to become a livestock agent

Here are the steps you can take to become a livestock agent:

1. Earn a high school diploma

For many employers, a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for livestock agent jobs.

While in high school, take a variety of courses to help prepare you for a job in this field.

Such as biology, mathematics, animal science, and business.

Some high schools offer agricultural programs that can help you learn more about agriculture, food, and natural resources.

Joining these programs can also help you enhance your college applications.

If you choose to pursue a degree.

Livestock Agent

2. Consider a degree

While an associate or bachelor’s degree is optional for many livestock agent jobs, some employers may require this education, such as food production companies.

Earning a degree can help you learn more about agricultural processes and develop skills to be successful as a livestock agent, such as business management.

Most livestock agents choose to earn a degree in agronomy, animal science, agricultural business or a related area.

While completing these programs, you can expect to take courses in a range of areas to prepare you for working in the agricultural industry.

Some examples of courses you may take include:

  • Agronomy

  • Animal nutrition

  • Agricultural policy

  • Agricultural business management

  • Animal breeding

  • Business communication

  • Agricultural futures trading

  • Reproduction of farm animals

  • Meat science

  • Fundamentals of accounting

  • Food science and human nutrition

Livestock Agent

3. Gain experience

It’s helpful to gain experience working with livestock to help you learn how to evaluate the quality of these animals.

Some livestock agents may have this experience because they grew up on a family farm with animals.

Others can find entry-level roles assisting local farmers or ranchers in their area.

Look for internships or apprenticeships that involve working directly with animals, such as farm workers.

This experience can help you become familiar with animal husbandry.

Which is the practice of raising and breeding farm animals for food production or other purposes.

Livestock Agent

4. Develop skills

There are many skills that can help you become a successful livestock agent.

Developing some of these soft skills can help you perform many jobs tasks, such as building relationships with farmers or negotiating the sale prices of animals.

If you want to improve some of these skills, search for online courses or workshops in your area. Some skills that you can work to develop include:

  • Communication: Livestock agents communicate with many people for their work, such as farmers, ranchers, managers, and sellers.

  • Communication skills can help them make recommendations to clients about livestock to purchase and ask questions to sellers about the condition of their animals.

  • Interpersonal: It’s important for livestock agents to earn their clients’ trust so they can continue to represent them on their livestock purchases.

  • These agents can use interpersonal skills, such as dependability and active listening, to understand their clients’ needs and build positive relationships with them.

    Livestock Agent

  • Research: Many livestock agents perform market research, such as studying stock prices, to determine trends and advise their clients on purchasing options.

  • They can use research skills to search for information, analyze various sources and communicate their findings to clients.

  • Negotiation: Livestock agents often seek to find the best deal for their clients.

  • These skills can help them persuade sellers to lower their prices or negotiate other terms of a purchasing agreement.

  • Decision-making: When attending auctions, livestock agents may have limited time to evaluate the available livestock.

  • They can use these skills to act quickly and make informed, reasonable decisions about the livestock to recommend for their clients.

Livestock Agent

5. Join a professional association

Though unnecessary to find employment as a livestock agent.

There are many benefits to becoming a member of a professional agricultural association.

These groups can help you meet other agents and expand your professional network, which may help you find jobs or gain professional references.

Many associations offer courses or certifications that can help you learn new skills.

Listing a membership to an association on your resume can also help you distinguish yourself from other job candidates.

Some groups you may consider joining include the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers or the American Society of Animal Science.

Livestock Agent

6. Tailor your resume

Once you’re ready to apply for livestock agent jobs, update your resume to reflect your relevant skills and experience.

Read through the job description and use some of the same keywords on your resume to help you pass an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Feature your relevant work experience prominently on your resume so employers can see you have the necessary qualifications for the role.

If you’re a recent graduate, include any relevant coursework you completed to prepare you for livestock agent jobs.

Make sure the skills you include on your resume align with those listed in the job description.

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