He’s been a dairy farmer, worked on a cattle station in the Northern Territory and in studs, and even taught inmates how to milk cows.
But it was at Rennylea Angus stud, Culcairn, where Peter Govan was at home, and next month, after 17 dedicated years, he will venture on to new pastures.
Mr Govan, along with his wife Sue and two daughters, first came to work with the Corrigan family at Rennylea stud as a property manager.
It was a very different set-up in 2001, with Bryan and Lucinda Corrigan running 4000 Merinos at “Ellerslie Park”, one of the family’s properties, and selling up to 200 Angus bulls a year by private treaty.
Mr Govan was involved with selling bulls to clients, saying “it took a lot of time” getting bulls in for each individual client.
He said he still remembers his very first sale, where the Corrigan family were away, and a client needed some bulls right away.
But from here, Mr Govan saw the business begin to grow. The sheep were sold and the bulls were moved to “Ellerslie Park”, and slowly but surely, Mr Govan became an integral part of bull sales.
“I sort of eased in. It took the pressure off Bryan and Lucinda. We’ve always had a great relationship,” he said
Today he is the bull unit manager for the stud, which sells about 550 bulls a year.
But Mr Govan didn’t start his career with Angus cattle.
He actually began with a dairy apprenticeship, and then he headed to the Northern Territory to work on a cattle station.
He then worked for Mandalong Studs, which is where he first became involved in the beef stud industry, before venturing into a very different field.
He began working in corrective services at Emu Plains, NSW, which owned a dairy farm. Here he worked with the inmates and taught them about dairy farming.
“A lot of these guys had very limited skillsets and our goal was to improve their skills by the time they were released,” he said.
After this, he and Sue share farmed a dairy farm on the Mid North Coast, before heading to Rennylea.
Mr Govan plays a very important role in the stud in pasture management, animal husbandry and dealing with clients, such as helping out with any issues that may arise. He also helps advise clients on bull purchases.
Over time his job has taken him on the road a lot, making 80 per cent of the bull deliveries after many sales.
“That is the great part about this business – meeting people and getting to know them and their operation” he said.
Mr Govan said there had been many highlights over the past 17 years, including successfully conducting 26 bull auctions between 2004 and 2017 and selling two bulls at Rennylea’s last sale for $38,000 and $36,000 to Booroomooka stud, Bingara.
He has also enjoyed watching the family business evolve. “Watching the Corrigan family grow into the business is an absolute highlight,” he said. “And meeting so many people, whether they are agents, clients, people you work with – they are great people.”
And where will Mr Govan be venturing next?
“We are building our own house west of Culcairn, where we will run a contract herd of 120 Rennylea breeders,” he said. “There will always be a continuing relationship with Bryan and Lucinda.”
It comes as no surprise that Mr Govan has also been approached by a number of clients to help with their female and bull selection, and with marketing.
“Hopefully I can utilise a lot of the skills I’ve acquired over time, and help out the commercial guys,” he said.
Mr Govan also breeds Collie dogs, and is looking forward to spending more time training and trialling them.
Rennylea’s bull sale on March 13 will be Mr Govan’s last sale working for the stud, something he has mixed feelings about.
“I’m looking forward to it, but there will be a bit of sadness,” he said. “I must say thank you to the Corrigan family for taking that initial step and taking us on.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to work in a family business with such integrity and respect within the industry.”