FROM an early age, Luke Scicluna, General Manager at Davidson Cameron & Co (DCC) knew a career in agriculture was his calling.
"Growing up on a farm and always being around saleyards, it was something I wanted to do from a young age," he said.
By 15, Luke had already auctioned his first animal. It was only natural that he quickly found himself at Gunnedah-based rural property and livestock agency, DCC.
According to Luke, the business looked a little different 20 years ago.
"When I first joined, the company had five staff spread across two branches at Quirindi and Gunnedah. Today, DCC has 11 branches consisting of almost 50 staff."
Luke got the chance to take over the reins of the company following the retirement of founder Richard Cameron. It was an opportunity that he grabbed with both hands.
"When Dick (Cameron) retired, it was something that I certainly aspired to do; continue with the business and lead the future growth," Luke said.
As an agent, Luke is used to seeing his clients at their most vulnerable as they ride the unpredictability of seasonal weather conditions.
"Whether you're a livestock agent or rural property agent, it all comes down to relationships," he said. "You're dealing with people consistently throughout a 12-month period, and you're seeing them at the absolute highs and lows of farming."
"It's about being a part of their operations and getting them through those tough times."
For Luke, identifying talented young agents and developing their skillset gives him a great sense of pride. Tom Tanner, lead DCC auctioneer in Gunnedah, is one agent who, according to Luke, is the next generation for the business.
"Tom started from the very beginning without having much livestock experience but quickly embraced it," explained Luke. "One of Tom's greatest attributes is his personality and likeability which means people love doing business with him."
"Above all, Tom is a very good agent. He's innovative with his selling methods, he gives his clients multiple options and hits the phones to get the best price."
17-year-old Hamish Fauchon is another DCC agent making a stir at the Gunnedah branch.
"Hamish spends a lot of time with Powerhouse Pastoral and does a lot of the inducting work into the feedlot for them," he said. "It's great to see them happy to have a young trainee getting involved and it's a good stepping stone for Hamish."
One of the Luke's most recent accomplishments as general manager has been the partnership between Powerhouse Pastoral and DCC in developing their feedlot operations.
As little as three years ago, Powerhouse, a breeding enterprise in Nundle, weaned and sold 2,500 cattle. Through discussions with DCC, Powerhouse owner Greg Maguire with son Mitchell, acquired an additional property which required further cashflow and revenue.
DCC and Pastoral Powerhouse then decided to feedlot on the two Nundle properties which, over the last three years, has culminated in close to 2000 cattle on-feed every week of the year. The stock is then sold weekly to clients, Woolworths and a regional wholesaler in Cowra.
Mitchell Maguire said that the deal has been a massive success for Powerhouse Pastoral which has seen growth in the business since the relationship began.
"In terms of the feedlot, we've seen benefits via the longstanding relationships they have in the region and their buying power," Mitchell said.
"With the Davidson Cameron & Co banner, they cover a lot of areas and we're able to source cattle out of all those areas with their other clients."
"There's a pool of information out there, and in our business, you need to speak to the right people.
"We believe that knowledge is the strength of working with Davidson Cameron & Co."