Agent and stud master makes own luck

Young agent Alkira Riley is creating her own luck

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GO GETTER: Alkira Riley doesn't just believe she can do anything. Nothing stops this 23-year-old livestock agent and new studmaster.

GO GETTER: Alkira Riley doesn't just believe she can do anything. Nothing stops this 23-year-old livestock agent and new studmaster.

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At the tender age of 23, the unstoppable Alkira Riley is building two careers at once.

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"I don't think much holds me back," says the quietly spoken Alkira Riley.

The 23-year-old livestock agent and stud master from Hallston near Leongatha is unstoppable.

In the space of a couple of weeks, she drove to Queensland to inspect a mob of elite Angus cattle, arranged the paperwork, got her truck licence, convinced a friend to drive his truck to Queensland with her to collect them, drove 45 hours as a tag team and was back at work in the saleyards the next day.

It all sounds a little rushed until Ms Riley explains just how well prepared this young woman is for the dual careers of livestock agent and stud master.

Brought up on her family's dairy farm with her still-active 91-year-old grandmother Fay Riley for inspiration, Ms Riley has farming in her blood.

"I've always enjoyed farming but not milking, which is why I imagined myself farming beef," she said.

When her father, Steve Riley, decided to appoint managers to run the farm, Ms Riley saw her chance to step up.

"He used Angus mop-up bulls over our Friesian cows and it was going to be too much for the managers to rear them all so I said I'd do it so long as he let me keep all the heifer calves," she said.

In the first year, Ms Riley bucket reared 100 poddy calves with great success.

"I could use milk from the farm and I got very good money from the just-weaned calves," she said.

It was a visit from friend and livestock agent Jack Ginnane to inspect her Angus-cross weaners that changed Alkira's life.

"I thought 'I could do that' and asked how you become a livestock agent," she said.

"It was perfect timing - Landmark had a busy period and I got some work.

"I kept sending a text through each week and they kept inviting me to come in.

"I was obviously okay because now I'm full-time there."

Perfect timing also allowed Ms Riley to establish her own stud, Alkira Angus.

"I'd called Andrew Bryant to find out how he'd established a top stud and bred Australia's number 1 EBV bull, Clunes Crossing Dusty," she said.

"He'd been a great mentor over a few months and I'd inquired about embryos, so when he let me know he was selling his stud, I was keen."

The mob of 17 stud cattle fuels Ms Riley's ambition to "breed Australia's best bulls" but she says she is focused on her career as a livestock agent.

"I'll keep the stud ticking over," Ms Riley said.

"But my first priority it to be a livestock agent - there are long days, the phone is always ringing and things happen very quickly.

"Having my own skin in the game definitely makes me a better agent."

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