It's been an incredible ride for Andrew Sloan, who has decided to pull up stumps after nearly five decades working as a stock agent and auctioneer around Victoria.
The widely respected agent has seen his fair share of land and country from Naracoorte, SA, to the US.
He recently retired from his role with Nutrien, with his last sale being the Murdeduke Angus' annual autumn bull on March 3.
And he's enjoyed every bit of his career, right from when he was a youngster.
"Even when I was at school, I was keen to go on dad's farm up until he sold it (so) I jackaroo'd (sic) for a number of years," Mr Sloan said.
"I then got a work permit for America and worked on a Corriedale sheep stud before heading onto cattle studs and did the show circuit around the major US shows."
Mr Sloan had big intentions for his career and was dedicated to broadening his knowledge about the industry while in the USA.
But it hit a minor snag when he came back to Australia.
"I had quite a good grounding over there and I did a course (with Carnation Farms) because I thought that might be a good way to get into agriculture back in Australia," he said.
"I came back to Australia and applied for a job... but they said 'oh no, we don't accept that.'
"I didn't get the job, but I had a few contacts in the agency game and I got a job with Dalgety not too long after in 1973."
He admits that he just wanted to "have a crack" at stock agency initially but found that continually challenging himself in the role brought good rewards.
His early years in Shepparton was when he thrived, learning about new Euro-based breeds and the expansion of the local industry throughout the northeast.
"The Limousins, Simmentals, Charolais were all slated to come into the country and I helped start those sales off, which was great to be a part of," he said
"We had a good facility in Shepparton which was built with the aid of some of the show society people there who worked hard to get grants off governments and we utilised it for all kinds of sales, from cattle to horse to even greyhound sales."
But with the highs, there also came the tough times.
"In the mid to late 70s stock prices got pretty bad and they were starting to shoot cattle, sheep and all the rest of it because no-one wanted them," he said.
"You had to pay to get your sheep taken in the yard... things got a bit depressed there."
But while that time was a fast learning curve, it also provided an opportunity for Mr Sloan to explore one of his other loves - travelling.
"I went overseas for around 18 months and got a leave of absence from Dalgety's which was probably good for them at the time because I wasn't working and there wasn't much work happening," he said.
When he returned in 1978, he found a market refreshed and saw himself travelling across the state for livestock markets, property and stud sales throughout Victoria.
Not too long after, Mr Sloan moved to Naracoorte to work for Bennetts Farmers, where he worked with farmers based in western Victoria and South Australia.
His skills were in such high demand Dalgety's were keen to hire him back.
"I remember once saying to the higher ups at Dalgety that 'you needed to buy the company to get me back' so they did!" he said.
Since then, he has based himself in Victoria and worked through many mergers, "from Wesfarmers Dalgety's, to Wesfarmers Landmark, all the way to Nutrien."
Nowadays, Mr Sloan believes farmers who persevered through the tough times saw their hard work finally coming to fruition.
He also credits the diversity in how stock is sold as the most exciting change he has seen, pointing to a huge rise of on-property sales across the state and where stock is sold.
"The good old Merino still seems to do very well throughout the years, but there are changes with where it's being sold," he said.
"Years ago if anyone wanted rams they'd go to the Riverina or South Australia but over the journey we've seen that particular breed and the marketing expanded with Marnoo rising as a Merino hub and Loddon Valley also in vogue."
He also points to the alpaca industry as an interesting area which has gone from strength to strength from the 90s, with big dispersal sales around Geelong, Ballarat and Healesville as well as the signature National sales which moved from place to place each year being held at venues such as the Exhibtion Building, Melbourne, Penrith Leagues Club, NSW, and Globe derby, SA.
He credited a good working relationship with Nutrien stock agent Wilson Beer with his interest in the breed
Mr Sloan also credits much of his career to teamwork and names workmates like Ray Attwell, Mike Pound, John Sinclair and David Marshall as integral to his career over the years.
The collaborative approach he has taken through his career has been met with respect with those he works with on a daily basis.
Mr Atwell has been working as his boss for the last 20 years, and highlighted Mr Sloan's passion for the alpaca industry as inspirational.
"He was really a huge believer in the alpaca industry across the nation, and I think he had a big part to play in the growth of that industry," Mr Atwell said.
"Along with that, he was always co-operative and diligent in his work and had no ego attached."
From an auctioneering point of Mr Sloan was also influential, according to Mr Atwell.
"Younger people wanting to get into the auctioneering space look up to him and he will be missed in that space," he said.
"He set a high standard for those young people and gave something for them to aim at too."
This praise also from people working for competitors as well - fellow Elders stock agent Ross Milne could not speak any higher of Mr Sloan.
"I would always see Andrew all the time and never really known a more humble and respected auctioneer," Mr Milne said.
Mr Milne always enjoyed Mr Sloan's company and credited his relationship building skills.
"Despite us working for different companies generally when we've been working together it's for the same client and that client relies on us to work effectively," he said.
"Working with Sloany has made it just so easy over the years in that respect."
Of course, the changes in technology in the industry have shaken up the way he has done business over the years too, a fair change from doing multi-vendor sales conjured up in his office.
"I did the advertising, I did all the cataloguing, sending the entries out - all that sort of stuff and probably the big change nowadays the vendors generally now do it themselves," he said.
"I'd dial people up with the old dial phone trying to get onto people and you'd be there till 11 o'clock at night half the time."
Despite the changes throughout the years, Mr Sloan believed much of his day-to-day work as a stock agent in the 70s and 80s still exists today, with good communication with vendors being an essential trait.
"Working with branches and their network is still essential, but a lot of that work is done just on texting phones nowadays," he said.
Along with that camaraderie which he speaks highly of, Mr Sloan advises young people looking for a career as a stock agent to get a genuine and diverse knowledge of the agriculture industry before getting into his line of work.
"I would like to see any person working in the stock and station industry have at least two years on a farm," he said.
"I know when I was in the job years ago, there were several people there that hadn't been on the farm at all, and you can see it in the way they react with livestock."
He also suggests that agents get auctioneering skills too early on in their careers, but above all that, he also encourages young agents to have a personality.
"You need to be able to get on with people, but also be honest," he said
"If somebody has asked me a question, the answer needs to be direct even though they might not like the answer sometimes.
"I think if you keep that mindset in this industry, you'll be respected for that."
In his retirement, Mr Sloan is keen to travel more and work on his farm in Geelong but said vendors could still see him in upcoming years.
"I might do a sale here and there, if I'm wanted - you never know."
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