Analyst Intel

3 July 2020

ACROSS THE RAILS | Hanging up the phone after five decades

By Suz Bremner

After 31 years based at the Rangiuru sale yards, PGG Wrightson agent Neil Penman decided it was time to hang up the phone on his stock agent career, one that has spanned nearly five decades.

Te Kuiti born and bred, in 1972 he started his career as a clerk for Dalgety’s at just 19 and said the highlight was being given a new car. “The biggest bonus was the new car. How many 19-year-olds at that time got to drive around in a brand new car?”

After nearly three years in Paeroa and Te Puke a stint overseas and a period outside of the industry followed. He was enticed back in 1989 when he started his lengthy stay in Bay of Plenty, which included selling on behalf of clients at the Rangiuru sale yards each week. 

The highlight over that period was the introduction of the weigh scales and liveweight selling about 20 years ago. “Around that time many of the satellite sale yards were shut down with livestock trucked to a central point – that being the Rangiuru sale yards. The weigh system was installed and was a real game-changer though it did take some getting used to with a number of late nights in those early days as the system was learnt and mistakes were made.” New compliance procedures were not met with quite so much enthusiasm but were necessary to keep the industry moving forward. “Systems such as Nait certainly have their place but have created some headaches over the years.”

While the stock agent tie has been put away Neil remains in the industry, taking up a spot on the team that runs Ao Marama, a big dairy farm in Te Puke. While he will miss the comradery and person-to-person contact that came with the stock agent role it was time for a change. “It was your own business inside a business so came with a huge amount of responsibility to keep turning the wheels every day. I am looking forward to being able to switch-off at the end of the day.”