Making the move into livestock consulting
17 June 2022
After starting out as a vet in WA’s Great Southern region, Bridie Luers was looking for a new challenge in the livestock consultancy space. In a short space of time, she won a bursary with Meat & Livestock Australia’s Livestock Advisor Updates (LAU) and commenced a new role with Nutrien Ag Solutions.
We sat down with Bridie to find out more about her jump to consultancy from clinical veterinary work, the challenges she faced and the opportunities that she sees for other young vets and consultants.
Thank you so much Bridie for sitting down with us. To start with, tell us about your prior job as a vet?
Thanks for having me. I studied at Murdoch University in Perth for 6 years and graduated there as a veterinarian. Following this I landed a job at a rural mixed practice in the Great Southern where I spent two years.
I enjoyed many aspects of my job dealing with animals of all shapes and sizes, but was looking for more. On top of the more hands-on work with livestock, I have always been interested in the economic aspect of livestock production. I wanted a challenge and to grow my expertise in livestock consultancy, so I signed up to MLA’s LAU.
How did you hear about Livestock Advisor Updates?
While I was working as a vet, a local sheep consultant suggested I get involved with LAU after I expressed interest in his work as a consultant. Once I dug into it, I knew it wasn’t an opportunity that I could pass up, so I applied for a bursary and fortunately won it.
How was the jump from being a vet to being a consultant?
It has been an interesting transition between the two professions, but have found the different roles to be closely linked. LAU and MLA certainly helped me along the way through lots of interesting seminars and discussions by key players in the consultancy space, many of them vets like myself.
Have there been any transferable skills?
Absolutely! My knowledge around animal health, which has come from my previous study and time in practice, has been a competitive point of difference for myself. Also my experience with disease investigation and management has been a great asset to be able to provide value to my clients. .
What have been the biggest challenges?
As it is a small industry here in WA, initially I wasn’t sure who I could turn to for advice and where I could find potential mentors/employers who were doing a role I could see myself enjoying
To get past this I worked on just taking the plunge and giving people a call to ask questions, that’s helped me broaden my network and build a steady pool of people to learn from and liaise with in my day-to-day work.
You were a bursary recipient in 2020 and then became a presenter at the LAU in 2021, how did you step up to take that role?
Being selected for a bursary and then a presenter at LAU the following year was a massive honour for myself. It was certainly intimidating to be speaking to a room full of consultants, and some of my university lecturers, considering I was among them as a recipient the year prior. However, the experience was amazing, and I learned a lot by speaking with likeminded professionals at LAU.
What would you recommend for other people looking to step up into the consulting world?
Having confidence to ask questions and seek out mentors, they have helped me immensely throughout my career so far. I’ve found that people are more than willing to help out if you ask and there is so much opportunity in the livestock industry at the moment.
What’s next for you?
In the short term, I’m aiming to build up my client base and continue to improve my knowledge and skills in livestock production. .
Going forward, I'd love to be able to continue working in the livestock advisory space whilst being able to combine that with a bit more of my clinical skills as a vet.
The ultimate goal is to run my own business and my own livestock, that’s certainly the dream.