Brad Faithfull
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Brad Faithfull

GIVE THE MAN A GAVEL

PUT some wool, livestock or anything else in front of him and a gavel in his hand and Westcoast Wool & Livestock WA Wool Manager Brad Faithfull will be happy.

Just keep him out of the ocean – he’s a bit shy of the fins!

After younger dreams of being a “stockie’’, Brad’s early days in the wool industry started at wool school in the late 80s, when he also collected a certificate in agriculture as well as in wool classing.

He worked in shearing teams before joining Elders in 1989, starting in store logistics and later rising to the technical team and commencing his auctioneering.

Brad’s days as a shareholder with Westcoast kicked-off in 2000, when the company also launched wool brokering.   

Today, not much gets between him and his passion for wool, livestock and the business, except for his wife, Kelli, a 1967 XR Fairmont V8, football and a bit of Neflix binge watching to avoid the constant negative news (and not necessarily in that order!).

The football fanaticism starts with the West Coast Eagles, then heading to Peel Thunder, his local Halls Head Football Club and finally the Pingelly Brookton Panthers.

Based at Westcoast’s head office at Bibra Lake, Brad looks forward to the company continuing to become a driving force in the WA wool and livestock industry and significantly boosting its market share.

 

Brad with a couple of his passions…among others!

As an Australian-owned company, he sees an exciting future ahead for the business, with a tight-knit team that has created a welcoming and flexible environment.

Brad says it has been an experience to witness the rise and fall of the wool industry during his time, and particularly the big rise two years ago to a strong commodity position once again.

At his heart though, he just thrives on knowing that a customer is satisfied with the outcome of his sale, whether it be wool or livestock.

And if that happens to also take him past the BP Roadhouse at Williams for one of their great sandwiches and renowned service – all the better!

Danny Ryan
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Danny Ryan

THE METICULOUS COIN COLLECTOR!

IF you get to know a little bit about Danny Ryan, an interesting paradox may come to mind!

The young boy who had his eyes set on being a professional motocross rider also had a strong penchant for collecting coins, still one of his most treasured possessions today.

Perhaps the latter is an insight into the meticulous way he goes about his work with Westcoast Wool & Livestock, where even the volume knob on the car stereo has to be set on an even number.

It might also cause you to catch a breath if a snake crosses your path or you suddenly find yourself at great heights, but it’s been one of the positive character traits in Danny, a wool auctioneer of the year winner.

It flows through to having a good work ethic with everything you do as well, not to say Danny doesn’t enjoy some of the things the rest of us humans do – a special interest in the ‘ponies’, a good steak sanger at the ‘Badgi’ Roadhouse and the odd binge on Netflix.

Plus, there’s always a good laugh to be had somewhere in our industry. Danny recalls some staff bonding over a few beers when a workmate lodged a stubbed cigarette behind his ear. Soon after, a strange smell pervaded the room – yep, his hair was on fire!

Danny is celebrating 30 years in the wool industry and has chalked up 13 of those with Westcoast Wool & Livestock.

With a wool classing and sheep certificate in his pocket, it all started in shearing sheds, classing wool. Then came the transition to wool stores, into a wool technical team, and later to conducting wool sales and auctioneering

An unabashed AFL Eagles supporter, Danny is aiming for the namesake Westcoast Wool & Livestock to become another industry powerhouse, which he says will be a product of hard work, strong passion, sound decision-making and building a great team.

He is looking forward to the pathway ahead, where he also expects protein will increasingly become “king’’ in the global marketplace.

Danny enjoying a couple of his passions.

With a wool classing and sheep certificate in his pocket, it all started in shearing sheds, classing wool. Then came the transition to wool stores, into a wool technical team, and later to conducting wool sales and auctioneering

An unabashed AFL Eagles supporter, Danny is aiming for the namesake Westcoast Wool & Livestock to become another industry powerhouse, which he says will be a product of hard work, strong passion, sound decision-making and building a great team.

He is looking forward to the pathway ahead, where he also expects protein will increasingly become “king’’ in the global marketplace.

‘Rattle your dags’ for Boyup Brook DHS
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‘Rattle your dags’ for Boyup Brook DHS

‘DAGS for Scallywags’ has been a little catchcry in the Boyup Brook area in recent years to help raise important funds for the local high school and has been circulating again this season.

The funds have previously supported school camps and while the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to those this year, it remains invaluable to prepare for similar events hopefully returning in 2021.

Coordinated by the Boyup Brook District High School Parents and Citizens Association (P&C) and WA-owned company, Westcoast Wool & Livestock, #DagsforScallywags encourages local growers to donate their wool oddments and dags.

 

Westcoast Wool & Livestock has been a proud supporter of the Boyup Brook District High School, raising funds for the school via donations of wool oddments and dags to its local store.

Westcoast’s local livestock agent, Brenton Tynan, said it was easy for growers to get involved in the dag drive and contribute vital funds to the school.

“They can drop-off any wool oddments and dry dags, bagging Merino wool separately to crossbred wool, at our store in the main street of Boyup Brook,’’ Brenton said.

 

“We are also happy to collect any donations on-farm.’’

Wool and dag donations are then transferred to Westcoast’s Katanning store, which, as the only regional Australian Wool Testing Authority-accredited wool handling and testing facility in WA, also offers significant freight savings to the region’s growers. The wool is later taken to the company’s main store in Bibra Lake.

The P&C receives payment for the total weighted donations and by-product, with Westcoast on-selling the wool component. The by-product is a unique, high-quality and weed-free pelletised sheep manure produced via the company’s dag crushing machinery and pelletising plant.

Dags are processed through a hammermill and crushed, separating the wool from the manure before the pelletising process, which uses high heat to kill any remaining weed seeds.

The sheep manure pellets are available for purchase at the Boyup Brook Co-Op.

P&C President Georgia Wallace said despite the cancellation of camps and some other activities this year, she was pleased the dag drive could continue and raise vital funding that could accrue for next year.

“While the funds have generally supported the camps, it can be directed into other events and we are very grateful,’’ Georgia said.

“It’s a great community initiative and we hope people can get behind the funding drive once again.’’

Brenton said the dag drive through the Boyup Brook and surrounding area was one of many fundraising and sponsorship efforts by Westcoast Wool & Livestock throughout rural communities.

For more information on how growers can get involved, Brenton can be contacted on 0459 222 318.

Jeremy Cullen
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Jeremy Cullen

MILITARY PRECISION!

HAVE a chat with Jeremy Cullen and you will get the feel he is quite military in his outlook.

It’s not surprising when you come to understand he holds the rank of Corporal in the Australian Army Reserve at 11/28 RWAR Albany Depot.

Based at Albany with Westcoast Wool & Livestock and supporting wool growers through the Lower Great Southern, Jeremy wants to grow and harvest a 30-bale wool clip within five years and be farming in the near future. He is already running a few sheep and is keen on increasing the numbers.

Only one thing might haunt him with a farming future – his own superstition about rain!

Hailing from a wheat and sheep property at Canna, Jeremy is living with his wife on her family’s prime lamb property at Manypeaks. Together with his sheep and his flying sheep dog, they take up most of his personal focus, apart from spending some time with his mates in green with the Army Reserve, supporting efforts nation-wide, as well as playing some social tennis.

He also has a few other aims: Developing his knowledge and industry experience to offer superior wool and livestock services on behalf of Westcoast, thereby helping it become “the go to company’’ in this sector for growers. As part of this, he is targeting 1000 wool bales out of Albany for the business.

It’s a similar feel with his approach to work and life: “Just get on with the task at hand and make do with what you’ve got. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept,’’ Jeremy says.

It’s good to keep aiming high and moving forward, especially when you have a fear of falling!

Earlier TAFE studies as a Group Fitness Instructor and in Advanced First Aid also seem to add to the disposition, while he gained his wool classing qualification earlier this year as well.

Even the favourite TV shows of NCIS and Bondi Rescue still have a bit of “rallying the troops’’ feel about them. If it’s not those, the cricket or Freo Dockers might be on the telly, the latter mainly to “stir the pot’’.

But Jeremy just loves sheep and the wool job. He was on the handpiece with professional shearing teams in earlier times and still enjoys shearing a few, including his own.

“It can be a fickle industry at times, but it has a long history and without it, Australia would not be where it is today.’’

He says Westcoast is a fast developing, locally-owned company and its exporting division provides added capability when it comes to servicing growers and marketing their wool.

“The fact it is young, growing and achieving so much is exciting. The company has a vision, many goals in place and it’s exciting to be part of that, although I realise I’m one small cog in a very large machine.’’

On the road, there is never a dull moment either.

“I once threw a ball for a dog at a farmer’s shed and was told: ‘You’ve got yourself a dog now!’ Thirty minutes later down the road, the ruddy dog poked his head out to where I could see him, riding atop the wool on the back!’’

 

Someone was happy to go travelling with his wool rep!

Between the Westcoast wool stores, Jeremy probably has the longest Merino staple up on his fridge at Albany, measuring at 500 centimetres.

He’s also had to negotiate some wool bales with a mind of their own, including some fun when a 200-kilogram bale rolled off the ute tray and wedged itself between the ute, his trailer and the shed landing.

But it’s always within a good day’s work in wool. And if he’s getting to tuck-in to some of his wife’s leftover lasagne at lunch time – even better!

But Jeremy just loves sheep and the wool job. He was on the handpiece with professional shearing teams in earlier times and still enjoys shearing a few, including his own.

“It can be a fickle industry at times, but it has a long history and without it, Australia would not be where it is today.’’

He says Westcoast is a fast developing, locally-owned company and its exporting division provides added capability when it comes to servicing growers and marketing their wool.

“The fact it is young, growing and achieving so much is exciting. The company has a vision, many goals in place and it’s exciting to be part of that, although I realise I’m one small cog in a very large machine.’’

On the road, there is never a dull moment either.

“I once threw a ball for a dog at a farmer’s shed and was told: ‘You’ve got yourself a dog now!’ Thirty minutes later down the road, the ruddy dog poked his head out to where I could see him, riding atop the wool on the back!’’

Between the Westcoast wool stores, Jeremy probably has the longest Merino staple up on his fridge at Albany, measuring at 500 centimetres.

He’s also had to negotiate some wool bales with a mind of their own, including some fun when a 200-kilogram bale rolled off the ute tray and wedged itself between the ute, his trailer and the shed landing.

But it’s always within a good day’s work in wool. And if he’s getting to tuck-in to some of his wife’s leftover lasagne at lunch time – even better!

Stephen Keatley
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Stephen Keatley

HE MIGHT NOT BE ON THE OPEN SEAS, BUT HE'S STILL STEERING HIS OWN SHIP - AND CATCHING A FEW!!

RUNNING a Brookton wool and livestock operation might be a far cry from some of the early childhood dreams of sailing the open seas as a ship’s captain, but Stephen Keatley is still at the helm of his own domain and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Of course, farming was also in the dreams and he has remained pretty close to that.

Stephen has chalked-up three years with Westcoast Wool & Livestock in the Brookton, Pingelly and Narrogin areas, and it appears his destiny always was to carve out a career in this industry.

Hailing from Kojonup, he grew up living and breathing sheep and wool alongside his father, Kevin, who managed Hyfield Merino and Poll Merino stud.

This lit the fire and after graduating from Narrogin Agricultural College, gaining a Certificate II and III in Agriculture and later an owner wool classer stencil, Stephen initially took on a ‘stockie’ role before working at Willemenup Merino stud near Gnowangerup and then at Woolkabin Merino stud at Woodanilling.

In 2014, he completed the AWI Breeding Leadership course at Clare in South Australia and, just quietly, the passion has delivered some results along the way – State Wool Judge Winner in 2006 and National Wool Judge Runner-up in 2007.

Stephen strives to maintain very close connections and understanding with his clients, to assist their production where suitable and to help generate the most from it. The old adage, ‘don’t leave anything to chance’, has become a strong personal mantra.

He loves the fact Westcoast is WA-owned and managed, always on the front foot to have a crack, rather than holding back, and continues to grow from strength to strength. Recent investment in a new wool coring machine in Bibra Lake and the fact it is the only company with a core machine outside of Perth is testament to that.

 

Stephen says Westcoast also consistently adds young, motivated individuals to its team and this all points to further expansion on the cards. He plans to play his role in an effort to make a difference in the industry and further grow the company.

He sees exciting times ahead for wool and livestock. “The local industry is in a great position with state-of-the-art facilities at Muchea and Katanning, comparable to most in Australia, and with the full supply chain from producers to processors putting the right foot forward, the future is looking bright.’’

Away from the wool and livestock passion, Stephen services his other passions – family, football and fishing to name a few, plus anything else “ag-related’’. Even going for a casual drive will do, as long as there are no snakes about! Rather, a visit to the Brookton Deli or a good counter meal along the way would top it off.

He flies the flags of the Westcoast Eagles, Subiaco Lions and Brookton Pingelly Panthers, and doesn’t mind tuning into Formula 1 and V8 Supercars action, plus fishing shows. If not these, you can probably find him watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Shameless or Chicago Fire.

Glenn McGill
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Glenn McGill

TURN ON THE RACES AND GIVE THE MAN A MICROPHONE!!

OUT Bolgart way, Glenn McGill is a few furlongs in front of the rest when it comes to calling the ponies after a few frothies – just ask a couple of ‘regulars’ at ‘the local’.

As a nipper, Glenn had his sights set on being a race caller or footy commentator, and while he is most happy working in an industry his family has been steeped in for years, he still likes to extend the vocal cords on special occasions.

Glenn has been connected with quality wool production most of his life, influenced by key members of the McGill family, who were passionate about growing premium wool. His father, Ian, and his uncle, Frank, both had Merino studs and were well-known in the WA Merino industry.

In the late 70s, Glenn had plans to head to Muresk agricultural college, however the road turned toward wool classing and he then spent 30 years in shearing sheds across the State before joining Westcoast Wool & Livestock more than a decade ago.

He also mans the Bolgart store for the business and says the company is continuing to gather momentum, built on work ethics like his own – “doing everything properly with no short cuts’’.

Glenn has spent many years touring the region, although strangely, like some others in the industry, he fears running into ‘Joe Blakes’.

He also plans his travels strategically so he can return to home base and enjoy his wife’s home-made pies and sausage rolls, which, of course, beat anything on the road. It’s why he’ll say she is his most prized possession, alongside his Hawthorn Football Club membership.

Outside of watching the Hawks, as well as the Subiaco and Calingiri footy clubs, you’ll also find Glenn on the lawn bowling green.

The news is about the only other show on the telly he’ll tune into with his feet up, and the lotto numbers at the end of it. He watches everything else with his eyes closed!