New Westcoast Koorda rep attracts support

West Coast Wool and Livestock's new Koorda agent Derek Henning, who owns Agri-Stock.
Camera IconWest Coast Wool and Livestock's new Koorda agent Derek Henning, who owns Agri-Stock. Credit: West Coast Wool and Livestock/West Coast Wool and Livestock

Derek Henning has not taken the more traditional pathways to a stockie’s role, but his enthusiasm for developing an independent local service business in his home town of Koorda is capturing support from the area’s producers.

Mr Henning one of the fourth- generation members of the Henning family, who farm between Koorda and Cadoux, operates Agri-Stock at Koorda and was recently appointed an agent for expanding WA-owned business, Westcoast Wool & Livestock.

The Hennings run a cropping and livestock enterprise including Merino and Dohne sheep, and while Derek has always had a special interest in livestock and still helps out on the farm today, up until mid-2018 he was gaining experience in other industries.

He has a Bachelor of Commerce and Arts from Curtin University, with majors in International Business and Japanese, which he continued from secondary school before switching to Mandarin as Australia increased its trade with China.

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Graduating during the global financial crisis made it difficult to land a coveted commodity trading position, and Derek found work with a logistics company and a construction business before progressing to the medical industry with Stryker Corporation.

Mr Henning’s logistics and supply chain skills soon saw him also working with the sales team and assisting the company’s sites in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, as well as in Queensland.

However, it didn’t stop him from missing agriculture and the family, and he returned home to work with his father, Neil, and brother, Grant, before later taking advantage of the opportunity to acquire the local rural services business, where he thought he could apply his supply-chain experience.

“In country towns, as a consumer there can be limited products and services, so sometimes you have to travel to get them. I wanted to give people in my home town more opportunity to purchase things locally,’’ Mr Henning said.

“As a general stockist, we want to offer the full package and cater to the customer’s needs. There is a lot to learn and I am loving it.’’

He said he was grateful to have received a warm reception from the region’s producers.

“It is actually pretty humbling,” he said.

“They are keen to see the business do well. It is one thing to have an idea and see it come to fruition, but it is another to then see the support, which is great.’’

Mr Henning said he aimed to build a full, independent stockist business, and being appointed as an agent for Westcoast Wool & Livestock was an excellent fit.

He said he had always worked with his family’s sheep, including on various occasions with livestock adviser Paul Gatti, also with Westcoast Wool & Livestock. To contact Mr Henning, phone 0413 003 043.

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