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True to his rural heritage

HARD YARDS: JBS cattle buyer John Norris at the sales yesterday. PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY
HARD YARDS: JBS cattle buyer John Norris at the sales yesterday. PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY

JOHN Norris has the gift of the gab - and an eye for cattle.

He is a buyer for JBS, the world's largest meat protein producer.

And his dulcet tones have rung out over PA systems across the country from strawberry festivals to local campdrafts.

"I'll announce at anything... if they want me to call a goanna race, I'll do it," he laughs.

"It's another hobby... another way of life."

Mr Norris has announced on the show circuit for 32 years, while cattle buying has kept him busy with the same company for 39 years.

At 17, a young Mr Norris attended a radio course, and was offered a job at a station near Roma.

But his rural upbringing prompted him to stay true to his roots and turn down the position.

"I just wanted to work with cattle," he said.

"I started as an auctioneer at MacTaggarts in Brisbane when I was 17."

Three years later, Mr Norris jumped the fence and became a cattle buyer.

"I grew up near Theodore, in central Queensland, on a property my dad managed," he said.

"Dad couldn't afford to employ extra staff, so we were always mustering and driving tractors and doing anything that needed doing.

"They used to pay me one dollar an hour to drive the tractor."

Mr Norris attends nearly 200 cattle sales a year and also buys cattle direct from the producer.

"We buy grown, heavy cattle with a minimum live weight of 450kg," he said.

He also buys cattle to send to the company's feedlots throughout Australia.

A detailed graph shows him the maximum prices he could pay for different types of cattle.

"It depends on the competition here on the day... competition is healthy for business."

Mr Norris and his wife Annette live at Brooms Head and have two children, Chris and Nichole, and three grandsons.



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