Lexi loves working in cattle industry

Lexi loves working in cattle industry

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Yalallie Downs livestock manager Lexi Mourambine.

Yalallie Downs livestock manager Lexi Mourambine.

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International Rural Day of Rural Women - Lexi Mourambine

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IT was supposed to just be a couple of weeks at a friend's family farm, instead it sparked a love of cattle and a career she never could have imagined.

Lexi Mourambine is the livestock manager for Yalallie Downs - Western Australia's only Aboriginal-owned and run cattle backgrounding operation - but her journey into agriculture wasn't straightforward.

She was raised at the Murchison Settlement, 200 kilometres north of Mullewa, but she was never exposed to agriculture - except for riding horses and seeing her dad go mustering with mates.

Having made a promise to long-time friend Chloe that she would visit her family farm, Lexi headed to the property near Dandaragan with the intention of staying for two weeks.

The property was called Yalallie and was owned by the Beemurra Aboriginal Corporation and run by Lexi's friend's grandfather, Kevin Barron.

"During the second week I was there, we were doing some fencing and making sure the cattle had adequate water," Lexi said.

While we were out there I realised I was really enjoying myself, I liked being out there in the elements and Kevin asked if I'd like to stay out there and help him.

"He offered me a room and I've been there ever since - that was in 2014 and I've pretty much never left."

These days Lexi manages the cattle, so she's gone from having no knowledge of agriculture to running 600 head of cattle at any one time across 1242 hectares.

On a normal day, she starts off at the feedlot in the morning and then goes home to check the paddocks, which includes checking the cattle, and their water.

Lexi ensures the cattle have been moved into the correct paddock, sources out the next and keeps an eye on the perennials to make sure they're at the correct height and not being overgrazed.

"I love cattle, I love every beast there is and I love working with them," she said.

"Seeing them arrive from another property and then leave Yalallie calmer and destressed after the work I've put in is a real sense of pride.

"I love seeing the hard work I've put in for that beast to become better for other people to manage down the line pay off."

While most of Lexi's training has been on the job, she's also completed courses through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, completed stress-free stock handling and is making her way through a Certificate III in Agriculture.

"I want to break all of the barriers, I want more women to come into agriculture and I want more Aboriginal women to come in," Lexi said.

"I'm proud to be an Aboriginal woman in this industry, but I almost don't want it to be an achievement, I want that to be mainstream and for people to see me the way that they see everyone else in the field.

"I want to show young women they don't have to come from an agricultural background to get into this industry."

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