Jono Horrigan says relationships with customers are built on trust and expertise

After more than two decades with the business, Nutrien Ag Solutions Category Manager Jonathan Horrigan (Jono), says it’s the people and purpose that he enjoys most about his job. 

Raised on a small family property in Dalby on Queensland’s Darling Downs, Jono has been connected to agriculture his whole life. His Grandfather sold Laval milking machines and farmed on the Darling Downs and in the Lockyer Valley. 

“All through school I wanted to be a pig farmer. I studied a Bachelor of Science majoring in Animal Production at the University of Queensland and after some time spent on a cattle station in the northern parts of Australia, I then joined the genetics and contractor team at a piggery on the Darling Downs,” said Jono. 

“I had never considered a role in retail, however in 2001 when my wife Sonya was offered a teaching role in Cloncurry I needed to think outside the box and found myself working in a merchandise sales role with Wesfarmers.   

“I spent four years at Cloncurry and quickly realised that retail was an exciting space to be in and there were so many opportunities to make a real difference for farmers and the broader industry.” 

Jono then took a position as Branch Manager in Chinchilla. 

“This was a steep learning curve as a 27-year-old leader in the business, and I was exposed to a diverse variety of industries including horticulture, broad acre cropping, cotton, and feedlotting,” said Jono.  

“Since then, I’ve had lots of unique career experiences. In 2009, my family and I moved to Melbourne for twelve months while I worked on integrating SAP into our business. Our son Fletcher was 18 months old at the time, so it was a real adventure and there were activities every weekend – visiting the snow, going to sporting events, driving the Great Ocean Road a dozen times and seeing the penguins at Phillip Island.”  

Jono and his family now live in Brisbane where Jono is the North East Region category manager for animal health, animal management, fencing, water and general merchandise. Jono also managers the three warehouses for the region located in Brisbane, Sydney and Wagga Wagga.  

“A few weeks ago, I had coffee with a customer from my time in Cloncurry. Upon finding out that I’d recently celebrated 20 years with Nutrien they asked me why I’ve remained in this business for so long. This was my response: 

“I love the energy of the industry and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped someone, whether that’s a great result at the sale yards, or seeing their produce in one of the major supermarket chains in Sydney. I’ve genuinely enjoyed my job for the past 20 years because of the people – our customers, teams and suppliers are second to none.” 

Jono says he’s witnessed plenty of change in the business and the industry. 

“As a company, Nutrien has gone from strength to strength offering even more value for our customers. One of the most important things that has remained true throughout my career is the quality of our people and their genuine commitment to supporting and servicing their customers and communities,” said Jono. 

“I played a part in the introduction of the cattle NLIS technology to our customers around 18 years ago. Technology has been the biggest game changer for the livestock industry. Very few customers 20 years ago were weighing cattle and now it is common practice whilst incorporating other tech devices such as automatic applicators.   

“Early in my career there was also a very small percentage of producers drenching their cattle for parasite control and now it’s a key part of best practice along with vaccination programs and pain relief. In nutrition, we’ve also seen major changes in how we feed our livestock during different seasons and stages of growth.  

Jono said there are approximately 15M cattle and 27M sheep to support across his region in North East Australia. 

“Our sales and activities are diverse. But livestock nutrition can make up to 50% of our animal health sales. The region also sells enough barb wire annually to wrap around the world,” said Jono. 

“Our relationship with our customers is never transactional. It’s built on trust and expertise, and that’s what I’ve come to value the most over my 20 years working with Nutrien,” said Jono.