Dairy Event 2009: Livestock sector offers raft of career opportunities

If you are near to leaving school, on placement or just graduated, then the Dairy Event and Livestock Show and its 450 exhibitors representing the entire livestock chain, offers a huge opportunity to find out more about how to secure a successful career.

The livestock sector is offering some fantastic careers for the future, according to KW Alternative Feeds’ ruminant nutritionist, Richard Wynn. “Global demand for meat and milk is going to continue to increase, so we’re going to need skilled farmers to deliver the goods and in turn, competent advisers to help them,” he says.

“I want to be part of that future action, but to meet increased demand for sound technical advice, there’s going to be a need for a lot more trained young people. It’s simply a case of being aware of what’s out there.

“When I was studying and starting to investigate the options available, I remember taking the careers directory off the shelf and finding lots of opportunities for accountants, bankers, lawyers and other mainstream professionals, but there was no mention of ruminant nutritionist.”

While Mr Wynn’s parents were both teachers, his family roots run deep in farming and much of his school and university holidays were spent working on farms in Yorkshire, including his uncle’s mixed farm. “That’s what sparked my interest and led me to sign up for a degree in animal science at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

“The course featured hands on R&D including a work placement year which I spent with what was then ADAS. This gave me real inspiration to follow my degree with a PhD in nutritional biochemistry at Nottingham, looking at improving the fatty acid profile of lamb meat.”

After moving out of the academic world for what he terms “a life more on the practical side”, Mr Wynn has spent the remainder of his twenties developing a successful career with AB Agri, an international business operating in the food, drink and animal feed sectors, and well known for its KW and Trident brands.

“I’ve moved through various jobs here to my current position of ruminant nutritionist with KW Alternative Feeds requiring me to provide technical support to our 23 field sales specialists. That means I can be out on farm during the day with a member of our sales staff formulating a high performance dairy or beef ration, before moving on to an evening meeting presenting to 100 farmers. The next day I might be office based writing technical support material before going off to provide technical training for sales staff.”

To all those who have yet to decide on a career, Mr Wynn’s advice is pretty straightforward: “Just get involved. Secure a summer job with an industry company or organisation. Six weeks summer work experience will give you a great idea of what the job is all about and the potential opportunities available, not only with that employer, but also with other related companies. We work in an incredibly small industry and you can soon develop an extensive network of useful contacts.”

  • Click here for more on  the Dairy Event and Livestock Show 2009.