Job profile: What’s it like to work in poultry breeding?

Agriculture is a global industry, where feeding the world is the key aim of those working in the sector.

If you would like to feel part of that global picture, the poultry sector could offer the opportunity to combine travel and agriculture.

Farmers Weekly asks a technical services manager to explain how he travels the world for a poultry breeding company.

Name: André Costa

Job title: Technical service manager

Company: Aviagen

Age: 30

Sum up your job in a sentence or two

I work for global poultry breeding company Aviagen as a technical service manager, which is a bit like a consultant.

We liaise with every level of our distributors’ and customers’ companies to source information to help them get the most from our birds.

See also: Read more careers advice and news from Farmers Weekly

What sort of things does this involve day to day?

Every day is different. I could spend one day with customers in the Middle East and Africa, in their office or on their farms, and the next day I could be working from my office in Scotland, writing a report.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I love travelling and having the opportunity to create relationships with customers wherever I go. Working with a host of people allows me to become immersed in their culture as we build up a personal friendship on top of our working relationship.

What’s the downside?

The travelling can also be a downside.

What percentage of your job is office based?

About one-third of my job is office based. The rest of the time I am travelling to customers or to speak at seminars or events.

What skills and qualifications are essential to do the job?

It’s important to have great people skills in this industry as you are dealing with people from all walks of life. You also need to have a solid knowledge about all aspects of breeders and broilers, which I have picked up over my time in the industry.

What experience did you have before starting?

I came into the poultry industry as a technical commercial manager and worked my way up to becoming technical director of a feed mill before I moved to the poultry breeding industry and started focusing more on the birds and their growth.

What other careers did you consider?

I initially trained to be a vet but I quickly realised that it was not a path that I wanted to follow. The poultry industry really appealed to me and so I focused my energy on ensuring that I found the best way to crack it.

What tips/advice would you give to someone wanting a similar role?

First, don’t be afraid of the unknown. For a lot of people, the poultry industry is foreign territory, but I think that if you are willing to learn you will always do well.

Second, learn languages – it will open up markets for you. For example, if you can speak Spanish, the American market also opens up for you, whereas Arabic will enable you to work in the Middle East.

I have actually learned French in order to liaise with the north African market. Aviagen supported me throughout my studies.

Where would you see yourself in five years?

I would like to be in a senior management role, which is why I recently made the move from technical service manager to business analyst, to give me a better understanding of the business.

Finish this sentence: A career in agriculture…

…Is one where you are indirectly feeding the world. So many different strands of agriculture come together to give us the basics we need to survive. The hard work that people in agriculture put in can be seen in every household.