AIC promotes careers in UK animal feed sector: 'It is not all about muddy boots and tractors'

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/mikkelwilliam
© GettyImages/mikkelwilliam

Related tags procurement Sustainability careers

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is looking to attract new talent to the UK animal feed supply chain.

A recently published booklet​ highlights a variety of roles available in the sector, such as technical, procurement, sustainability, logistics, IT, and engineering positions and the skills required to excel in such jobs. The idea is to encourage more individuals to consider a career in the feed industry.

Created by AIC's Feed Future Forum, a group of younger members of the agri-supply trade, the booklet aims to educate and inspire the next generation about career opportunities in the sector, which contributes over £4.5bn (US$5.69bn) to the UK economy and produces 16 million tons of feed annually.

The feed sector needs people with a very wide range of skills and interests, stresses James McCulloch, head of animal feed, AIC.

“For those that love the outdoors to those who want to be desk based there is a place for everyone. Whilst there are some very specialised roles there are also many opportunities for people with no specific idea of what might be their ideal career,” reads the publication.

Dispelling misconceptions 

A spokesperson for the AIC’s Feed Future Forum told us that it wants to dispel the misconception that farming and agriculture are solely about muddy boots and tractors.

“Aimed at school leavers and students considering further and higher education, the booklet provides them with information and inspiration as they explore future career options. Engaging with the future workforce is crucial for businesses to continue attracting skilled and talented individuals. We hope that industry stakeholders will utilize this free resource to highlight the rewarding career opportunities in the livestock feed sector.”

The trade group plans to promote the booklet at various careers shows and events in the coming months.

Key roles and skills in the feed sector

Procurement:​ Roles such as buying assistant, buyer, trader, ethical sourcing coordinator, product manager, and purchasing manager require strong analytical skills, good commercial awareness, relationship-building abilities, and a results-driven mindset.

Production:​ This area encompasses a significant part of the feed sector, offering a highly transferable skill set applicable to various industry roles.

Engineering:​ Manufacturing is a key part of the agri-supply trade, requiring a range of engineers to keep machines running. Engineers are essential for the maintenance of existing production plants and the design and installation of future feed mills. Most facilities operate 24/7 to meet demand, making reliability and performance crucial. Feed mills contain various technologies requiring specialized engineers, including those in fabrications, mechanical engineering, electrical, electronic, control systems, pneumatics, and hydraulics. Beyond the feed mill, engineering tasks include managing a large fleet of lorries for transporting raw materials and feed, and handling equipment such as forklifts for loading, unloading, and preparing the feed.

Technical advice:​ A feed industry technical advisor is responsible for benchmarking livestock performance on farms to ensure feed efficacy and address any issues that arise. They design and oversee research trials to develop innovative new products and manage complaints by analyzing lab data to identify and resolve problems. Additionally, they support the commercial team by providing technical information, formulate farm-specific diets to meet the nutritional needs of animals, and keep an eye on markets to select cost-effective ingredients with insights from the procurement team. They also help organize timely and efficient feed deliveries to farms and monitor the analysis of raw materials and finished products to ensure the database is up to date and all specifications meet legal limits.

Compliance:​ Professionals in this field ensure adherence to food, feed, environmental, or sustainability legislation issued by governmental bodies, local authorities, standards organizations, and customers. They maintain best practices and quality systems to minimize food or feed safety risks.

Sustainability:​ This involves the responsible use of resources within an organization, including sustainable land use, effective nutrient management, responsible sourcing of raw materials, and sustainable logistics planning. 


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