CAREER OPPORTUNITIES ON PIG FARMS
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Opportunities in British pig production
The pig industry is an industry that can offer you a fantastic and long career, which will evolve along with the continual challenges and changes that can change the way we produce pork so quickly.
BQP, British Quality Pork, makes up the farming arm of Tulip Ltd's subsidiary Dalehead Foods. Together Dalehead Foods and BQP make up 10 percent of the United Kingdom market share in pig production. Dalehead Foods is an integrated farming, slaughtering and processing company which solely supplies Waitrose with its own label pork products, and has done so for the past 30 years.
BQP works closely with around 250 pig farms and their farmers which are mainly located in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the South West. Supplying to such a high quality retailer means BQP's standards in terms of animal welfare, environmental impact, the farming community, and the quality of the meat produced is of the up most importance and something BQP aims to achieve through a close working relationship with its farmers and Waitrose.
BQP aims to achieve the highest of health standards, all farms are split into separate breeding and finishing units. All BQP pigs are born and reared for the first 4 weeks outdoors; they are then moved to straw based solid floor units in an all-in-all-out batch system.
To ensure that the supply chain is operating efficiently from beginning to end, BQP has its own in house vet practise, vets, fieldstaff, technical, logistics, administrative and financial teams, recording systems and trials facilities.
Careers and options within BQP
Becoming a BQP farmer
The BQP farmer relationship works on the agreement that BQP supplies the stock, feed and technical support and the farmers provides the land/buildings, straw and labour. This understanding reduces risk to the farmer by reducing exposure to fluctuations in the pig and feed markets.
Richard Gooding, BQP finishing fieldsperson: 'Growing with us greatly reduces the risk which an independent pig farmer would normally face. Farmers receive regular payments, stability and support from dedicated BQP fieldspeople.'
BQP is committed to encouraging young aspiring farmers into the industry, realising that it is very difficult now days to set up a farming business from scratch. BQP also offers opportunity for anyone who is or isn't currently involved in the pig industry, someone who is looking to diversify, or someone who needs the help and support to carry on farming in this ever changing industry.
Tom Wright, young BQP farmer: 'When I first approached BQP they saw my potential took me seriously and have supported me ever since. BQP provides me with financial security, an income and a living which I love and enjoy.'
Working within the company
Fieldstaff- BQP has a team of breeding and finishing fieldstaff who are responsible for a number of farms and farmers. A fieldperson will support and advise farmers in terms of efficiency of production, welfare issues, animal health, ease of management, auditing and reporting any changes to systems or legislation. A good fieldsperson will help the farmer practically if needed for large jobs such as vaccinating or loading. This person will also learn to be patient and understanding, and will build up close relationships with each of their farmers.
Veterinary- BQP has 4 vets and an in house dispensary. Each vet will look after, visit and advise a number of pig producers on a Quarterly basis. This visit will look at animal health and welfare and medicine stock, and update records and paper work. Our vets also carry out Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) training and work closely with Freedom Foods. Our team of vets will engage with farmers but will also be involved in production and technical meetings.
Technical- the Technical Team is responsible for improving the profits of the business through improving pig performance. As well as formulating the feed for all BQP pigs, they also research and trial new feed additives and products as well as examining new genetic lines, environmental opportunities and working with other Dalehead sites on maintaining and improving eating quality . They have to be practically as well as technically minded and have good communication skills to deal with external customers and suppliers.
Logistics-this is a key area to our business. We constantly have stock on the move, from breeding farms to finishing, finishing farms to abattoirs, new stock from multiplication units to breeding farms. Logistic colleagues have to maintain complex contracts and agreements Abattoirs and retailers and make sure the demand is met each week in terms of supply and quality of the product. This person must have good organisational skills, work productively under pressure and have a keen eye for error.
Feed Coordinator – This role involves coordinating the delivery of feed to all BQP and Third Party farms in a timely and cost effective manor ensuring all manufacturing and transport constraints are adhered to. This role requires close attention to detail, numeracy and good communication skills.
Administrative and Financial- these teams are integral to any large business, these persons are responsible for payments coming in and going out, within BQP they also make sure all farm details are correct and up to date and that all movement of livestock is recorded.
What the pig industry need from you
The industry needs resourceful, talented people with an interest in Agriculture, Business, Engineering, Science or similar subjects and who are also looking for a job which will provide them with the training and opportunities to develop a long lasting career. We believe a person with enthusiasm, determination and motivation will go a long way in the pig industry.
In pig production we look for hard working people who have a hands on approach to learning new skills, work positively within a close team and are able to build trusting relationships with colleagues, customers and suppliers.
Knowledge and practical experience of livestock husbandry would be useful
Outgoing and enjoy working within the farming community
Good clear communication skills to allow you to talk to producers, suppliers and customers.