November 3, 2015, by Laura Estrop
My journey to becoming an agricultural business consultant
By Peter Cox, graduated in 2012 with a BSc Hons Agriculture
Finding out why people chose their career path is a great way to get an insight into different job roles so we asked alumnus Peter Cox about his choice. You can hear more from Peter and four other inspiring speakers at our Spotlight On… Agricultural Careers tonight – Tuesday 3 November.
Why I chose this sector
I was brought up on a family farm and have always wanted to be involved in agriculture. Having spent three years undertaking a degree in agriculture, I wanted to continue to work in the industry and make a positive impact. The sector is varied with no two farming businesses the same, and as a consultant, I help clients move their business forward.
Being the Guild Treasurer gave me experience
I feel that the year I held in office as the Sutton Bonington Guild Treasurer certainly provided me with experience of meeting new people and this was helpful given my job involves working closely with clients. As an agricultural business consultant I work with figures on a daily basis and my interest in maths led me to choose this role.
It’s all about variety – the best part of my job
I particularly enjoy the regular contact with different farmers and the opportunity to help their business. I am out of the office on client visits once or twice a week and when I’m in the office no day is the same. A large part of my work involves the management of contract farming agreements and several businesses I am involved with are in difficult positions financially so delivering a service which helps them through the tough times does bring a great sense of self-reward.
I’m learning every day
Even the senior agricultural business consultants I work with at Brown & Co. tell me that they are still learning each day because of changes to agricultural policy and the developments in farming over the last 30 years. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform changes regularly and I need to understand the cross compliance requirements. Having been brought up on a small mixed arable and beef family farm, advising poultry and pig farmers is a challenge, and I do research the areas of the industry I have not had any previous involvement.
Have a passion to make a positive impact
It is very important to like and have a good understanding of figures, and I would strongly recommend a thorough knowledge of spreadsheets. Interpersonal skills are also necessary as I discuss my findings with clients in person or over the telephone. Before I started my current job, I really enjoyed the management side of my course and I feel this has helped me to get where I am now. In terms of a career in agriculture, having a passion to make a positive impact to the industry is my recommendation.
My advice – keep your options open
I would suggest keeping your options open and never jump into a position too early as you may find out it isn’t the job for you. Having an idea on what you would like to do is important as there are plenty of firms out there who are looking for new employees, especially graduates who are ready to learn and get stuck in.
Start your research by finding out more about agricultural careers on our website.
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