Wynnstay has a dedicated team of RAMAs, fully trained and legally qualified through AMTRA, (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority) to advise, prescribe and supply certain veterinary medicines. We meet Mark Matthews, animal health sales specialist (Midlands).
With more than 30 years in the industry as an animal health sales specialist, and more than 25-years as a registered animal medicines advisor, Mark Matthews is one of the most experienced RAMAs in the Wynnstay team.
A career in the industry was perhaps inevitable, coming from a farming family and growing up on his grandfather’s dairy farm in Derbyshire. Progressing through the local agricultural college, now part of the University of Derby, Mark gained his AMTRA qualification during a 14-year career with another agricultural merchant, before becoming part of the Wynnstay team.
That was 17 years ago, and now Mark continues to develop lasting relationships with both new and existing customers throughout his region, covering parts of Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire. The same incentive, to make a difference and give the correct advice, is what drives him on.
“That was always the inspiration, and by building long-term relationships, I can add further value, learning from historical information on farm,” says Mark.
“I can identify any potential problems that may arise annually, on a seasonal basis. For example, lambs and ewes going out to the same patch of land may give rise to increased nematodirus risk. It just gives me that head start to identify any potential problems one step ahead,” he adds.
A normal day for Mark will encompass farm visits through his region, meeting clients to provide advice and ensuring any product orders are in place ahead of approaching seasons.
“It is about being pro-active and prepared, supporting animal health plans and making sure the correct protocols and procedures are in place. For example, with fly strike season approaching, I will be providing advice on correct dosages and application techniques,” explains Mark.
“Listening is the most important factor. Listen to what the farmer is telling you, and what they are, or aren’t, achieving. By doing this I can both identify if there is a problem, and also understand that cut-off point where a conversation will need to progress to a veterinarian,” he says.
This swift reaction time and being the first port-of-call can often help save unnecessary vet costs, but also minimise disruption or losses when there is a more serious problem.
“One customer, for example, was having problems with scouring calves, initially believing it to relate to the milk powder and feeds I was supplying. I realised immediately this was not the case, advising the farmer to speak to the vet, and to check FECs,” explains Mark.
“The vet quickly diagnosed the issue as salmonella and after a course of prescribed antibiotics, following the quick reaction by all, the calves were soon right as rain!” he adds, “This situation also opened up and developed a conversation about biosecurity on farm.”
Heading into the warmer summer months, having passed the main nematodirus and coccidiosis period, Mark will now be looking at areas such as fly control and potential issues with heat stress.
His on-going AMTRA continuous professional development (CPD) assists, both as a good refresher training session ahead of the changing seasons, but also providing the latest updates on treatments and medicines.
“It is not just about advising and supplying medicines though, but looking at the bigger picture. Like making sure there is plenty of clean, fresh drinking water available in summer months, and moving animals into shade, if possible,” says Mark.
“Increasingly, it is looking at wider sustainability factors and improving efficiencies. A healthier animal will be a more productive and profitable animal.”
You can contact Mark on 07796 172522 or [email protected]