Having grown up on the family dairy and pig
farm in rural Berkshire,
and later an arable farm in Gloucestershire, Matthew’s
career in animal health started after he finished school, where he worked for a
local agricultural merchant.
“Working in the agri-supply industry kick started my career in animal health and presented an opportunity to educate myself on how to best assist and support farmers with their animal health needs,” Matthew shares.
As a natural progression, Matthew trained to become a RAMA in 2010, spending the next ten years working in the ruminant pharmaceutical industry, working with farmers, RAMAs (SQPs) and vets.
“In 2018 I did my NOAH Certificate of Animal Health qualification (NCAH), before joining Mole Valley in 2021,” says Matthew.
Matthew was keen to add to his skill set, whilst providing high quality advice and being able to prescribe the right medicines to his customers. Becoming an AMTRA RAMA enabled him to achieve this.
“As a Business Development Manager for Mole Valley, a typical day for me involves on-farm visits to clients across Buckinghamshire, Oxon and Northants, catering for all their agricultural supply requirements,” explains Matthew.
“I enjoy spending time on-farm as it gives me the opportunity to apply the skills I’ve learned to real situations, providing advice on animal health, prescribing animal medicines, or supporting customers with the supply of equipment, animal feed, and much more,” Matthew adds.
According to Matthew, one of the most important aspects of a RAMAs role is to have a positive influence on the mindset of farmers, instilling confidence that the solutions provided are the right ones for their individual circumstances and livestock.
“AMTRA has an excellent selection of training providers offering multiple CPD opportunities. I regularly undertake CPD to be certain that the information I am sharing is up-to-date and to ensure all prescriptions I provide are done so with the relevant knowledge,” says Matthew.
“I still believe that the RAMA qualification is not fully appreciated by some farmers. The only way to combat this is to build trust, show your professionalism, and hopefully, over time their mindsets will sway,” he says.
Matthew believes communication is essential in order to understand the individual requirements and what animal health issues or diseases they are dealing with on-farm.
“Broad knowledge of diseases is essential to offer the appropriate solution and prescribe a suitable medicine,” Matthew explains.
“I always prefer visiting clients on-farm to understand the bigger picture of what is happening. In store customers are often more rushed, so the time we have with them is limited,” says Matthew.
“We are taking steps to improve the effectiveness of farmers’ time spent visiting the store by recently investing in a FEC kit, which is encouraging livestock producers to provide faecal samples pre and post treating,” adds Matthew.
Matthew also stresses that when it comes to animal medicines, AMTRA RAMAs are not just selling a product, they are delivering qualified and professional advice, and this is particularly relevant as we head towards the autumn when changing climates can cause the spread of disease.
By September, the fly season should be nearing an end, but with unpredictable weather it can be a challenge to determine what farmers will need to focus on during the autumn.
“If the weather stays warmer, farmers should continue taking precautions to prevent blowfly strike. If the weather turns wetter, we could be looking towards liver fluke and lungworm treatments,” Matthew advises.
During August and September, sheep sales will ramp up again, and it is essential to fully inspect the animal before bringing them back to the farm, minimising the risk of disease spreading.
“Farmers need to be looking to worm appropriately with an effective wormer and cover themselves on sheep scab. Quarantine with new animals is key to preventing the spread of disease,” Matthew concludes.
Matthew can be reached on 07860 206564 or at [email protected]