Profiles Details

Jessica Frost

Focus on Farm SQP of the year winner Jessica Frost

What animal health issues are your customers most concerned about, and how does that compare with your view about the major challenges?

There are several animal health concerns that both our farmer members and I share. Availability of Large Animal vets in East Anglia is quickly becoming a welfare issue, with several independent vets selling out to corporate vets, who in turn have closed down their LA work. There are areas in Suffolk especially whereby there could be an hour’s journey to the closest L.A. vet, not including on call / emergency work. This is a project I am working on with the support of our Board Directors and CEO. I am investigating how we can participate in providing a solution. In the meantime, members benefit from us supporting their health plans with independent advice and network of suppliers.

Product availability – Sheep and Cattle POM-VPS vaccines availability has been particularly difficult over the last 2 years. Farmers are encouraged to take preventative action and vaccinate their stock, but the challenge is getting product on farm.

Forecasting issues, manufacture, logistics and quality control – particularly since Covid 19 and Brexit have provided the perfect storm. Wholesalers and merchants are clambering to find stock and we are solely reliant on rep allocation for delivery once available – impossible to manage farm plans and animal health with so much uncertainty and disruptions.

Finally, marginal and negative returns in the sector, especially the availability of skilled and appropriately trained staff are significantly impacting on farm animal husbandry, health and welfare.

How do you handle customers who already know what product they want or who are focused solely on what is cheapest?

Trust. We have a very strong knowledge of our individual livestock members who typically have been part of Fram Farmers for many years, sometimes even decades. We also hold their farm and livestock information and data on file, having access to livestock types, quantity, CPH number(s) and previous order history - enabling us to tailor individual members needs and priorities. Our guiding principle in advising members is to focus on value, not just price. We assess product value in three dimensions:

  • Product efficacy and quality
  • Price and terms
  • Availability and service

I have built up strong working relationships with a large array of suppliers over the years who also provide us with a wide spectrum of products, brands, and services at competitive prices, and therefore I can assess and highlight where individual product price versus product value may differ; essentially comparing products – such as including chemical base, duration, ease of application and dose rate, meat withdrawal and/ or milk withhold and most importantly fulfilling the requirements of the farmer.

Our members know that due to our independence from specific manufactures, suppliers and veterinary practices – this enables us to ensure we provide absolute objectivity in our value and advice to our members. Ultimately Fram Farmers is a membership organisation built upon long term relationships with members through trust and demonstrable performance. If we advise and recommend products based on cost not performance - we undermine our reputation with our membership.

How do you make sure customers understand the benefits of drawing on the knowledge and advice of SQPs?

A key element of what Fram Farmers delivers to its members is expert independent advice. Therefore we are very proud and proactive in explaining that members of the livestock team are R-SQP qualified and what SQP accreditation requires to evidence the quality of advice we provide to our members. In all our communications from emails to membership talks, webinars and publications we highlight that Fram Farmers livestock team includes SQP qualified colleagues who are also registered with the VMD (mentioned previously). This means that our members understand that we are regulated by suitable authorities and subsequently they can respect my advice and knowledge - gained in over 9 years at Fram Farmers (but over 20 years in the vet and agricultural industry), in particular those who I have built up a good rapport with over various periods of time.

Convenience is an important factor, as members ring with their requirements without having to leave their farm, and we are able to organise the best product for their requirements to be delivered direct to farm in accordance with the VMD SQP code of practice. This further enhances advice and health plans their vet have provided, meaning we discuss these with them so they understand that we can work in conjunction.

Trust, mutual respect and commercial benefits to farmers are extremely important in evolving climates.

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