From her upbringing growing up on the
family sheep and beef farm in the hills of Radnorshire in mid-Wales, Crystal
has always had a well-honed passion and interest in animal health, inspiring
her to further her learning and develop a rewarding career in the sector.
“I completed a degree in Agriculture at Aberystwyth University to help me pursue my interests and career goals, and this also included a six-month placement milking in New Zealand,” she says.
It was a case of continuous development and some five years on from completing her degree, Crystal first qualified as a RAMA, enabling her to put her skills, training and knowledge to practical use.
“I began working for Wynnstay in 2018, initially as store assistant in Llanidloes for two years. This experience helped me to gain valuable knowledge and insight into the level of service and products Wynnstay provides through its network of stores and sales teams,” says Crystal.
It was in somewhat sad circumstances that the next stage of Crystal’s development took place, following the sad passing of the highly respected animal health sales specialist for mid-Wales, Jimmy Quin.
“Jimmy was such a hard-working and brilliant man, who went above and beyond for his farm customers for many years. I was extremely honoured to be asked in early 2021 to fulfil this role, and every day, I endeavour to take the same approach as he did in supporting our farm clients,” she adds.
In the new role, Crystal works from her van, giving her the opportunity for face-to-face contact with her clients covering the surrounding areas from Newtown, Llanidloes, Rhayader and Builth Wells, hand delivering orders direct to farm.
“I’m also in the busy Builth Livestock Market every Friday. Customers come to collect orders, discuss products and prices, do a little paperwork together or just simply have a well-earned break and catch up while the kettle boils,” says Crystal.
“I firmly believe this is the best way to get to know your customers on a more personal level. You can talk to them and listen to what is happening on their farm, comparing that information with the person next to them, all the while picking up little snippets of advice that may benefit someone else along the way – we are all learning!” she adds.
Currently, much of her work is focused on late-season lamb doses, cattle and sheep bolusing, dipping and preparing for autumn sales and tupping. In doing so, as is the case throughout the year, Crystal believes the most important aspect is to provide the best possible advice for the needs of the customers, while encouraging the responsible use of medicines.
“It’s important to try and steer away from the mind-set of ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’,” she says.
“The majority of farms and practices have changed quite dramatically in the last few years and so has anthelmintic resistance. We need to take advantage of the valuable research and advice out there, and attending regular AMTRA CPD courses helps me to give up-to-date, accurate information.”
According to Crystal, it is also key to take a genuine interest in what the customer is looking to achieve, and this means taking the time to listen and work together.
“Nobody knows the farm better than the customer. It is important to take onboard their knowledge and combine it with yours to find a solution that fits their system. It’s never a one size fits all!” she says.
“I am lucky that on a lot of occasions, I can see their livestock first hand on-farm, enabling me to build a clearer picture of what’s going on. Often I find this approach means the farmer is much more comfortable discussing the farms needs in their own surroundings,” Crystal concludes.
Crystal can be reached on 07384 817362 or [email protected].