Heidi Neal


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NAME Heidi Neal JOB Nutritionist COMPANY AB Agri AGE 23 SALARY* Starting £20 - 25,000; up to £50,000 *industry average

What do you do day-to-day in your job?

This is a new job for me, so I’m currently learning how to design animal diets which will maximise animal performance and cost benefits.  I also produce information sheets for our products that include chemical analysis.

I research many areas, such as new techniques for feeding and feed ingredients, as well as new products and areas for interest.  Other work includes developing animal production manuals and understanding the carbon footprint created by animals and how we can reduce this.

What other jobs have you had?

Before University, I worked on livery yards and riding schools from a young age, as I own a horse and enjoy working with animals.  I have also worked as a shop assistant and at an insurance firm for 3 months after University, which have helped me develop more customer facing skills.

What other jobs did you consider?

From about the age of 5, I wanted to help animals.  When I was about 15/16 I did some work experience at 3 veterinary practices (2 small animal and 1 equine). I found that most of the work was routine and quite repetitive. This wasn’t what I wanted, so I reconsidered what I wanted from a career and decided to study Zoology at University, as I felt I could have a greater effect on a larger population of animals.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a 2.1 BSc degree in Zoology, A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths, and AS Levels in History and Physics, as well as 11 GCSE grades A* to C.

What do you like most about your job, and what’s not so great?

I love the variation of the role and the enjoyment I get from discovering new ideas.  I get to work in Cattle, Pig and Sheep Nutrition.  This can mean juggling a lot of balls, but I find it exciting and rewarding! There isn’t much I dislike - maybe the very cold days in winter on a farm, -4°c is chilly.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I want to be in a position that is technical and innovative.  I would like to be the go-to person for animal nutrition and to provide this service to both colleagues and customers.  My goal would be to help the welfare of farmed animals throughout the world by improving production efficiency, performance and reducing waste.

What tip would you give people trying to get into agriculture?

Research it. You must align yourself to a role and strive for it.  No one will hand you a job!

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