James Maguire


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NAME James Maguire JOB Farm & Commodity Trader COMPANY Nidera UK Ltd AGE 23 SALARY* Current £25k - £30k plus bonus *industry average

What do you do?

My job has two sides to it, I trade oats, linseed and peas within the company to UK consumers (which have been procured from farmers) whilst making a profit in doing so. My main role, however, is to speak to farmers and advise them when best to sell their crops to achieve the best returns, and also when to purchase fertilisers and seed for the best deal.

What’s involved?

Firstly, I have to build close relationships with the farmers I buy from, so that I know what they’re planning to grow, when and how much they hope to sell for this year. I spend a lot of time talking to farmers on the phone and visiting them in person, and am always looking for new growers to do business with. I also spend an hour or so each day making sure I’m up to speed with the grain markets, so that I know what a product is worth and when the best time to sell might be.

What qualifications do you have?

I achieved 11 GCSEs grades As to Cs. I also have three A-Levels at A-C grade in Psychology, Biology and Chemistry.

How did you get here?

Almost by accident! I was planning to study Forensic Science at University after a gap year in the working world.  During that year I started working at Nidera in the transport department. I loved the industry, and quickly progressed through the ranks gaining valuable experience about many aspects of grain merchanting, from execution to market trading, and now finally farm trading.

And what do you want to do next?

Basically, my aim is to do more business: buy and sell more from a wider network of growers. I’d like to move further up the hierarchy of the company - in this job you can move up the ladder pretty quickly, and it’s a high ladder!

What’s the best bit about your job?

I really enjoy speaking to customers as I’m a sociable person. Another positive is the variability of the agricultural year – no year is ever the same, especially with worldwide and local crop issues making every season different.  My job is really varied and never dull, with the ability to get out of the office regularly.

And the worst?

It can be stressful, especially at harvest time when the whole trade is running ‘flat out’. But it’s rewarding coming out the other side of that busy period and knowing you’ve done some good business, and maintained and made new relationships with growers.

Any tips?

If you want to get into agriculture, think outside the box. There are loads of different opportunities out there, and the majority of them do not involve working directly on a farm. If you aim high and work hard, a career in agriculture can take you further than you ever dreamed!

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