Kelly Hoodless, 23, is a junior account manager for the pig commercial sales team at ABN. She graduated this year from her studies in animal science, specialising in pigs, at Harper Adams University, with a first-class honours degree.
Pigs: Having grown up in rural Lincolnshire with my grandparents running an arable farm, I have always been involved with farming and especially loved animals.
However, since studying animal science at Harper Adams University, I discovered a passion for pigs.
I was captivated by the pig industry’s innovative and progressive nature and by the way it faces up to challenges. This led me to pursue a pig scholarship for my placement year.
The scholarship was very competitive and I was selected from seven applicants.
I chose to undergo a split placement, with six months at Ermine Farms and the remainder at ABN.
This split approach was hugely beneficial as I got to see first-hand how a pig unit works, along with gaining valuable industry experience. It really set me up for a career in the sector.
I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what is involved on a pig farm and what is practical.
How can you recommend something if you do not know if it is practical?
Dissertation: I am extremely organised and forward-thinking, not leaving things to the last minute, so as soon as I started my placement with ABN I was on the lookout for a research-based subject matter for my final-year dissertation.
I was lucky enough to be asked to get involved in a cutting-edge trial on finisher pigs.
My dissertation therefore focused on examining the effect of increased levels of the phytase Quantum Blue on the release of nutrients and the effects on growing pig performance and bone quality.
I was delighted to be awarded the JSR genetics award for the highest graded pig-orientated dissertation.
Career: Since graduation in June, I have joined ABN as a junior account manager.
Placement gave me a really good insight into the job market and helped me discover what I want out of a career. I was very fortunate to be offered the job I wanted at ABN.
I am still gaining experience, but my day-to-day job will involve looking after customer accounts and giving advice on anything relating to feed inputs on-farm.
I would really encourage young people to use placements and scholarships to gain industry insight, as it helps provide clarity on what to focus a career on.
I am really excited to be involved in a leading company which is at the forefront of the industry and committed to helping develop young people who are passionate about a long-term career in the pig sector.