Alasdair Ralston is MSP’s dedicated Animal Feeds Manager as well as carrying out the role of Farm Trader for the company. In his position, Alasdair ensures our farming customers get the best-quality service.
We sat down for a dram with Alasdair to find out what a typical day in his role looks like, what the challenges facing farmers today are and any key trends he sees emerging that will impact MSP’s farming customers.
What attracted you to a role with MSP?
“I liked the idea of working for a family-run company that had a vision. MSP has a clear plan for the future sustainability of the business and a ground plan for how to achieve this objective.”
What is your career background?
“Before joining MSP in 2007, I worked for a livestock auction market procuring prime and breeding livestock for their auctions or farm to farm transactions.”
Have you always been involved with farming?
“Yes, I was brought up on a mixed farm just outside Kelso and have been involved in the agricultural sector since leaving school.”
Describe a typical day in your role at MSP
“Day-to-day, I split my time between the customers who I am directly responsible for and my role as department head. I really enjoy interacting with my customers and supporting my colleagues in the feed team.”
What is your area of expertise?
“I would say the area I have most knowledge of is mixed farming.
“I can find myself discussing nutrition for either crops or animals, along with buying or selling cereals with the agronomy support for combinable crops, grassland or fodder crops.”
What’s best thing about your job at MSP?
“Having the opportunity to work with so many departments within the one company – it really helps to keep my role interesting and varied and it keeps me on my toes!”
What advice would you give to a farmer looking to become an MSP grower?
“I’d recommend asking someone about the overall structure that we all find ourselves in. The process of producer-processor-customer-consumer is really important for our growers to have a thorough understanding of.”
Have you seen any particular trends emerging in the animal feeds or livestock sectors in recent years?
“The level of support and information available to producers from sources such as Monitor Farm meetings, the AHDB, and SRUC has really improved over the years and made knowledge much more accessible across the board. They provide some great information and advice for mixed farmers.”
What are the biggest challenges facing farmers today?
“The volatility of markets is a big issue, alongside bureaucracy, and the challenge of bringing the next generation through and getting them interested in careers in the sector.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Respect your elders.”
You’re in the pub, and can choose ANY drink and ANY song to play – what would these be?
“A pint of Belhaven Best and Ho Hey by the Lumineers.”