As part of our A Dram With… series, every month we catch up with one of our team, partners or customers so you can get to know us a little bit better.
This month, we spoke to Claire Strachan, who works in the Grain department as a Trader here at MSP. Having started out as a Harvest Lab temp, Claire has gathered a wealth of experience during her eight years in the company.
Claire spoke to us about how she got started, what she loves most about her job and, most importantly, her favourite tipple.
When did you start working at MSP?
“In the summer of 2011 I joined the company as a Harvest Lab temp. From there I spent two years on and off in the lab, learning different aspects of the department. In June 2013 I started working on the Grain Desk.”
What attracted you to a role with MSP?
“What I like about MSP is that it is a family company – I also like that we cater to so many different aspects of farming and are therefore very integrated in the way we operate.”
What is your career background?
“When I started working in the lab, I was still at university studying Marketing. Before then I had really only worked for the John Lewis partnership as a checkout supervisor at Waitrose, which was very customer service driven – I like to think I bring that experience to my role at MSP.”
Describe a day in your role at MSP?
“Every day varies although a lot of my days consist of focusing on market values and premiums. As well as this I get to speak with a number of farmers, consumers and people in logistics – so a good variety!”
What is your area of expertise?
“As I studied Marketing at university, I am able to apply this to my day-to-day responsibilities. However, I have been with the company for eight years in total now and through that I have gained a great deal of experience and knowledge which I like to think comes in handy for where I am now.”
What’s best thing about your job at MSP? And the worst?
“The people – I enjoy the variety of people I speak to on a day-to-day basis.”
In your opinion, what is MSP known for?
“Long-term relationships. At MSP we are good at maintaining long-standing relationships with farmers and end users. MSP has a good on-farm and community presence.”
What has been the best technology, product or service advancement in recent years that has enhanced your job?
“Increasing focus on supply chain transparency – this is something we have embraced at MSP and Simpsons Malt and it has allowed us to benefit in so many other aspects of the business as a result.”
What advice would you give to a farmer looking to start working with MSP?
“As a regional company we have a vested interest in making sure we do the best for our customers and farmers – talk to us about your farming needs! We are all very approachable.”
What is the biggest challenge facing farming today?
“No doubt Brexit is currently up there as there is a great degree of uncertainty for the future with regards to future trading and legislation. We have seen the GBP make sharp movements recently which can at times mean prices are volatile, and pricing opportunities can be tricky.”
What things should farmers be looking out for in 2019?
“I would say for 2019, farmers should be managing their risk as best possible. Make use of the people available to you and draw from their knowledge and expertise to better your business.”
Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
“I enjoy being outdoors at the weekend and like to travel when I have time off work.”
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
“Friendly, honest and hard-working.”
You’re in the pub, and can choose ANY drink and ANY song to play – what would these be?
“A good cold pint of lager and Can’t you hear me knocking by the Rolling Stones.”