Every month, we introduce you to some of MSP’s employees, customers and partners.
This month, we shared a dram with David Barrett, MSP’s Fertiliser Director, who told us all about his role at MSP, the biggest challenges facing the industry today and why he loves being a part of the MSP family.
When did you start working at MSP?
“I joined the team in December 2015.”
What attracted you to a role with MSP?
“It was similar to a previous role that I really enjoyed, where I oversaw a port and a plant, so it was great to be able to come back to a similar post but with even more responsibility.”
What is your background?
“I originally qualified as an agronomist and worked for Schering Agriculture, now Agrovista. I then spent 18 years with Yara Fertilisers, based in the UK for 16 of those and the last two years in Canada in a commercial role selling fertilizer and micronutrients. I managed products as well as the commercial aspects of the business.”
Describe a day in your role at MSP
“My role is very much a commercial one – I need to consider everyday aspects of the market, where our competitors are, and whether we are competitive against current market conditions.
“I source and buy raw materials that we use to create fertilizer which we then sell as complete products tailored to a specific need. MSP invested significantly in their fertilizer plant to allow us to create bespoke products – this is a real differentiator for the business and valued by our customers.
“I also get involved with the production in terms of managing the order book and planning the production.”
What are some of the challenges you face in your role as Fertiliser Director?
“The biggest challenges are commercial factors – predominantly outside market forces, such as global factors affecting raw material and pricing currency.
“It’s very much a globally dominated industry these days, but our trading is localised – buying globally but selling locally is a challenge within itself.”
What is your favourite thing about working at MSP?
“The people. It’s a great atmosphere here at MSP – a family business that’s very professionally run. I’m allowed the freedom to run my department which gives me the confidence to do it right.”
What is the biggest challenge facing farmers today?
“Uncertainty – not knowing where subsidies are going, not knowing where the finances are going to be, not knowing what prices they’re going to get for their commodities – all results of the volatile market that they are selling in to.
“I think that going forward one of the biggest challenges they’ll have is the opening up of markets post-Brexit – there’s a risk of floods of cheap meat and cereal imports from countries trying to negotiate better trade deals with the UK.”
Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
“I ride a motorbike, so I often go off on tour on the motorbike and I enjoy that. A bunch of sad old boys getting on motorbikes with the usual banter and abuse that goes on!
“I have two kids – although they’re not really kids anymore – who I love to spend time with, along with my wife and two dogs. I love the area that we live in – we’ve got beaches and hills, which makes for a great quality of life.”
You’re in the pub, and can choose ANY drink and ANY song to play – what would these be?
“Drink wise it would be whisky, straight, nothing in it! I’d opt for a 25 year old Glenfarclas – a good single malt.
“Song wise – it would be anything by the Beatles, even ABBA for a good singalong and a bit of daftness, or maybe Adele – anything really!”