A Dram With… David Cairns

As your partners in farming, here at MSP we are always striving to build stronger relationships with our customers. To help build on these connections, every month we sit down with one of our customers, partners or team members to give an insight into our company.

This month, we spoke to David Cairns, who is the Technical Services Director in the MSP Agrochemical department. David has worked here for 20 years, joining in August 1999, and has a wealth of experience from a lifetime of working in agriculture.

David told us about his career path, his work at MSP and the current developments within the agrochemicals sector. Keep reading to find out what he had to say…

What attracted you to a role with MSP?

“I wanted to work for a local company who focused on service to customers and with a wide range of products that can be offered all year round. I was also interested in the integrated supply chain.”

What is your career background?

“I have been involved in agriculture from a young age, starting with working on my grandparents’ farm. I then studied for four years at Kirkley Hall for a National Diploma with Distinction where I was the top student in my course.

“After that, I worked on a large estate in Northumberland before moving into the sales side of agriculture, initially with a national cattle breeding company called Genus. I began working at MSP initially as a farm trader gaining my FACTS and BASIS qualifications then specialised in Crop Advisory, achieving my BASIS Diploma in Agronomy before heading up the Agrochemical Department.”

Describe a day in your role at MSP?

“I have to balance many aspects as I still maintain a farm customer base, so in season I generate my recommendations from fields I’ve walked the day before and sort orders out for them. I’m in touch early in the morning with my store manager to sort out delivery for all areas and discuss any product changes or draw downs we need to do.”

“I speak to manufacturers regarding product supply and any regulatory or technical issues and also meet with other agronomists in the company to get an oversight of what is going on in their areas. Generally, I then move out onto the farm and spend the rest of the day walking fields and discussing crop health and any plans required with customers.”

What is your area of expertise?

“The technical – all aspects of crop establishment, nutrition and protection.”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Don’t worry and never give up on your dream.”

What’s best thing about your job at MSP?

“The variation of my role and when you see the results of your advice when the customers’ crop starts to deliver results.”

And the worst?

“The regulatory side of agrochemicals is becoming a real challenge as it is so fast moving and not always linked to science and fact.”

In your opinion, what is MSP known for?

“Service – we really are ‘your partners in farming’.”

What has been the best technology / product / service advancement in recent years that has enhanced your job?

“The branded contract scenario and growers seeing us as all in it together to achieve the best results for all in the supply chain. The new chemistry and varieties continue to push yields and quality and there have been so many technological advancements with field recording systems.”

What advice would you give to a farmer looking to start working with MSP?

“Please give us a try and look at the whole ‘seed to bottle’ package we can offer and look at testimonials to see how we care about our customers.”

What is the biggest challenge facing farming today?

“Political and regulatory pressures.”

What trends are you seeing emerging in your area?

“More awareness of the supply chain and understanding that it isn’t yield at whatever cost.”

What things should farmers be looking out for in 2019?

“Note the new active ingredients coming to market as some of the older ones are disappearing.”

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

“Road cycling, cooking and watching rugby.”

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

“Conscientious, busy but a worrier.”

You’re in the pub, and can choose ANY drink and ANY song to play – what would these be?

“Macallan 12 year old and Paradise City by Guns and Roses.”


Got a question for David? Head over to our Facebook page and leave it in the comments.  Or if you want to discuss your farm requirements, get in touch today!