Fieldsperson (pigs)

Fieldsperson (pigs)

A fieldsperson advises unit managers on the techniques and management processes that will optimise production on the pig units.

This profile highlights the skills and knowledge associated with the role. However, jobs will have varying responsibilities depending on level of the role and the size or type of the business.

A fieldsperson will usually operate across many sites in a large organisation, although independent fieldspersons do exist. They may specialise in one or both of breeding new stock, fieldsperson (breeding) or finishing stock, fieldsperson (finishing). 

On a day-to-day basis, the job wouldn't generally involve working on the unit. Instead, you might visit several units to check the animals and production systems. You would then meet with vets, unit managers, supervisors, and operatives to support and advise them on best practice and improvements to the breeding, raising, and finishing processes. You will need excellent communication skills to pass your advice on effectively to all these different groups. 

Working as a fieldsperson is both challenging and rewarding. You'll need to keep up with modern technologies and advances in welfare, breeding, and production. Your work will often be data-driven, requiring you to monitor performance, generate useful statistics, and produce forecasts for future production and business planning. You may also be involved in quality assurance, feed ordering, and transportation planning for the animals on the site. 

Fieldspersons also work with different advisers or organisations to ensure their farms work efficiently, productively, and to best practice.   

You will need transport for travelling between sites. 

As a fieldsperson your responsibilities might include: 

  • Visiting farms to make observations of day-to-day practices in the pig units 
  • Ensure high levels of biosecurity and stock welfare are maintained 
  • Feedback to ensure high levels of welfare, production efficiency, and environmental impact 
  • Record the relevant performance figures and generate useful statistics to feed back to unit managers 
  • Set up and monitor performance trials 
  • Provide advice regarding breeding, including techniques such as AI (artificial insemination)  
  • Assist with the criteria for selection of animals for slaughter or transport between sites 
  • Assist with the forecasting and ordering of feed
  • Ensure effective supply chain organisation 
  • Liaise with vets 
  • Deliver veterinary medicines to farms and monitor usage  

To work as a fieldsperson in the pig sector, you should:

  • Be able to communicate ideas effectively and listen well to others 
  • Be confident in making detailed quantitative and qualitative observations in farm settings 
  • Have good decision-making and problem-solving skills 
  • Be organised and able to plan ahead 
  • Think creatively and strategically
  • Be passionate about pig production  
  • Be willing to learn and try different ideas 
  • Be resilient and ready to deal with industry demands and changes 
  • Be willing to take instruction and ideas from others, for example, from the farm owner or management consultants 

You could be appointed as a fieldsperson based on experience. However, a relevant qualification, such as a degree in agriculture or animal production/science, and relevant work experience could increase your options. 

This role would suit someone who is self-motivated, enthusiastic, and committed to making a difference to the industry.  

As a fieldsperson, you’ll take responsibility for advising unit managers to ensure maximum productivity on the unit and across the business. You will:  

  • Implement and adhere to strict biosecurity procedures   
  • Drive a vehicle   
  • Have technical and business knowledge and skills to maintain financial stability 
  • Understand and manage high production standards to produce pigs to the required standard  
  • Proactively support unit managers in their role to manage and develop the unit  
  • Co-ordinate several unit managers and engage effectively with a range of people, including head office, feed manufacturers, vets, equipment manufacturers etc  
  • Be numerate and proficient in the use of a range of IT software programmes to record information and generate statistics 
  • Manage animal health and welfare 
  • Physically handle pigs of all weights; the average sow can be up to 350kg 
  • Update knowledge and skills through continuing professional development (CPD) 
  • Research and evaluate new farm-based technologies to help make the farm business more 
  • productive and profitable 

Salaries start in the region of £28,000, rising to over £30,000 with experience, size of organisation and depending on location. The role may involve paid overtime, milage allowances and, given the amount of travel, require a company vehicle. 

This role is usually full-time and can involve some evening and weekend work according to production cycles. 

You could progress further by taking a course combining agricultural knowledge and management skills. Specialist postgraduate qualifications are available to you as you progress through your career, for instance, an MSc in Livestock Production Science. 

You might also want to consider joining AHDB's PigPro scheme, which recognises an individual's continuing professional development (CPD). 

You could also consider a position as a farm consultant providing technical support and advice to other farmers. 

Courses which can help you on this career path include:

Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Agriculture  

Level 3 Business Studies  

BSc in Animal Production Science  

FdSc Agriculture and Farm Management  

BSc Applied Farm Management  

BSc Agriculture  

BSc Agricultural and Livestock Science  

BA Business Studies 

TIAH Essential Skills

Our online Essential Skills modules can help you develop your skills and knowledge in a range of areas and are a great addition to your CV.

Anyone considering working as a fieldsperson in the pig sector would find our Animal Health and WelfareBiosecurity, and Foundations in Farm Safety courses helpful.

You can find out more about the diverse range of roles in the pig sector by listening to Ben Eagle's Meet the Farmers podcast, episode 150.

Return to our job profiles page for more exciting roles in farming and growing.