Animals are an important part of agriculture. In addition to meat and poultry consumption, animals provide us with milk, eggs and dairy byproducts like butter and cheese. In order to keep animals healthy, they need to be well looked after and fed properly.
This is where the global animal feed and nutrition industry comes in. In 2020, the global animal feed market was valued at $345.4 billion. It is expected to reach $460.3 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 4.9%.
The rising demand for animal products and byproducts has further improved job opportunities in the animal feed and animal nutrition industries. Let’s discuss opportunities available for those interested in working with animals and catering to their diets.
Animal nutritionists are responsible for looking after animals’ diets and ensuring they are fed a nutritious, healthy and balanced diet that enhances their wellbeing and results in productivity. They can work in both animal welfare and in the agricultural sector and must create and balance ratios for all the animals under their supervision.
Generally, animal nutritionists have to consider the needs of specific animals and ensure their food ratios are balanced. This is based on caloric requirements dependent on the animal’s physical condition and purpose, such as lactation or reproduction. Animal nutritionists can work on farms with various species or focus on a single species.
In order to succeed as an animal nutritionist, one has to be a team player since the job requires working with others, including veterinarians, zookeepers, broodmare managers, researchers and farm managers. This career path also requires strong communication and critical-thinking skills, as well as maths skills to calculate food ratios.
Depending on their specialisation and employers, animal nutritionists can work at feed companies, zoos, in laboratories, for the government or private entities, in pet companies, livestock rearing operations and more. As such, they can work both indoors and outdoors.
Veterinary nutritionists are certified veterinarians who focus on animal nutrition. They primarily formulate diets based on animal health to prevent and manage specific diseases that animals may suffer from. In addition to determining diets and specific ratios, they may engage in research or education. Some may even travel to patients to treat larger animals, whilst others can work in corporate positions within animal feed companies.
Equine nutritionists work with stable owners, veterinarians and horse trainers to ensure a healthy diet for horses. This includes meats, vegetables and supplements and can vary based on the type of activity the horse is used for. For example, horses used for racing require more calories, with protein being a major part of their diet. Equine nutrition also focuses on sick horses and adjusting diet and nutrition to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Dairy nutritionists are animal nutritionists who specialise in dairy cattle. In addition to managing their diets to maintain the animals’ health, they aim to maximise production and ensure production goals are met. These individuals are responsible for everything, from selecting safe and cost-effective ingredients to sourcing these ingredients and formulating diets. They may also select supplements and additives, adjust ratios, write reports and evaluate individual animals in herds. Dairy nutritionists may work for major farms, ranches or companies or be hired as consultants.
Cattle Feedlot Managers
If you’re interested in both animal health and animal feed, this may be the job for you. Cattle feedlot managers handle the feeding of beef cattle as well as their routine care. In addition to ensuring proper techniques are used to manage cattle, they are responsible for looking over feeding plans so that all animals in the herd are progressing. This includes ensuring optimal growth and weight gain before slaughter and minimising any health and dietary issues.
Animal Feed Suppliers and Salespeople
Those working in animal feed sales are responsible for selling and distributing feed products throughout their service areas. In addition to calling on customers such as livestock farmers, this job includes an in-depth knowledge of animal nutrition solutions in order to advise producers on their livestock and feed needs. It also includes customer service, handling complaints, marketing products and studying sales trends. It can also involve advising customers on bespoke feeds for them.
While some animal feed sales representatives sell only animal feed, others focus on additives, supplements and even automatic feeding solutions, such as agricultural robots, or even feed machinery and equipment.
Feed and Nutrition Research and Education
As with all fields, animal feed and nutrition require research to improve feed options or make them more sustainable. An excellent example of this is research into insects as animal food. With animal nutrition and feed costs making up 60-70% of production costs, finding a more sustainable and affordable solution is essential.
To combat rising costs and limited quantity, researchers have studied insects as a source of animal protein. In addition to this being sustainable, it also increases nutritional value, reduces antibiotic use and helps reduce manure contamination.
Animal nutritionists and consultants can also teach and educate future agricultural workers in schools, colleges, universities and private courses.
Insect Farm Workers
Because of the use of insects in the animal food movement gaining momentum, there are now insect farms worldwide. The UK government contributed £10 million in funding to UK’s first industrial-scale insect farm in 2020. From working, management and operations, there are plenty of opportunities available in this developing and up and coming field.
Finding Animal Feed and Animal Nutrition Jobs
If you’re someone who wants to work with animals and are interested in health and diet, there are many jobs in animal feed and nutrition that you can pursue. Whether you have a degree in animal science, animal nutrition or agribusiness, there are several careers you’re eligible for. Look no further if you’re looking for your dream agricultural job because Agricultural Recruitment Specialists can help. Use our job portal to look for jobs in animal nutrition, or upload your CV here to let our specialist recruitment consultants to help you in your search.
We are also known across the UK, Europe and globally for our headhunting and client services. No matter your needs, we can find qualified and experienced candidates for any vacancies you may have. Reach out to us here for more information.