My career in food & drink

30 June 2020

“I thoroughly enjoy my job, so It’s hard to pick out one aspect that I enjoy the most. Perhaps being able to fly a drone over potato crops!”

Gavin Prentice, Technical & Procurement Manager, Agrico UK


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Q: How did you get started in your career in food and drink?

A: My family are from a farming background, based in the food producing county of Angus. I’ve always had an enthusiasm for the outdoors and an interest in food production. I initially studied Sustainable Environmental Management and happily fell into the potato industry.

Q: What was your route to get to this job and what are the entry qualifications?

A: I was deciding whether to return to university to complete an honours degree and had stumbled across a local newspaper advert for a Seed Potato Fieldsman, 10 years later the rest is history. Now I work as a Technical & Procurement Manager at Agrico UK - Europe’s largest potato growing company.

Q: What did you study at school and how relevant were the subjects?

A: I studied all core subjects at school but had a particular interest in geography, which helped develop an appreciation of soils - the foundation to all food production. Subjects such as maths are important to potato agronomy for calculating tuber counts/plant populations to accurately plan cropping and produce optimal yield.

Q: What does your job involve and what are your main responsibilities?

A: I’m responsible for everything from quality and stock control, technical support, contracts with growers, sales, procurement for the UK’s first 2nd generation biofuel plant, assurance scheme complience, to drone piloting. A key aspect of the role is customer service and building lasting relationships with people.

Q: What is the best thing and the worst thing about your job?

A: I thoroughly enjoy my job and love getting my hands dirty, so It’s hard to pick out one
aspect that I enjoy the most. Perhaps being able to fly a drone over potato crops! This helps us estimate canopy cover, snapshots growth and can highlight any poor sections within a field. There’s a drive towards precision agriculture and drones can play a big part. As for the worst, I suppose being caught in the pouring rain during test digs isn’t the best...

Q: Why were you attracted to a role in food and drink?

A: People will always need food and drink. Given that the global population is set to hit 9 billion by 2050, we must produce more food and the next generation will be a massive part of this. The opportunities within the industry are endless.

Q: Would you encourage others to consider a career in food and drink?

A: Absolutely! The food and drink industry is diverse, challenging and enjoyable. There are unlimited oppertunities for young people. If you have a particular passion or interest, you can forge a career in its direction within the food and drink industry. For example, there are jobs in areas such as sales, agronomy, technology, logistics, marketing, management and much more.