My journey at Hallmark started in January 2016 as a self-employed farm inspector, I remember seeing the advert when looking for jobs in the Agricultural industry. After a long trip by train and a previous phone interview I was ready for the induction at HallMark’s headquarters in Stonehouse just a few days after New Year’s Eve.
Having worked on behalf of the government in Portugal as an agricultural inspector for nearly 2 years I was confident that I had the right skills and the know-how for the role, however I soon realized that it was different from what I expected. After 3 days training in cattle inspections I was ready to go, alone! I must admit, this was scary and I did feel apprehensive in the beginning because in Portugal the visits to the farms were done by a team of 2 – but I do like a challenge! Farming is certainly no longer just a man’s world but often I am asked how I got into it as an inspector.
My last cattle inspection, but not the least was as little as over 3000 heads, which was achievable but very demanding. On that occasion, I was also offered a permanent position within the company and started being involved in quality control, performing desk checks for sheep and goat inspection reports along with the collection of meat samples in supermarkets. HallMark’s approach is to have a multi-disciplinary team trained in different areas and before I knew it I was travelling across the country visiting parks and some the most beautiful conservation areas in the UK.
After the inspection break off, another project had arisen, and that was the Pig Health Scheme. This was a little different to what I was used to, but not being a veterinarian wasn’t a problem as I could help with the administration and coordination. Later, the return of the farm inspections and sampling being within much stricter deadlines, I had to be good at multitasking!
Finally, my last adventure and exhausting mission came about when DEFRA requested HallMark’s help regarding an Avian Influenza outbreak. It was very short notice and I wasn’t prepared for an epidemic disease but I took up the challenge without much urging. With a long journey ahead of us, our team of 4 successfully delivered collection and disposal of over 3000 turkeys in one day. Surely, all security and biosecurity measures were strictly followed. We ended the tasking day with a pint in the hotel!