Miriam van Riet started as Swine Innovation Manager right in the midst of the 2nd lockdown. What was that like?

21-1-2021

Department: Nutrition Innovation Centre

Afbeelding: Miriam van Riet_profiel

She lost her last job as a result of the coronavirus situation and started her new job as Innovation Manager at ForFarmers right in the midst of the 2nd lockdown. Naturally quite a tense time. But Miriam van Riet is definitely one of life’s “positive thinkers” and simply got on with things.
And she was instantly in for a real treat: she was able to go on a company visit during only her second week with us because of her expertise in claw quality in sows.

“Everyone is so enthusiastic and driven, that has such a contagious effect!”

Welcome to ForFarmers! What has it been like to start with us in the middle of this corona period?

“It felt quite challenging to start my search for a new job during these uncertain times, but the conversations with ForFarmers were certainly all very pleasant. I had quickly acquired a good image of the company and its core values, which all seemed to perfectly link into my own values and standards. Of course there’s still plenty to discover, but I’ve had an incredibly positive start to my journey and slowly but surely I’m getting acquainted with my new colleagues via various MS Teams meetings. Everyone is so enthusiastic and driven, that has such a contagious effect! I have also instantly been involved with everything and have been given the freedom to organise my own days. This obviously immediately exudes trust.”

What did you do before joining ForFarmers?

“After completing my Master’s in Animal Science at Wageningen University, I conducted research into claw problems and lameness in sows for my doctorate at Ghent University and the ILVO*. I subsequently conducted research into organic acids in pigs and chickens as part of my postdoc. I worked for Eastman Chemical Company, who were sponsoring my postdoc, four days a week, plus the remaining one day per week for Ghent University. I eventually ended up living in Belgium for more than four years.”

And then you became our Innovation Manager. What kind of things are you working on?

“Currently mainly familiarising myself with everything, haha. But I’m already getting stuck into various different projects too, such as field trials with piglets and a study focused on sows. The latter actually still needs to be started. I particularly like the fact that I can now visit farms more often and that I am deployed right across the sector, wherever I may be needed. I had just about completed my first week when I was asked to go along to a commercial farm which was suffering from claw problems. I thoroughly enjoyed this and it was also great to experience the collaboration between the vet, the ForFarmers specialist and the pig farmer.”

What do you find appealing about working for ForFarmers?

“In no particular order: the informal and pleasant working atmosphere, the enormous amount of knowledge and experience available within the company, the opportunities on offer for continuing to grow and develop as a person, the diversity of subjects which are worked on and the practical focus. I certainly also think the fact that many employees have worked for the company for a long time is very significant.”

*) ILVO = Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Research; founded by the Flemish government.