Communication in the veterinary profession is recognised as an important competency and skill. In this discussion, the panel will consider how important communication is between vet and farmer, whether this has changed over recent years and explore how ‘good’ and ‘bad’ communication can impact the vet-farmer relationship.

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    Fiona MacGillivray
    Director, MacVet Cattle Communications Ltd

    Fiona has over 20 years’ experience working in veterinary and animal health, in both marketing and technical roles with leading global pharmaceutical companies. In addition to providing consultancy services, she is currently studying for a Master of Research degree with the University of Nottingham, looking at nonverbal communication between vet and farmer.
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    Owen Atkinson
    Director, MacVet Cattle Communications Ltd

    Owen has experience of the dairy industry worldwide, having worked, lectured or studied in UK, NZ, USA, Europe, Iran, India and Africa. What makes Owen stand out is his enthusiasm and depth of knowledge of the dairy cow, coupled with his talent for communicating complex subjects in an accessible way.
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    Abi Reader
    Dairy Farmer

    Abi Reader is a third generation dairy farmer milking 200 cows all year round just outside Cardiff, Wales. The farm has an ambition both better antibiotic usage and to reduce carbon footprint through teamwork, improved management, use of technology and various trials and pilots. The farm generally hosts between 8-12 school and placement students every year. Off-farm Abi is involved in a number of groups an organisations including Chair of NFU Cymru Dairy Board and Chair of CHeCS (Cattle Health Certification Standards). She is a proud farmer host of Open Farm Sunday and co founder of CowsOnTour, a voluntary group of farming industry individuals who go into schools to Tell the Farming Story.
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    Rachel Hayton
    Advanced Practitioner in Cattle Health and Production, Synergy Farm Health

    Rachel qualified as a vet in 1993 and worked in farm animal practice in Lancashire and Dorset, gaining a Certificate in Cattle Health and Production. She is a shareholder at Synergy Farm Health, a farm only practice in the south west which employs 40 vets and 15 vet techs.

    Rachel provides fertility and health planning services for her routine clients and jointly provides a specialist mastitis service within the practice. She teaches on the farm animal core module for the Royal Veterinary College and provides farmer training meetings, mostly on the topics of mastitis, responsible use of antibiotics and infectious disease. She also manages the practice’s research activities.

    She is a director of the British Cattle Veterinary Association and also sits on the AHDB Dairy Mastitis Control Plan Management Group.
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    Sebastian Richardson
    Seb Richardson and his father James farm 800ha of mixed farming land near Oundle, North Northamptonshire. The arable operation includes owned, tenanted and contract land with crops including wheat, barley, beans and naked oats. They run 100 commercial beef cows running the followers from birth to slaughter on farm and 400 North Country Mule ewes. The farm is in the HLS stewardship scheme and a big focus for the farm's future is to farm in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.