Livestock Support with Dr Young
"I am actually the only female among 15 guys," declared Dr Gabrielle Young, livestock support manager and animal veterinarian at Nutramix. The petite, strong-willed and positive Young can be spotted with her megawatt smile and expressive Trinidadian accent, as she stands proudly among her Nutramix team with the sole aim of educating small farmers on how to take care of their animals and earn a profit.
Being the only female is never daunting for a woman known to take the bull by its horns. "It's never intimidating, I am part of the team. I don't know if it's that I am a rough chick," laughed Young, who then described growing up in a household where everybody was treated the same. "My father and mother never said, 'because you are a girl you can't do this', so we did everything," she said. Growing up, Young always knew her calling was in agriculture due to her passion for animals and farming.
Her journey with Nutramix began over 15 years ago and is a decision she will never regret. "I love it at Nutramix; it is absolutely great. I work with a great team of people which is like a family situation. We all take care of each other," explained Young. While working at Nutramix, Young has cultivated special bonds with her colleagues, which makes working on the road and in country pastures a lot easier. "It's like a family and that is one of the reasons why I've stayed here for so long. I really don't see myself working anywhere else because Nutramix is like my other family."
The aspect which gives her the most fulfilment is working with small farmers. "They are down to earth, homely, and you can feel the passion in what they do, and I love that. They are the best part of my whole day," said Young, as she beamed with enthusiasm for the love of her career.
As a little girl, Young always wanted to have her very own farm and take care of animals. This stemmed from her love and passion for the industry and the fact that she wanted to see the Caribbean grow and become self-sufficient. "I believe Caribbean nations can produce enough food to sustain themselves and not be dependent on other countries. We need to educate farmers and get more young people involved in agriculture," she said.
Young admits that the most challenging element associated with being the livestock support manager is the lack of qualified manpower needed to get the job done. "There are not enough livestock vets, so we are overwhelmed with the number of requests and the amount of work. There are just not enough days to visit all the farmers and to help them," explained Young.
As a mother and an active livestock veterinarian, her days are long but fulfilling. A typical day for her involves waking up at 5 a.m. to get her sons ready for school. This is followed by going to work, which can be anywhere on the island. "The team travels the whole length and breadth of Jamaica. It can be either visiting a farm or doing a workshop. We do at least one workshop a week," she said. Young then ends the day by going home to help with homework and spending quality time with her family.
"We would like more vets to enter the profession thinking that they can make a living from livestock. We need to use our technical knowledge and really try to help Jamaica to put a dent in the food deficit," said Young. She also believes more people will enter agriculture if it were made sexy, and persons were shown the science associated with the field.