Ag Careers Profile: Equine Feed Sales
Cara Stewart is the lady you want on your team.
While we crossed paths showing horses in 4-H, I got to know Cara during our time at the University of Kentucky. She was involved in Block and Bridle, and I’m sure many other school organizations. After college, we would connect again through serving the Kentucky 4-H Horse Program and other horse organizations in various capacities. She has been a life-long equestrian and married her 4-H sweetheart, Gene Ray, who makes his living as a horse trainer in Owenton.
For eleven years, she was the Member Services/Grassroots Director for Kentucky Equine Education Project, a non-profit that worked to lobby and educate on behalf of the horse industry. I would see her at education events, and she would visit classrooms when she was not encouraging members or writing the latest organization newsletter. She was great at her job. Cara is positive, enthusiastic, and an excellent speaker.
She also makes things happen, and I was happy to have her on the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom board of directors in her previous role. Conversations stayed on track and business moved forward.
Sixteen months ago, Cara was ready to start something new.
“I never thought I would be doing anything but working for non-profits,” Cara said, “because that is what I knew and was good at. But here in my 40’s I am starting something new and loving it.”
Cara is a Feed Sales and Technical Rep for Cargill Animal Nutrition. Their brands of horse feed include Southern States, Legends and ProElite Feeds.
I asked her to describe a typical day, and she said there isn’t one.
“That is the one thing I love about my job,” Cara replied. “Every day is different. I spend most of my days visiting my stores, visiting prospective customers or visiting current customers.”
Her favorite part of the job is helping people with their horses and getting to meet new and interesting people.
Cara earned her bachelor’s and master’s in agriculture economics, but she admits she would have taken more equine nutrition classes and possibly interned at veterinary offices if she would have known this would be her career path.
“However, I was hired for this job because of my experience and industry connections,” she acknowledged, “so I may not have had [that experience] if I hadn’t lived and worked the life I have.”
Cara says that being involved in the horse industry, studying equine nutrition, and having a working knowledge of equine physiology is a great way to start preparing for a career in feed sales, but having an outgoing personality, being organized, and a self-starter are soft skills that will help sales reps be successful.
Her final advice: “It’s never too late to start something new, so give it a go, try something new, and see what happens.”
By Jennifer Elwell