Alan studied for an HND in Biological Science prior to taking up a position as research assistant with the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute at Glensaugh where he took over the daily running of the deer unit. He was then appointed Deer Manager at the JCB estate in Staffordshire.
Over a five year period, the JCB herd grew to become the largest in the UK and underwent a strict recording and selection programme, gaining a reputation for producing high quality, easily handled breeding stock and first class venison carcasses winning both the Birmingham Primestock and Smithfield show in the same year. Alan then spent four years in Ireland developing deer farms and providing consultancy to a large producer group before taking a one-year fixed term contract as Assistant Deer Manager at Woburn Park with a view to then broadening his deer farming experience in New Zealand.
He spent seven years in New Zealand, initially as Senior Stockman at Stanfields Bushey Park, New Zealand’s premier deer stud, before being appointed Stud Farm Manager with New Zealand Deer Farms Ltd. The company farmed 65,000 deer, and Alan was responsible for purchasing new genetics and breeding replacement stags of the highest quality to increase production from the companies breeding herd. He became a recognised industry expert in the management of large scale artificial breeding programmes and has produced some of the world’s top ranking high breeding value sire stags. He also project managed several large scale deer farm conversions and implemented pasture renovation programmes using high performance grass mixes and forage crops with a particular emphasis on production under drought conditions.
Alan is a Council Member of the British Deer Farms and Parks Association, a member of the Scottish Venison Association, and an advisor on deer farm management and farm development. He is the VAS lead on training, and also has a successful wildlife tourism and deer management business.