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16 Jun 2020 - People and Passion

“I always wanted to work keeping the animals healthy”

Carina Swartling´s sharp and profound knowledge and experience of a bull barn gleam in her current position as VikingGenetics´ new Barn Manager.

A love for animals came early for Carina Swartling. Despite being a city girl with no farming background from Linköping (in southeast Sweden), her care for dogs as a child soon developed into an undeniable interest in animals. This interest remains in the form of her career choice.

Meeting Carina prompts the attentive listener to discover layers of interest that compound a life that does not shy away from adventure, quite the opposite: it goes after it whenever possible, by riding a fantastic vehicle. 

After high school and in order to follow the veterinarian profession, Carina enrolled herself in farming school. That involved direct contact with and management of animals on a farm. "I found my place, and I just wanted to work keeping the animals healthy". 

Her curiosity and care for animals took her to a farm job. She went to work on dairy farms for several years before coming to VikingGenetics. "I started in 2008 as a relief worker in the barn, I had previously been milking cows, and the farm closed down, and I saw an ad in the paper for a summer job here in the barn." 

And why cows instead of other animals? Cows, "they are funny in the way of humorous animals; they are individuals, and I think it's just nice to take care of them", she explains. 

After that summer job, an employee went on sick leave, and she stayed some weeks longer. By autumn, she had taken a steady position that became available in the laboratory. "It was an exciting job in another way. To see that part of the company too and its connection with insemination and the doses was interesting". 

In 2012, she returned to work in the barn. This closeness to the animals is significant to Carina. "We are taking very good care of the animals here. In all animal production, it is essential to do that, to have that state of mind: that they will always give us more back. Whatever they produce, if they produce milk or semen or fur or whatever, if we take care of them, they will be happier and produce better". 

One team and animal welfare come first

Carina explains that a normal day in the barn starts with the feeding of the animals and the semen collection. This work is surrounded by several other activities related to the animals' welfare: vet, check-ins, food preparation, etc. Carina's sharp and deep knowledge and experience about daily life in a bull barn led to her feeling completely natural in her new role as the Barn Manager.

From her new position, she values the contribution of every team member and wants to develop the potential of the 16 employees located in Sweden and Denmark.  

"I think we can learn a lot from work exchange and that is one of my primary goals here". Due to the Corona measures, she has not been able to spend one week a month in the barn in Denmark. However, this has not stopped her from keeping in contact with them.  

Along with the efforts to build one competent team, animal welfare is also at the top of the list for the new Barn Manager. "The bulls are seldom sick and that's a good sign of how seriously we take animal welfare in our barns", she says.  

Carina's other passions include riding a motorcycle and travelling. In her student years, she travelled to New Zealand to work on a dairy farm and fell in love with the place. Since then she has returned many times to enjoy the charm of the island country. She shares that affection for this country with her boyfriend, Pete from Wales, United Kingdom, with whom she also has something else in common: the thirst for riding.

Carina has a Triumph adventure bike and enjoys doing trips to the nearby hills with it. It is not rare to see her with her red and black outfit and motorbike around the hills of Sweden.     

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