Monday, August 22, 2016

Meet Our Credit and Accounts Receivable Department-Part 2

This is part two of a two-part series. Take a look at part one.

By: Brooke Handy, Public Relations Coordinator, CRI 

Welcome back to our series featuring the Credit and AR department! We hope you’re just as excited to meet more of the delightful ladies who work hard to keep things running smoothly here at CRI Headquarters in Shawano, Wisconsin.

I recently spent some time with our Credit and AR department and noticed they all have one thing in common: they enjoy working with the farmers and ranchers who make up the Genex members and customers (it’s a common theme here at Genex!). Their number one priority is to keep accounts current so members and customers can continue raising quality dairy and beef cattle, and we can keep doing business with them. Read on to learn a little more about these lovely ladies!


Jacque Mogendi loves talking to members and customers every day. She is constantly learning new things about agriculture and enjoys hearing about the different farming and ranching operations. Jacque is originally from Tanzania, but her family moved many times for her father’s job. They eventually moved to the U.S. 15 years ago, and she attributes her passion for travel to her childhood. While she loves to explore new places, she prefers to stay north to avoid the heat. Outside of work, Jacque keeps busy raising her three children and camping with her family.

Sandy Nemetz can process about 1,000 checks on a busy day. Her favorite part of the day is working directly with our members and customers to ensure their checks are accurate before she deposits them. In her free time, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens and hanging out with her three grandkids. She is a passionate fan of the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers and enjoys cheering them on from the comfort of her living room. According to Sandy, she might be thrown out of the stadium if she actually attended the games! (I’m sure all you die hard sports fans can relate.)

Vicky Sprenger began her career 43 years ago with Genex predecessor Midwest Breeders. Since then, she has witnessed many evolutions and mergers to what makes up Genex today. She enjoys the daily challenges that arise in the Accounts Receivable department and working to find solutions (gotta love her ‘go getter’ attitude). Vicky is also a big fan of the Green Bay Packers. She and her husband are season ticket holders and have attended Packer games since 1973. She is actively involved with her local snowmobiling club and grooming club which helps ensure the trails are maintained from year to year.


Kathy Pieper likes to keep busy, which is not a problem in her position. Her main responsibility is maintaining the address book. Kathy spends most of her day setting up new member and customer accounts and updating the current ones. She likes to keep busy out of the office as well. She and her husband spend their free time looking after their large garden and flower beds, visiting their four grandchildren or vacationing at their cottage.



Shaina Oakley works with Kathy to maintain customer and member accounts. She enjoys the repetitive aspect of her job as she enters account information into the database. Shaina spends her free time keeping up with her three kids. Right now, her family is preparing for her daughter’s first year and stepson’s last year showing hogs at the Shawano County Fair.



Next time you call into the Credit and AR department, you’ll be able to put a face to the name (and maybe even strike up a conversation about their favorite hobbies). If you have any questions pertaining to your account, give Customer Service a call at 1-888-333-1783 and ask for the Credit department.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Meet Our Credit and Accounts Receivable Department

(Part one of a two-part series)

By: Brooke Handy, Public Relations Coordinator, CRI

If you have ever had a question about your account or a bill, chances are one of the ladies in the Credit and Accounts Receivable (AR) department answered your phone call. Each day they work hard to keep things running smoothly at CRI Headquarters in Shawano, Wisconsin.
I recently spent some time with our Credit and AR department and noticed they all have one thing in common: they enjoy working with the farmers and ranchers who make up the Genex members and customers (it’s a common theme here at Genex!). Their number one priority is to keep accounts current so members and customers can continue raising quality dairy and beef cattle, and we can keep doing business with them. Read on to learn a little more about these lovely ladies!

Kris Vomastic started working for Genex as a Customer Service Representative about 25 years ago, but these days she oversees the Credit and AR department. She keeps busy working with members and customers to keep their accounts on track and troubleshooting any discrepancies (what a lifesaver!). When she’s not in her office, Kris can be found at the Belle Plaine Community Center where she is the town clerk for about 1,900 residents or chasing after her 12 grandkids.


Patti Kane’s favorite part of her job is getting to know each farmer or rancher and learning more about their operations. “They go through floods, droughts and fires in their barn and they just keep going. They’re very resilient,” says Patti. (We like to think our AR department is resilient as well. They work day in and day out to keep members’ and customers’ accounts current. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!) Her ties to the dairy industry run deep. Patti’s grandfather was a dairy farmer, and her father was Vice President at Morning Glory Farms Cooperative in Shawano, until he retired in 1991. In fact, his office was located on the same property where CRI Headquarters sits today!


Tami Zuleger loves problem solving. According to Tami, working with members and customers to find a solution to any problems that arise is the best part of her day. After work you’ll find her running after her daughter who participates in sports and 4-H. I’m sure none of you parents can relate to that (sarcasm completely intended). They are currently preparing for the 2016 Shawano County Fair where her daughter shows rabbits and visual arts projects (high-five to Tami’s daughter for being active in agriculture and her community). Tami also serves on the executive committee in Shawano that is working to start a Boys and Girls Club.


Pam Egge mainly works with the liquid nitrogen service agreements and cancellations, but lends a hand wherever it is needed. She’s pretty much a jack of all trades in the Credit department. Pam and her husband are the ultimate team and the epitome of work hard, play hard. When she’s not at the office she can be found helping him install seamless gutter systems (if you’re in the local area and need new gutters, you know who to call). In their free time, they are devoted snowmobilers and recently purchased a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Next time you call into the Credit and AR department, you’ll be able to put a face to the name (and maybe even strike up a conversation about their favorite hobbies). If you have any questions pertaining to your account, give Customer Service a call at 1-888-333-1783 and ask for the Credit department. Be sure to stay tuned for the part two of our series featuring the Credit and AR department! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Simplified Jersey Breed Registry

By Leah James, Dairy Marketing Manager, Genex

Recent decisions by the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) board have made
deciphering Jersey registrations easier. With the March 2016 board action, the AJCA simplified
the registration recording process. The two major changes are the incorporation of Generation
Count and Breed Base Representation (BBR).

Generation Count

Under the new Generation Count system, you will no longer see OA, PR and GR or J-levels on
papers. Instead, there will be a straight numeric counting system following the animals full
registered name representing the point at which the animal was first recorded in the AJCA herd
book. This new system starts with a ‘1’ designation and moves through a ‘6’ before no designation
is needed on a pedigree. 


The graph below lays out how generation counts will be handled for resulting offspring of
generational sires. The general rule of thumb is to add one count to the dam’s generational level.


Breed Base Representation (BBR)

The Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) has distributed Breed Base Representation (BBR) values to the respective breed associations. The disclosure and publication of these values is up to the individual breed associations. AJCA is the only breed association that has chosen to publish BBR values at this time.

In very simplified terms, BBR is a reference number (up to 100) of an individual’s relation to a known (genotyped) reference population. Because the base population is always changing, growing and adding new data points, it is the CDCB’s policy that a BBR of 94 or greater will be reported as 100. Under the new system, a sire needs to have a BBR of 83 to be listed on the AJCA active reports. 100% of our active sires meet this requirement. Once again, this is ONLY a reference number and should be used as such.

*Please note these Generation Count and BBR changes can potentially affect a few of our active sire’s ability to be recognized by the AJCA registration standards. Any sire that does not meet these standards will be clearly designated in the sire catalog and in any marketing materials with a UR (Un-registered) suffix following the given short name. 





For more detailed information, check out the  AJCA  fact sheet.

Friday, July 29, 2016

2016 Argentina and Brazil Beef Tour

Our new International Business Specialist, Kasey Haars, had only been on the job for a couple of weeks when we sent her along on the Argentina and Brazil beef tour. She learned a lot, made some new connections and filed this report.


I had the opportunity to assist with the Cooperative Resources International (CRI) Argentina and Brazil beef tour. This tour began in Kansas City, Missouri, weaved through Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota and ended in North Dakota. Fifty individuals from all areas of the cattle industry in both countries attended, all coming together to learn about a common interest. 

The first tour began by heading to Tiffany Cattle Company. This 10,000 head stock yard customizes in custom feeding cattle. This family-run operation gave us the opportunity to see how a large stock yard with many employees is run. 


Rations and the importance of each ingredient was also discussed in detail at Tiffany Cattle Company. 
At our second stop, Badger Creek Cattle in Emporia, Kansas, tour participants viewed several bulls.
The next day was spent at Mushrush Red Angus in Strong City, Kansas. Daniel Mushrush was able to explain to the group in Spanish (much to the group's delight) that he and his father run the operation together. There are currently four generations of  the Mushrush family on the farm, and they plan for it to stay family owned and operated.
Tour participants were eager to watch as a few animals were run through the chute.
After a free day in Manhattan, Kansas, Monday was spent at Kansas State University. There we were able to see their pastures containing native grasses, view bulls and listen to presentations. 
The day's presentations covered a department overview, what’s new in beef genetics, evaluating cattle feet and legs, and a review of their embryo transfer and A.I. breeding program. 
Cattle viewing is always a highlight of these tours.
On Tuesday we visited Janssen Angus in Earlham, Iowa. We were able to tour this farm's beautiful pastures, learn about their grazing practices and view bulls used in Argentine breeding programs.
Cow and calves at Janssen Angus
We departed bright and early on Wednesday in route to Mohnen Angus in White Lake, South Dakota where we were again treated to pasture walks containing great looking bulls and Genex progeny.  
Tours allow participants to get up close looks at bulls and progeny.
Thursday we began our journey in North Dakota by visiting Ellingson Angus in Anthony, North Dakota, where we heard about how the Ellingson family grew their ranch to what it is today. 
Many times tour participants get to meet not only the ranch's cattle, but their family as well.
After lunch we headed over to Strommen Ranch in Fort Rice, North Dakota. At Strommen Ranch we learned how the family grew the ranch from a bull and cow they received as a wedding present. This stop showed the Argentines and Brazilians how they use rotational grazing for as many months of the year as possible. 
Tour participants also got to look at cows and calves while at the Strommen Ranch.
Our final stop of the trip was at Schaff Angus Valley. We spent the stop looking at Genex bulls, as well as understading how a large operation successfully manages their herd. 
Michael Sleeper, CRI AVP of International Marketing translates for the group.



The group and I learned a great deal about beef cattle management, enjoyed a lot a fabulous U.S. steak, and walked away from the tour with a better understanding of the CRI and Genex genetic philosophy. 





Monday, June 27, 2016

My Dairy Devine Child Care Trip!

An important aspect of June Dairy Month is dairy education. So, today I spent some time at a cooperative child care (more about that later) asking three and four year olds dairy related questions. As a dairy farmer myself, I was elated to hear that every one of these energetic souls knew that milk came from a cow and cows eat grass, although one little girl said that was "ewww!"

I did learn that no matter how much personal experience I told them I had on the topic, they would not believe me when I told them chocolate milk is made, not produced by “brown, little cows.” They were also very adamant about their image of what a farmer looks like. One little girl, who had already stood and was now inching her way closer and closer to me said, “A farmer has brown hair.” This drew several nods. Then the little blonde girl sitting in the front who was very eager to answer every question added, “And he wears a blue hat,” which was followed a bit later by a quiet little boy who hadn’t said much during my question and answer session. With a wide grin he said, “And a farmer scoops up dirt!”


After the five intense minutes of questioning, I rewarded the kids by reading from a book about dairy farming. It was great to see their interested little faces watching every turn of the page and finishing the sentences before I could. The story time of my visit even intrigued a little boy who was playing with blocks and didn’t want anything to do with my earlier line of questions. He scooted right up next to my legs to get a really good look at each picture, noticing every little detail. I can tell you I was also super happy with the selection of accurate books about dairy farming my local public library carried.

As a side note-if you are ever looking for ways to improve ag literacy in your community, your local public library LOVES donations of ag-accurate books. I have done this with our FFA chapter as well as for a memorial of someone who cared deeply about agriculture. Our local library carries stickers to put in the front cover of the books with who the book is in memory of or who it was donated by. If you are having a hard time finding ag-accurate books, a good place to start is the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. They have a great, searchable list for all ages of kids!

Being somewhat of a novice to group story time, I did make a giant mistake. I closed the book and attempted to move on to snack time, not realizing I had forgotten to say “the end.” Don’t worry, I had 10 three and four year olds who quickly and loudly reminded me!

Then came probably the most rewarding part of my visit, watching the kids devour, and ask for more, string cheese and chocolate milk. The fact that they liked this delicious and nutritious snack reminded me why dairy farming is so important, and renewed my faith in my husband’s chosen profession, even if we won’t see him until after 9:00 tonight for dinner!

Now for the super cool cooperative day care info. Since Cooperative Resources International (CRI) is a holding cooperative and two of its three subsidiaries are also cooperatives, CRI decided entering into a venture with two other local companies to form a cooperative child care center made sense. This unique business structure allows parent members to serve on the board of directors and vote as the need arises. I love that these companies saw a void in the community and decided a cooperative was the best way to address it!


Enjoy the last few days of June Dairy Month and take a few moments to educate those around you about the industry – young or old, at a cooperative or not – you will be glad you did!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Get To Know Genex Independent Contractor, Adrienne Lulay

The Genex beef team is in the thick of spring breeding, but a couple of our Independent Contractors took a few precious moments to answer some questions for me. I have really enjoyed getting to know them a little better and hope you do too!

Today Adrienne Lulay shared a little about herself.



I live in the Willamette Valley on the west side of Oregon where my husband, Paul, and I grew up. We have two boys, ages 4 and 7, who keep our floor continuously littered with LEGOs, when they are not outside covered in dirt. I earned my undergraduate degree in animal science at Oregon State University (OSU) as well as a master's in reproductive physiology. Now I teach applied reproduction at OSU in the fall and a calving class in the winter. I also organize and teach three artificial insemination (A.I.) schools, held at the university, that are open to producers. That leaves spring and summer for breeding cows! My customers are very diverse from backyard milkers to Scottish Highlanders to large herds of Angus. I myself keep a handful of Simmentals.

What made you decide to become a Genex Independent Contractor (IC)? A Genex IC was retiring. He recruited me to take over his area. He sold me on the benefits of being an IC with a great company like Genex. Just having the ability to be an independent contractor was what really drew me to the company. With two young boys, my own cows and teaching, I enjoy the flexibility it gives me.

What is the most difficult part of being an IC?  Paper work! I would rather be out with the cows, but paper work is necessary to keep it all going.


Do you have a memorable or rewarding story you would like to share from your time as an IC?
It was nerve-wracking the first time I helped with a large breeding project. I had just begun my IC endeavor, and it was actually the first time I met my manager, Morgan Johnsrud, in person. We had about 700 heifers to breed that day and there was already an army of people assembled when I arrived. Two double breeding barns were being set up and soon the project began. I was thrown into a barn with one of the most efficient breeders I have met (Deven Thompson), and was quickly told the rules of the breeding barn; clean hand here, dirty hand there. No please or thank yous (there wasn't time). We flew through those heifers. It was very exciting! Evidently I did okay because I was invited back. Now I look forward to those types of projects like it's a vacation. It is fun to work with such a great team and environment; no staring out of office windows here!

Who is your go-to Genex sire and why? 1AN01240 EFFECTIVE, he is efficient, docile and offers calving ease with good marbling! Although, I am interested to see how 1AN01282 OPTIMUM matures with his great docility, marbling and positive $EN.

What is your favorite cut of beef? Filet Mignon


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Few Moments with Genex Independent Contractor, Duane Freshe

The Genex beef team is in the thick of spring breeding, but a couple of our Independent Contractors took a few precious moments to answer some questions for me. I have really enjoyed getting to know them a little better and hope you do too!

Today was Duane Freshe's turn.


Duane and his son, Julius giving shots and applying ESTROTECT patches on a 317 head project for one of their long-time customers, Robert and Mandy Peck.



Tell us a little about yourself.   I’m a native Montanan, my wife and I both grew up and still reside there. We have three grown children; Jesika and Julius are still close to home and part of our A.I. business. Our oldest son Arin settled in Kansas, he and Sarah are expecting our first grandbaby at the end of August.  I have been involved in Agriculture and the cattle industry since I was a child. I owned and showed registered Angus cattle all over Montana and Washington through FFA. I was a state FFA officer in high school and raised my kids with that same love of agriculture.

What made you decide to become a Genex Independent Contractor (IC)?  I’ve been artificial inseminating cattle since high school and have been in the sales industry for my entire adult life, so semen sales was a perfect fit for me. I purchased Genex semen for several years before being approached about being the new Genex rep for central Montana. I was excited about the opportunity and have sincerely enjoyed all aspects of the business ever since.

What is the most difficult part of being an IC?  Often there just aren’t enough hours in the day! My belief is that customer service is #1, that’s how you get and keep good folks as customers.  So I would say my biggest difficulty is the miles I cover here in Montana and making the time for more one on one connection.  I have found that attending our area bull sales, and even more importantly, making ranch visits to my customers are two of the best ways to promote my semen sales. By visiting my ranch customers, wandering through their herd with them and seeing the newest crop of calves I am more able to advise them on specific bulls that would benefit their program. If you find an answer for adding more hours to the day please let me know!  

Do you have a memorable or rewarding story you would like to share from your time as an IC?
The first thing that popped into my head as memorable story was my first training trip to Shawano, Wisconsin, via air lines, when I went through security they found bullets in my vest pocket! Oops. 

The rewarding part of Genex for me is seeing the great changes my customer is able to make in their herd by using our bulls, and even more rewarding is being able to employ and work with two of my kids throughout A.I. season and watching them grow and learn more and more about the semen business and genetics of breeding.  

Who is your go-to Genex sire and why?  1AN01238 RESOURCE because he’s an incredible female maker for cows. Final Answer was a mainstay for years on heifers, but now I have moved on to 1AN01240 EFFECTIVE for his calving ease, accuracy and he’s real trustworthy for a heifer bull. I am currently also looking real hard at 1AN01375 REINVESTED and 1AN01348 JUSTIFIED and possibly 1AN01356 ALLIED in the future.

What is your favorite cut of beef?  Rib eye steak, baby! I’m a bit of a steak connoisseur truthfully, and love bbq-ing a meal for my family… Ask my kids, I can rave for hours after eating a great piece of beef!