Friday, June 23, 2017

Intern Insight with Sydney Brooks

Welcome to GENEX. This will not be your average internship.

Just like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson's exciting and extraordinary experience in their time as interns with Google in the 2013 movie "The Internship", our GENEX Dairy Marketing Interns are embarking on an adventure unlike most internships.  I mean, how many internship job descriptions contain the words A.I. service, breeding program and semen? Unencumbered by the uniqueness of the position, nine college students took to rural America this summer to gain knowledge and skills necessary for their future careers. Throughout this time, we will be featuring some of them to give you a glimpse into their reality.

Meet Sydney Brooks, a junior who recently transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Sydney will be studying animal science and life science communication and hopes to get involved in Badger Dairy Club, Association of Women in Agriculture and Collegiate Farm Bureau. Sydney is originally from a dairy and grain farm in Waupaca, Wisconsin, and her internship has her placed in northeast Wisconsin.

Why did you choose an internship with GENEX?
I started looking for internships to gain experience and knowledge in the agtricultural field and luckily, I came across the U.S. Dairy Marketing internship with GENEX. Not only is it my intention to learn an abundance, my goal for the summer would hopefully be to take what I've learned and apply it to my final years of my undergrad and possibly bring that knowledge back to my home farm in the future.

What have you learned from your internship thus far?
Strangely enough, the people have had the biggest impact on my experiences thus far. Each day I work with a wide variety of farmers, veterinarians, nutritionists, herdsmen and milkers on farms. Furthermore, the team that I'm working with for the summer has been more than welcoming, willing to help in any way possible and always answering every question I may have. Working with them on a daily basis from farm to farm has been incredibly rewarding. I have been able to absorb their knowledge, gain experience breeding cows and build my communication skills.

We wish Sydney the best of luck as she continues her education in agriculture!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Top Five Truths About the Life of a GENEX Dairy Consultant

By: Abby Tauchen, U.S. Dairy Marketing Programs Specialist

From the CEO to the barn crew, each person is an important part of the GENEX team. With that in mind, have you ever wondered what your coworkers do? Have you thought about walking in another person’s shoes, or in this case, boots for the day? I got to do just that! I spent a day with a GENEX Dairy Consultant to get a feel of a typical day on the job. Jeff Lutz, Dairy Consultant in central Wisconsin, let me tag along on a dairy visit, giving me the opportunity to ask questions about his typical day as a consultant. Here are the top five truths, in a nutshell, about the life of a Dairy Consultant:
  1. Dairy Visits: Consultants enjoy meeting with farm owners and employees to discuss genetics, reproduction and goals to build a better future. Tasks include analyzing on-farm data and monitoring GENEX product performance for optimal results.
  2. Team Communication: Communicating with the GENEX team is a vital part of the job. Phone calls, emails and ride-alongs all happen, most of the time, multiple times a day. Team members provide extra insight and helpful tips so together they can achieve a dairy’s goals.
  3. Pride: GENEX employees take pride in our proprietary index, ICC$! GENEX listened to what our members and customers wanted and created an index that was more functional on their commercial dairy operation.
  4. Programs: GENEX provides essential advancedreproductive and genetic-focused programs to producers and partners in the industry. These programs make a Dairy Consultant's job easier and enable the team to reach a dairy's goals faster.
  5. Training: Employee development is important to every career. GENEX offers an exceptional internal career development program for employees to complete. Conferences are also conducted across departments to focus and re-energize employees, allowing them to better serve members and customers. Jeff and I both recently attended a GENEX U.S. Strategic Marketing & Technical Services Conference in Arizona. The theme of our conference was Focus.
Above are the top five truths, but believe me there are plenty more truths to gather from a day in the life of a GENEX Dairy Consultant. Whatever industry you are a part of, take a chance and get to know your co-workers and their jobs! I know that by doing this, I am better able to appreciate the entire GENEX team as well as our members and customers.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Surviving the Spring Bull Sale Season

By: Brad Johnson, Director Beef Genetics and Cody Sankey, Beef Sire Procurement Manager

With spring bull sale season in the rearview mirror, we wanted to share our lessons learned.

      Don’t be proud. Be warm. Mud boots and Stormy Kromer caps may look dumb but are awesome. It’s a challenge to get Muck® boots, gloves, hats, Carhartt® bibs and more into a carry-on bag, but it’s totally worth the effort. Brad’s fingers still tingle occasionally from his February visit to Alberta. Good thing the bulls were good!


Do your bull sale homework ahead of time. Have a short list of bulls before you arrive at the ranch. It’s going to be cold/snowy/muddy/rainy/sleeting/hailing/all of the above, so sorting through every single bull’s data while in the bull pen isn’t a good idea.

Never underestimate the value of a good rental car.  Just because you can get a Ford Fusion for $7 a day and it gets 30 mpg doesn’t mean it will be a good deal. After you’re stuck driving in a snowstorm that upgrade cost for the Ford Explorer looks pretty cheap.

One cannot own enough phone chargers. If you leave one at a hotel it’s as good as gone and so is your battery level. You can never survive a bull sale day without a full phone battery. Try raiding the lost and found at the next hotel you get to, there’s a good chance one of us left one there last time we visited. You’re welcome.

Speaking of hotels, Holiday Inn Express is our “go-to” chain. However, NEVER be afraid to try out the local establishments. Hotels like the Great Northern in Malta, Montana, Bob’s Resort in Gettysburg, South Dakota or the Hyannis Hotel in Hyannis, Nebraska are certain to have a warm bed, good shower and outstanding restaurant with great food!

Never pass up a great bull. At GENEX, we believe you can never have too many great bulls and when we find one, you can count on us to add him to the GENEX lineup. We strive to have the most powerful lineup of bulls in the business and are extremely excited with our 2017 acquisitions. Check them out on the website and Facebook.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017


GENEX has a great team of Independent Contractors across the country who serve our members and customers. Last fall we featured a group of our #RepsthatRock and decided to feature some others during #beefmonth. We’ve posted them throughout the month on the GENEXBeef Facebook page, however, these folks are so fabulous that we wanted to share their stories on the blog as well. Here’s a glimpse at three of our representatives. 

Independent Contractor John Ridder has been working with GENEX since 2011, serving customers in east central Missouri. John earned a degree in agriculture with emphases in animal science and ag economics from the University of Missouri – Columbia. John states the best part of his job is working with customers and helping them find success with their breeding programs. While he doesn’t have much spare time, he does make time to attend his kids’ activities.

When it comes to beef, John prefers a Falling Timber Farm ribeye on the grill with homegrown corn and tomatoes – yum!

Ross Beeson has been an Independent Contractor in southeast South Dakota since 2013. He grew up on a cow/calf ranch and earned an animal science degree from South Dakota State University. With the help of GENEX, he’s living the dream – he’s part of the family ranch, which has expanded and added custom heifer development and A.I. service. Ross truly enjoys the work he does with GENEX, stating the best part is talking cattle and studying each customer’s needs to help them achieve their reproductive goals.
Ross enjoys spending time with his wife and two girls. And when the girls go to bed, he can be found studying the GENEX lineup and Angus cattle. When asked about his favorite beef entrée, Ross noted, “Nothing beats a grilled tenderloin.”

Matt Swanson has been part of the GENEX team in north central Nebraska for over 10 years. What began as a good fit to his heifer developing business has grown so much that he no longer has time to develop heifers. Matt enjoys helping GENEX customers meet their herd reproductive goals. Seeing the progress of taking an average herd and developing it into something more is a rewarding process for him.

In his free time, you can find Matt doing various activities with his family, including fishing, camping, hunting and participating in 4-H shoot sports. As for his favorite beef entrée, well, he says as long as it’s beef he’s happy! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Giving Birth Takes a Lot Out of a Cow – Including Calcium

Giving birth is no simple task. This is true for nearly all species, including cattle. Bringing new life into this world can truly be a miracle, but behind all the awe and beauty is a mother who struggled for hours, giving her all and sacrificing her own body to give life to her offspring (and to add milk to your tank).

While it is important to properly care for a newborn calf, it is also important to ensure the mother receives the care she needs. After all, she did just give birth so you could collect her milk. And giving birth takes a lot out of a cow – including calcium.

Proper calcium levels in a cow are crucial, especially post-calving. Without proper blood calcium levels, cows could experience hypocalcemia (aka milk fever). Hypocalcemia can lead to increased injury, decreased feed intake, increased risk of ketosis, increased risk of displaced abomasum and lower milk production. Therefore, preventative measures should be taken to reduce the possibility of hypocalcemia.

What can you do to maintain blood calcium levels? Typically, you administer some type of calcium bolus or supplement. The standard bolus routine is fighting a cow to swallow two (or more) giant boluses. (If only there was a bolus with a smooth shape and sleek coating to help ease the swallowing process. Amiright?) And even worse – not only do you need to try to catch the cow once, but you usually need to try to catch that same cow again 12 hours later to give it the second bolus. (Talk about inconvenient. Like you don’t already have enough on your plate.) Calcium supplementation can be a headache, that’s for sure. Luckily, GENEX continually looks for ways to make producers’ lives easier. That’s why we set out to create a calcium supplement unlike any other on the market.

Noting producers’ concerns regarding administration, shape and size, GENEX created a calcium supplement that not only provides plenty of calcium but also includes vitamin D and magnesium to help transfer the calcium into the blood stream. This product, RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement, was suggested by members and made for members. What makes this calcium supplementation different from the others?
›    RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement comes in one package (containing two boluses) that provides enough calcium so you don’t have to catch the cow a second time. Both boluses in the package can be given right away as opposed to giving the second bolus 12 hours later.
·       ›Each package contains 100 grams of calcium, a mixture between fast-releasing calcium chloride and a slower releasing Calmin. (Calmin is a seaweed-derived highly available source of calcium and magnesium that is absorbable over time.) The calcium chloride ensures the cow receives calcium quickly, while the Calmin slowly releases calcium (thus eliminating the need to give a second bolus 12 hours later).
·       RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement is missile shaped and coated which makes it easy for a Jersey or Holstein cow to swallow. (This calcium supplement is cow tested, Jersey approved.)

RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement not only provides rapid calcium absorption and supplements blood calcium; it also provides peace of mind for you.

Curious about the RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement? Need some in your life NOW? Contact your GENEX representative for more information.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Five Rules of Working in a Breeding Barn

By: Sarah Thorson, Beef Marketing and Education Manager

 I spent most of last week on a breeding project in western Nebraska, where over the course of four days we bred just over 1,000 heifers and cows. I always enjoy when I get invited to lend an extra hand on a breeding project. I may be biased, but I truly believe that I get to work with the most talented group of people in the A.I. industry, and last week the team we assembled was no exception. Joining me in the breeding barn were GENEX Independent Contractors, Matt Dolezal and Troy Carruthers, and Large Herd Beef Development Manager, Justin Hergenreder. Since we had a lot of time in the breeding barn together I asked them what their top five rules for working in a breeding a barn would be. Here’s what we came up with:

  1. What happens in the breeding barn, stays in the breeding barn. Just like in Vegas, when you get four people in a relatively small space for extended periods of time, you never know what’s going to happen or what the topic of conversation may be, but whatever it is, it stays in the barn.
  2. Sometimes things get messy… this one probably goes without too much explanation. I blame it on the fact that I am significantly shorter, with shorter arms, than most everyone else in the breeding barn, but it always seems that no matter how hard I try to stay clean, I always end up dirtier than everyone else.
  3. Just because you are dirty, doesn’t mean I should be too. This one goes with #2. The people that have managed the art of staying clean in the breeding barn, steer clear of those that have not.
  4. Be nice to the person thawing semen. I added this one myself, because I did most of the semen thawing last week! Whatever the reason though, you should be nice to the semen thawer, they can help set the pace in the barn and make everyone’s life much easier.
  5. Work hard, but have fun doing it. Because if you can’t have a little fun in the breeding barn, where can you?
What would you add to the rules? Let us know in the comments section below!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lessons From Our Rural Moms Part 4

I'm not sure what it is about a mom that makes her so extraordinary. Maybe it is her ability to seemingly effortlessly pull off amazing feats of organization or that look she can give you from clear across a crowded room that lets you know you should knock.  it.  off.  right.  now. Or, perhaps it is the magic her kisses possess to make all of the ouchies go away. Whatever it is, I can tell you there is something special about the women we are lucky enough to call mom. For the next couple of days, in honor of Mother's Day, we will share a few stories about rural moms, because I'm sure you will all agree, rural moms have a completely different set of challenges to conquer!

I didn’t grow up on a farm; I married a farmer.  My first experience driving tractor was during a time when the whole family had to pick stones. I was told to keep the tractor straight but never where the brakes were (You can probably see where this one is going!).  Someone was in front of the tractor picking stones, and I had to frantically yell out, ‘Move!’ Everyone laughed, and they then told me where the brakes were. The odd thing is, my mother had the same experience when she was younger. We now share the same type of story.

Being married to a farmer, I have repeated told my kids how to be safe on the farm. They get tired of hearing it over and over. We recently brought home a new puppy, and I am reviewing it all over again. Now it’s their chance to train the puppy with what they have learned about safety!

Thank you to all moms, but especially those who have the added pressure of raising rural kids. The job is not easy, but you certainly make it look that way!
Image credit: Pork Network