Friday, October 20, 2017

Knowledge is Power

As a kid, I remember watching a show called School House Rock. The opening jingle had a character who would yell out, "Knowledge is power." (Sorry if that jingle is now stuck in your head, child of the '80's!) The individuals responsible for creating the seven cooperative principles understood the enormity of knowledge and what those with it were capable of accomplishing. That is why principle number five is education, training and information.

GENEX takes this principle to heart and strives to be a source of information for our members and customers in both the dairy and beef cattle industries. I talked about some of the ways GENEX is currently educating members and customers in my last blog post Education Isn't a Four Letter Word.

Today I would like to spend a little time talking about training for GENEX employees, delegates and board members.

GENEX employees, along with others working for other Cooperative Resources International (CRI) brands, have the opportunity to participate in the cooperative's professional development program called REACH. Employee enrichment is important as the industry we work in changes quickly. To ensure a rapid response, employees also participate in webinars, listen to podcasts, are provided with internal newsletters and belong to a GENEX employees Facebook group. 

Many employees take their learning and teaching to the next level, such as the experience below, where Dairy Sire Procurement Specialist, Dan Bauer, spent time in Brazil in partnership with the American Jersey Cattle Association, AgSource and the USDA to study the emerging Jersey industry in the country. Dan was able to share some insight into our Jersey industry, while networking with Brazilian farmers.

Delegates are the very heart of GENEX. They provide GENEX with the grass-roots direction it requires to operate from year to year. Over 150 delegates and alternates gather each year at one of eight delegate meetings to learn about the cooperative and industry, as well as to provide the GENEX board and senior management with recommended changes for the coming year. 

In addition, delegates and alternates attend the annual meeting each January, where they have the opportunity to network with other delegates and attend break-out sessions. Session topics vary from year to year and can include titles from Cooperatives 101 to Using Social Media on Your Farm/Ranch to Brazil Beef (below).

Board Members
GENEX is governed by a 13-member board consisting of dairy and beef producers from across the U.S. A policy exists to encourage structured participation in programs designated to enhance director knowledge and experience. Three days of basic training is provided for all new directors, and three to five days of education and training is expected of each director yearly. This is in addition to their regularly scheduled meetings. There is also the opportunity for more advanced training, if a director should choose to receive it. These learning experiences are in business management, cooperative education or other agricultural topics associated with GENEX, with many of them being graduate-level courses. Below, past GENEX Board President, Paul Greene, addresses the delegates during the 2017 Annual Meeting.

Education is not just a buzz word at GENEX. The cooperative truly believes knowledge is power. By providing learning opportunities to everyone involved with the company, GENEX can ensure its purpose of being the trusted provider of world-class animal genetics, progressive reproductive solutions, value-added products and innovative services to members and customers.

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