Thursday, December 31, 2015

CRI Honors Employees with Tenure Awards

The year was 1970. The median household income was $8,734. A first class stamp cost six cents and a gallon of gas broke the bank at $0.36. Sideburns were of epic proportion as mutton chops and bell bottoms, belted men’s sweaters and gobs of light blue eye shadow were all the rage.

Two men joined the predecessors of Cooperative Resources International (CRI) in 1970 and are still going strong. Congratulations to Thomas Handrich and David Quick on reaching the 45 year milestone in your tenure!
David Quick

Thomas Handrich
Oh what fun it is to peruse the files looking for old dated experienced photos!

1975 brought the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft take off for a U.S.-Soviet link-up in space, three men were found guilty in the Watergate cover-up and President Ford escaped two assassination attempts. It was also the year Willard Gowdy, George Shue, Matt Silbernick and Robert Young joined our team. Congratulations on 40 years!

George Shue
Willard Gowdy
Ah, the 80s! The number 1 song on the Billboard chart for 1980 was "Call Me" by Blondie and the Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, New York. It was the same year the following individuals joined our ranks.

Pattie Miklya
Richard Pinkall-Pollei
Congratulations to these 35 Year Tenure Award Winners!
Bruce Cameron
Jeffrey Cole
Matthew Furman
Jimmie Horner
Linda Marty
David Mellinger
Pattie Miklya
Richard Pinkall-Pollei
Mike Preisinger
Joseph Radtke
Mike Preisinger

Congratulations to these 30 Year Tenure Award Winners!
Terri Dallas
Pete Giacomini
Jerry Hutchinson
Tom Kramer
Sherry Krantz
Kevin Kuzdas
Robert Schell
Catherine Stewart
Ronald Thompson
Ronald Tuma
Ronald Wise

Congratulations to these 25 Year Tenure Award Winners!
Kenneth Arndt
John Eder
Brad Fischer
Judd Hanson
Keith Heikes
Eldon Lehman
Ricky Schmeiser
Jerry Sherman
Becky Simmet
Ludwig Simmet

Congratulations to these 20 Year Tenure Award Winners!
Jerry Bignell
Jim Black
Kaia Boettcher
Bob Brahmstadt
Janine Brun
John Carrigan
Robert Edwards
Robert Fritz Jr
Eric Helms
Virginia Hustad
Dennis Jahnke
Martha Kingseed
Ronda Olson
Linda Peterson
Bruce Potter
Todd Schaaf

Congratulations to these 15 Year Tenure Award Winners!
Peter Beining
Sara Brei
Justin Breunig
Joel Delzer
David Franck
Nicole Gawlikoski
Christina Helms
Dustin Hollermann
Kevin Klink
Travis Kretzschmar
Ami Lasecki
Michael Lee
John Lennox
Stan Lock
Ronald Mehr
Roger Olson
Aarron Osterhaus
Jeff Reed
Roger Robinson
Douglas Sauer Jr
Robert Schrieber
Scott Schultz
Steve Silva
Huub te Plate
Scott Vacek
Weidong Wu
Algie Ziebell

Congratulations to these 10 Year Tenure Award Winners!
Richard Aguiar
John Bagnall
Nathan "Jay" Beck
Alan Behnke
Brad Berger
Benjamin Bjork
Tammy Brandt
Thomas Dicke
JoAnn Disch
Brian Edge
Jonna Egli
Kristi Fiedler
Steven Flemke
Sergio Franco
Charles Gertken
Jenny Hanson
Jesse Harder
LaVerne Heiden
Patrick Hermann
Arvin W Hoeft
Arther Hoffman
Amy Holbrook
Scott Holman
Christine Johnson
Lindsay Johnson
Mark Johnson
Richard Koppang
Toni Lindal
Lori Luepke
Brian Meyer
Darcy Meyer
Eric Miller
Jessica Millermon
Peter Nass
Sheilee O'Malley
William Pahl
Amanda Petersen
Jeremiah Ploen
Jennifer Poole
Robert Prinsen
Tod Pubanz
James Rinaldo
Thomas Schlimgen
Kenneth "Marc" Shoemaker
Linda Stefl
Roger Weigle, DVM
Robert Schulerud
Roy Wilson

Congratulations to these 5 Year Tenure Award Winners!
Dan Beatty
Jennifer Beckard
Benjamin Bemis
Clem Bettencourt
Nania Brahmer
Lincoln Breault
Milton Brusewitz
Lonny Caswell
Jordan Ellison
Dany Fontaine
Jerry Fors
Mickeal Fosse
Michelle Gollubske
Colten Green
Nicholas Guilette
Jeff Gundrum
Martin Hahn
Lynda Hanson
Timothy Heiring
Michael Hughes
Cheyna Kary
Zachary Keehan
James Krage
Fred Krueger
Tina Kuehn
Bruce Lindauer
Denise McNew
Kaitlyn Mahar
Llamamblu Navarro
Calvin Oberg
Marcel Petrutiu
Robert Plaisted
Cindy Pulver
Gail Rauch
Jim Retzloff
Kevin Retzloff
Lon Richardson
Benjamin Roudabush
Scott Sanderson
Jordan Schuelke
Ashley Schugel
Heather Seehafer
Devin Sumption
Raymond Supan
Timothy Swiernik
Dean Uitermark
Danny Utke
Mitchell VanHavermaet
Joshua Waldera
Fred Wiesman
Terry Wissell
John A Wright

Thank you all for your time and talents. CRI wouldn't be the same without you!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Meet Darlin-D Denim 3967

By: Morgan Kliebenstein, Genex Dairy Procurement Specialist

Meet Darlin-D Denim 3967, she is just one of the nearly 3,000 or so cows currently being milked at GENESIS Cooperator Herd, Dykstra Dairy, in Maurice, Iowa. Most days, you wouldn’t notice this 1HO10218 DENIM daughter, as she goes about her business eating, drinking, lounging and doing other normal cow stuff. As low-maintenance as she is, having no health events, and being a medium-framed, correctly-built, functional cow, she just doesn’t stand out… 

But that’s what makes her so great! 

If you were to look at her cow card on the dairy’s DairyComp305, you’d walk away never forgetting her. That’s because you’d see the epitome of the ideal commercial cow. Not only did 3967 calve in at just 2-0, but she then proceeded to get flushed several times, breed back with only one service and continued on to have a stellar lactation. At 340 DIM, she is on track to make 30,000 lb of very high quality Milk with an average of 4.4% Fat, 3.2% Protein and only 63,000 SCC, all of it done without taking any sick days! Not only does this cow look good on paper, but her solid functionality, great udder and modest frame earned her a final score of GP-84 on classification day. After hearing all of this, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that 3967 is genomic tested at +$841 ICC, proving that the Ideal Commercial Cow index truly does promote profitable, healthy, trouble-free cows with functional type. Owner Darin Dykstra is one of her biggest fans: “She really is the ideal cow for a commercial herd. She has high components, a great udder, feet, and legs, and was bred back on the first service. What more could you want?”  We here at Genex agree.

Important Darlin-D Denim 3967 facts:
  • +$841 ICC, +$685 LNM
  • Nine daughters averaging +$735 ICC
  • Denim x Freddie x Clover (100% Genex breeding)
  • Clover grandam made over +140,000 Milk in her lifetime
  • Calved in at 2-0
  • Took one service to get pregnant
  • No health events (i.e. never had to be treated, was never lame, no calving issues)
  • Only one test (her first) over 100,000 SCC
  • 340 DIM and has made +29,290 Milk +1288 Fat and +933 Protein (only one test under 4.0% fat)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thank You, Bill!

Admiration, sincere admiration – that’s what can be heard in people’s voices as they speak about Bill Ziese, a Genex Territory Sales Manager from California, who retired this fall after dedicating 49 years to the dairy cattle industry. Bill may be best known by some for marketing more than 3.3 million units of semen in his lifetime. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders, that number ranks him among the industry’s elite for total units sold. In fact, it places him second for total sales throughout history. Yet, that number is not why others admire Bill.

As CRI CEO Doug Wilson acknowledges, “That is only the beginning of his story.”

He went on to explain, “I first met Bill at Flo’s Cafe. It was where all the Chino Valley, California, dairy industry gathered for breakfast. As I walked up, someone said to me, ‘that fancy pickup over there is owned by the king of this area named Ziese.’”

Over the coming years, Doug learned just what it was that made Bill the king. “When the dairy rush in the Chino Valley began, Bill seized the opportunity and did so with an incredibly professional approach. He did not just sell semen. He was ahead of his time in large herd consulting. He mated cows, organized the semen inventory, interpreted DHIA data, and shared herd management tips he observed.”

Bill dedicated his time to improving the dairy industry and dairy cattle. While a fan of both commercial and registered cows, during his career Bill saw one opportunity in particular and seized it. As Doug describes, “During the breeder bull era, Bill organized a sampling structure for registered breeders. He distributed the semen, collected data and evaluated the daughters. Genex predecessors benefited from this program when we leased the bull 21HO990 Big Al.”

Back to that incredibly professional approach Doug referred to; Bill demonstrated that professionalism throughout his career. Art Marquez of Marquez Dairy alluded to it during a recent celebration of Bill’s record-setting 3 million unit sales. Art stated, “In the many years of doing business with Bill, I never once questioned the bulls he recommended; nor did I ever need to query an invoice; nor did I ever have to count the semen that was delivered; nor did I have to check on the mating recommendations.”

Josh Davis, Genex regional Director of Dairy Marketing, worked with Bill for several years. In answering what has made Bill such an admired leader, he states, “It’s Bill’s personality. Bill has always placed his customers and team before himself, and for that reason they put complete trust in him. He also has a great work ethic, working every day until his retirement at age 75.”

Thank you, Bill, for the example you have set - not only through your sales achievements, but through your professionalism, your innovative spirit, your foresight and your dedication. Along with the dairy producers of California, with sincere admiration we say “thank you” and wish you the best in retirement.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

On the Road with Lorna and Willie

Lorna Marshall, AVP of Beef Sire Evaluation and Willie Altenburg, AVP of Beef Genetics have been busy this fall checking out progeny of many of our Genex sires. Here are a few of their observations.

Lornas Notes 

Fall Progeny at Connealy Angus 

1AN01302 WESTERN CUT - These cattle are consistently moderate-framed, above depth of body and rib shape, expressively muscled with excellent eye-appeal.

1AN01226 UPROAR -They are powerful, attractive, three-dimensional and sound with good dispositions. 

1AN01278 DOUBLE VISION - Double Vision adds bone, frame size and serious performance.

1AN01281 EXTRA 0011 - They are long-bodied, strong-topped cattle with added bone. He should be protected on depth of body, rear flank and lower quarter.

Spring Progeny at Connealy Angus
1AN01334 PROTOTYPE - This was a very nice, consistent sire group. They are moderate and big-ribbed with above average muscle. 

1AN01299 FORTITUDE - These calves have consistently scored a low 6 for frame. They are long-bodied, attractive, and have above average muscle for the +13 CED he offers. 

1AN01242 FULL POWER - As usual, very consistent, balanced trait cattle that are not extreme anywhere but above average everywhere.

Weaned Calves at Schaff Angus Valley

1AN01238 RESOURCE - Calves are consistently good and the full sisters in production are awesome.

1AN01365 RENOWN - A tad more level-hipped and longer-fronted than the RESOURCE progeny. 

1AN01287 WEST RIVER - The calves are very smooth-made, moderate-framed and super sound with lots of body.

1AN01237 ANGUS VALLEY - The daughters are a little bigger-framed, but very angular with gorgeous udders. Protect a little on muscle and base width.

1AN01320 TEN SPEED - The calves had very good performance and nice profile. They are above average for body depth, with a lot of top, hip and quarter.

Willie’s Notes

Fall Simmental Tour

1SM00151 ELEVATE - I saw ELEVATE's dam, with a very nice bull calf at her side, when I visited Lassle Ranch Simmentals in Montana. She is a moderate-framed, big-bodied Dual Focus daughter with a small, tight udder. She appears to hold her flesh very well and looked quite impressive.

1SM00155 NIGHTRIDE - Lassle Ranch also had several NIGHTRIDE calves. The birth weights on heifers are consistently small and other operations are reporting the same, so calving ease appears to be a lock. Calves are very moderate-framed, thick, deep and soft-sided. NIGHTRIDE is a commercially-oriented, calving ease bull.

1SM00150 TRUE JUSTICE - When I visited Bata Bros. Simmentals in North Dakota, I saw TRUE JUSTICE's dam, now a three-year-old. She is a larger-framed, hard-working female with a snug udder, and another strapping bull calf at side. At Genex Dakota Sire Service, TRUE JUSTICE was just coming in stud after a summer out with cows. He has grown up; he's added a bit more frame, but his feet have stayed sound. He has an excellent number profile, backed by 50K.

1SM00113 TANKER - When I visited Christensen Simmentals in South Dakota, they had 100+ TANKER daughters in production. These are easy-fleshing, big-volume females with nice udders and big calves at side. Not only does TANKER make great Simmental females, but he is an excellent choice for use on Angus cows.

1SM00154 IRONHIDE - I visited both Rock Creek Ranch and EBY Ranch in Kansas to see every IRONHIDE calf they have. I did not see one bad calf. While not every calf had a blaze face, every calf I saw was thick, deep and correct. Granted, they are still young as the oldest were yearlings, but they were impressive.

1SM00153 COWBOY CUT - I saw COWBOY CUT progeny at both Triangle J Ranch in Nebraska and Cow Camp Ranch in Kansas. They are very muscular, correct and black, as I see little to no white on the underlines. I would probably protect him on rear flank and use him on deeper cows. He would be a perfect cross on Dream On and Angus cows. COWBOY CUT has an EPD number profile unmatched in the industry today.

1SM00133 BEEF KING - BEEF KING's progeny continue to impress, whether red or black. BEEF KING will add muscle while maintaining structural integrity.

1SM00131 WIDE TRACK - Werning Cattle Company in South Dakota has WIDE TRACK progeny in production, mostly half-bloods, and they really like them. WIDE TRACK is an excellent bull to make purebreds or half-bloods and to add muscle and growth.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

10 low cost things you can do TODAY to show your employees your appreciation

I have recently been thinking a lot about what motivates people to do their job and if extrinsic motivation equates to higher job performance. While I am skeptical of if rewards lead to lasting achievement, I can tell you most people appreciate some type of recognition from time-to-time. With lower milk and beef prices this year, some of you may be wondering if you can provide your employees with any type of acknowledgement. I am here to tell you - YES! In fact, I would argue you should try to do some of these small things all year long, not just during this time of traditional holiday giving and thankfulness. Begin to foster a climate of gratitude, and see how great it makes everyone feel, including you.

10 low cost things you can do TODAY to show your employees your appreciation

1. Say Thank You. It seems so obvious, but when was the last time you said thank you for a job well done and provided a few sincere reasons?

2. Food. Depending on the size of your group, take them to lunch or bring doughnuts. It could be as simple as arranging a pot-luck with everyone providing a great dish for a chance to get together with their co-workers.

3. Flexibility. Think about what is going on in their life. Perhaps allowing them to come in a little late to go to a doctor’s appointment or duck-out early to catch their kid’s first pitch is all they have been wishing for.

4. Public Shout-Out. Look for an opportunity to give public praise. Maybe you have a newsletter, or farm/ranch social media account that could be tapped for this purpose. It could be as easy as inserting the compliment into a group conversation.

5. Impromptu Meeting. Schedule a meeting to do nothing but provide praise to each individual employee.

6. Swag. Give whatever your budget allows. Jackets, shirts, hats, water bottles, pens and other farm/ranch logoed items allow your employees to wear/use your company name with pride.

7. Handwritten Note. There is nothing like an old-fashioned note. Is it your employee’s birthday? Did they recently go through a difficult time? Write them a sincere note to show you are thinking about them and care.

8. Caught Doing Great Wall. Create an area or system that encourages employees to recognize their co-workers for going above and beyond.

9. Encourage Giving Back. Organize a food drive for your local pantry. Take an afternoon and help out at the 4-H small animal vaccinations clinic. It doesn’t matter what group you are helping, your community benefits and everyone feels great for the assistance they were able to provide.
2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

10. Give them an extra hand. I know your plate is full, but can you give an hour somewhere to help out on a particularly difficult project or task? Your employee will appreciate the effort you provided. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Let your milk test do more with KetoMonitor

An AgSource DHI milk test can tell you many things about a cow.  In addition to how much milk, fat and protein she is producing, you can also:
  • Measure how healthy her udder is
  • Identify which pathogen is the culprit of any udder illness
  • Confirm whether or not she is pregnant
  • Determine if she has Leukosis or Johne's Disease
  • and you can now detect ketosis in your fresh cows! 
Ketosis, a common early-lactation disease in dairy cattle, is characterized by reduced feed intake, lethargy and abnormal licking and chewing. Until now ketosis was typically diagnosed using a blood test. 

Enter the AgSource KetoMonitor™, which has been received with great enthusiasm for several reasons: It’s easy, it’s accurate and it saves a lot of money.

The beauty of KetoMonitor is two-fold. It helps to monitor a very costly disease (Ketosis is estimated to cost $289/cow/case) at the herd level. Without regular blood sampling, 85-90% of subclinical cases of ketosis go undetected. Utilizing test-day milk sample information, KetoMonitor can help dairy producers measure how big the problem is in the herd.  This information is tracked over a period of 12 months, so the impacts of seasons and management changes (like feed and housing) can be evaluated.

The report not only helps manage the herd. It helps manage sick cows. The back side of the report lists all of the cows tested that day suspected to have Ketosis and keeps track of cows due to freshen within the next 90 days that had ketosis in a prior lactation. This is important because the likelihood of them developing ketosis in subsequent lactations is higher. Listing these cows allows them to be more closely monitored as they approach their due date.

To date 204 herds and 114,469 cows are enrolled on KetoMonitor. If you’d like to join them, contact your local DHI manager or call AgSource Customer Service at 800-236-4995. Learn more at Read how Larson Acres, in Evansville, Wisconsin, utilizes KetoMonitor in their herd.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Full Story Behind W/C Wide Track 694Y

By Jackie Atkins, The American Simmental Association and Lindsay Johnson, Genex

This spring, a high-impact Simmental bull, W/C Wide Track 694Y, was erroneously named a carrier of Contractural Arachnodactyly (CA), also known as fawn calf syndrome. After further investigation, it became clear that Wide Track was in fact free of the defect. What happened to lead to such a monumental mistake? Here is the full story from American Simmental Association (ASA), Genex Cooperative, Inc. and the Werning family.

As part of an effort to screen the most-used bulls in the ASA registry, the ASA in collaboration with Genex, Accelerated Genetics, Select Sires and Allied Genetic Resources, sent in samples on all SimGenetic bulls available through these companies for extended genetic condition testing.  On April 16, 2015, the ASA received results on 249 sires tested for the following conditions:

AM = Arthrogryposis Multiplex, a.k.a. Curly calf (Angus)
DL = Dilutor (Hereford)
IE = Idiopathic Epilepsy (Hereford)
NH = Neuropathic Hydrocephalus, a.k.a. water head (Angus)
OS = Osteopetrosis, a.k.a. Marble bone disease (Red Angus)
PHA = Pulmonary Hypoplasia with Anasarca (Shorthorn and Dexter)
TH = Tibial Hemimelia (Shorthorn)
HY = Hypotrichosis (Hereford)
CA = Contractural Arachnodactyly, a.k.a. Fawn calf (Angus)
DD = Developmental Duplication (Angus)

One bull, W/C WIDE TRACK 694Y (ASA # 2588250), was reported a CA carrier. Dr. Jon Beever conducted further testing on the original sample (two additional tests) and concluded the sample was in fact a carrier of CA. Wide Track had an Angus cow, of unknown pedigree, four generations back in his pedigree making it unlikely, but feasible, that he carried the CA gene. As the dam and sire of Wide Track did not have DNA on file, the Wernings sent in samples for parent verification and CA testing to both Dr. Beever and GeneSeek.   

In the meantime, Genex pulled Wide Track from their lineup. Announcements were sent out from Genex (April 20) and ASA (April 26) to notify their members.

“For those Genex members and customers who had purchased Wide Track semen within the past 24 months, Genex issued a credit for any semen that hadn’t been used,” states Willie Altenburg of Genex Beef Genetics.

During that same time, the Werning family pulled Wide Track from the herd and made the decision to have him put down.

“We don’t believe in using a carrier bull so didn’t see any value in keeping him around,” states Scott Werning, Werning Cattle Company. “We realized there was the potential for him to sire clean calves; however, we didn’t want to be known for propagating the defect. We knew putting him down was the right thing to do.”

On May 6, Dr. Beever notified ASA and Genex that neither of Wide Track’s parents were carriers of CA. This is not possible unless 1) the original CA report was wrong or 2) the parentage was wrong. Dr. Beever isolated a new sample of DNA from Wide Track which tested free of Contractural Arachnodactyly. Dr. Beever then obtained a new straw of semen from Genex and tested that sample. Again, the sample came back CA-free. On May 8, Genex and the ASA announced that Wide Track was indeed CA-free and the original testing was an error. The reported parentage was confirmed with GeneSeek on May 15, 2015. 

“When we learned Wide Track was CA-free, many customers, who had received credit for Wide Track semen, used that credit to purchase more Wide Track semen,” states Altenburg. “That tells you how well our customers like the bull. Today, a limited amount of Wide Track semen is still available from Genex.”

The obvious question is, “Why was the original sample positive?” The simple answer is we still don’t know. All the samples in the same order were retested twice and all came back free so there was not a simple swap. It is unclear how the original sample was contaminated; but, there is no doubt that Wide Track is free of these 10 genetic conditions.  

Ten Signs You May Work for an A.I. Company (and we’re not talking artificial intelligence)

What do you think? Have any to add? Give me your best 10 signs you are a farmer/rancher. I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dairy Synchronization: A Learning Experience - Part 3

By Brooke Schultz, Communications Coordinator, CRI 

After learning about waves and magic, we’ve come to the last part of synchronization (I know, I know – finally). No discussion of synchronization would be complete without talking about Resynch. This is an important aspect of synchronization because not all cows become pregnant at first breeding and require at least one resynchronization to conceive. 

Resynch is applied around a non-pregnancy diagnosis and helps to quickly returns the animal to another timed A.I. Resynch helps to shorten the number of days between inseminations and improve the efficiency and profitability of an operation. There are several dairy Resynch methods to choose from.

Now, how does Resynch shorten the number of days between inseminations? Since not all cows become pregnant after first insemination, this leaves a number of animals open. The earliest time they can be re-inseminated is when they return to heat at around 21 days. Those that do express heat at this point are re-inseminated at the most optimum time (which probably turns out to be the most inconvenient time for you, of course). Here is where the challenge lies, however, because a significant number of cows do not display estrous before pregnancy diagnosis. Thus, an alternative method, Resynch and its series of injections, must be used if you want to reach peak reproductive efficiency.

When properly implemented, Resynch permits timed A.I. to occur as soon as three days after a non-pregnancy diagnosis on all animals confirmed open. Yes, you read that right – three days! This leads to cows being rebred in a timelier manner and shortens span between inseminations. As a result, Resynch improves the efficiency of a reproductive program and thus improves profitability of an operation.

With Resynch, timed A.I. can occur as soon as 3 days after non-pregnance diagnosis.
Resynch permits timed A.I. to occur as soon
as 3 days after non-pregnancy diagnosis!

With all that being said, synchronization seems like a no-brainer in many situations. An operation is only as successful as its profitability, and an operation is only as profitable as the quality of its livestock, and the only way a producer can improve the quality of his livestock is by breeding and re-breeding in a timely fashion (and using Genex genetics, of course).