Featured Dealer: Erv & Del Farms

Cliff Linder has the passion to help young people succeed.

Caring for livestock and people are two things that Cliff Linder knows about and is really good at. One way he has cared for his own cattle is by feeding them VitaFerm® for the last 20 years. Therefore, when the opportunity to become a BioZyme® dealer presented itself nearly seven years ago, it was an easy decision for Cliff, who also owns Erv & Del Farms near Louisville, Ohio. A driving force behind his success thus far is that he truly enjoys helping his youngest customers learn and develop their own interest in the livestock industry.

“It is my passion to see kids succeed with their projects,” Cliff said. “Success isn’t always about winning, but I want them to learn how to raise and care for livestock and enjoy it along the way.”

Cliff makes himself available to his customers, young and old, throughout the year, and they know he is just one phone call away. He said if they have a challenge or a question about their project he will help them to the best of his ability. If he can’t answer the question, he will call his ASM, Lindsey Grimes, or someone else in St. Joseph to find an answer, and he appreciates the speed at which his phone calls are returned.

In addition to being accessible on the phone, Cliff makes sure he and his wife, Julie, visit their customers during the spring and summer to make sure all the show stock is eating and gaining. They also make sure they attend a day at the county fairs to support their young customers.

“I enjoy going to the fairs and watching the kids show,” Cliff said. “And they like to see a familiar face. Having a hands-on approach and having them know we support them means a lot, and will make our business stronger.”

Cliff said his love for the county fair spans nearly six decades, as he and his brother started showing at the Stark County Fair in Canton 57 years ago. Last year was his daughter’s last year showing, and there has been just one year in those 57 years, none of his immediate family exhibited livestock at the fair.

Cliff makes sure all the young exhibitors and their animals are ready for the fair by hosting and presenting various clinics and field days that cover nutrition and health for multiple species in the area. He conducted a sheep clinic in mid-March, and typically works with other surrounding counties to teach young people and their parents the importance of a good nutrition program. He also attends spring jackpot shows to display products and discuss the benefits of the BioZyme products.

“If you have animals, you want them to perform. An ounce of preventative maintenance will save you on a vet bill if your animals get sick or go off feed,” Cliff said.

Not only does Cliff work directly with his younger members showing livestock, he works to provide service and answer questions to all his customers, and just hosted his annual dealer meeting this spring. More than 100 customers and potential customers attended the meeting where he and Grimes represented BioZyme, while the Umbarger ASM was also on hand to answer questions since Cliff is also an Umbarger dealer. He said the attendees had a chance to ask questions, learn about new products and everyone left with a door prize and full belly.

As Cliff continues to grow his business, he continues to see more success with his junior customers. Success in and out of the show ring is one thing he is passionate about. With a willing attitude and a passion for the future, Cliff’s business is sure to thrive as well.

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Get Social with Marketing and Promotion

Facebook. YouTube. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. These are just a few of the social media platforms that your customers or your customers’ kids engage with on a daily basis. And they are becoming some of the most widely used marketing tools out there.

If you are looking for a timely way to reach and interact with your customer base, social media is the tool to use, and unlike some predictions of less than a decade ago, social media is here to stay. The reach and engagement is so widespread when using social media, it is hard to deny that it is an effective way to reach a large following very quickly and at a very low cost.

According to an April 2017 report on ebizmba.com, 1.5 billion unique users visit Facebook each month. Granted those users span the globe, that is an amazing number of people to reach with your message.

BioZyme® wants you to succeed in your online presence and posts regularly to its multiple Facebook pages, making content readily available for you to share from your dealer or personal pages. Many BioZyme brands have a Facebook page with content posted regularly. With just a click of the ‘share’ button, you can add that content onto your company Facebook page as well.

Here are just a few examples of ways you can use social media to engage with your customers.

Promote your products. Did you just get a shipment of a new product in? Take a photo and post it to your social media accounts. A picture is truly worth a thousand words on social media.

Create a hashtag and use it properly. Hashtags, the little pound symbol before a group of words, can be a powerful way to reach a group of like-minded people. For example, “#surechamp is great product to keep your show animals on feed this summer,” might be a tweet you post, with a link to Facebook page and a promotion on Sure Champ. Young people familiar with the brand name, but not exactly what it does might click on that post, and learn more and become your next customer. 

Host a contest. Sure Champ® already posts judging classes to its Facebook page. Perhaps you can share this, and you can reward a local winner with a cap or a tube of Vita Charge® Paste. Or make up your own contest. May is beef month, so host a photography contest where your customers can submit their favorite photo of cattle, and then entries are voted on by others on social media.

Recognize your customers. You just hosted a customer appreciation event. Post photos of those who attended, and especially any big door prize winners.

Educate your customers. Share articles of interest with them from other news sites or groups. Chances are if you post these items of interest, your social page will become a one-stop source for your customers. Adding a quick thought about the information you’re sharing is always a great way to continue the conversation with your followers.

It’s time to get social. Promote your business and reach out to your customers.

Feed the Future is One Way for Dealers to Help Give Back

Two of the most fundamental business investments we can make are in our future and in our people. BioZyme Inc. has committed to investing in both of those areas with the creation of the Feed The Future partnership it formed with the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA).

“Bob and Lisa both feel it is import to make an impact on the next generation of agriculturalists and that is why this program was created,” said Crystal Blin, Marketing Program Manager.

For every receipt BioZyme receives from select VitaFerm® products, BioZyme will donate $1 to the HYFA, with a goal of making a $100,000 donation in October 2017. American Hereford Association members and commercial producers who use purebred Hereford bulls are encouraged to send in copies of their receipts or invoices, and Blin said they can submit receipts as far back as Sept. 1, 2016.

In addition to the program being a great way to make a difference in the young people involved in agriculture, Feed the Future can serve as a great marketing tool for dealers.

“Because most Hereford breeders are extremely passionate about HYFA and supporting their junior members, dealers can mention the Feed the Future program to breeders and it can be a great way to start a dialogue and potentially gain new business,” Blin said.

As of May 1, Blin has collected copies of receipts from Hereford enthusiasts and dealers, equating to nearly $4,800, noting that several dealers will send in the receipts for their customers.

“I will send in the copies of my customers’ receipts for them so it is not an extra burden, yet they feel like they are giving back and helping the youth,” said Sue Kline from The Feed Bunk in LeRoy, Ill.

Kline adds that she typically sells a lot of VitaFerm, but that she has promoted Feed The Future in her store and on social media, and encourages other dealers to do the same to promote the program. All people want to support youth in agriculture; it makes them feel good she said, and so letting them know that their purchase of particular products might help the youth will help spur sales.

Blin said there are several ways to market VitaFerm products while promoting the program. She suggests asking the customers who use Hereford genetics if they do use VitaFerm products, and if not, to consider making the switch, knowing a monetary contribution would be made to an organization the producers are passionate about. Next, she said if they are only using Sure Champ® or they don’t use a VitaFerm product year-round, they might be interested in learning more about qualifying products like Concept•Aid®, Heat™, Cattleman’s Blend, 30:13% Protein Tub, Roughage Fortifier® and Sure Start® Pellet.

Overall, Feed The Future is a win-win-win program for the youth, the producer and the dealer. The youth of the Hereford breed are receiving a great donation, the producer is keeping his or her animals healthier and gaining and the dealer is increasing sales and building relationships.

To learn more about this program, visit www.vitaferm.com/feedthefuture.

Don’t Forget the Young Customers

When it comes to kids, parents are usually not afraid to spend a little extra money to invest in their activities. Parents will spend money on sports camps, dance clinics, traveling ball leagues and personal trainers and coaches. And that is just the beginning. There are still participation fees, uniforms, equipment, lodging, travel and meals.

Showing livestock is no different – you have the initial investment of the animals, nutrition and health protocols to follow, bedding, equipment and fitting supplies not to mention entry fees and lodging, travel and meals.

But once you’ve made that initial investment in your livestock project, don’t you want to make sure it stays healthy while eating and gaining weight? That is why it is super important to focus on our younger customers – those who participate in youth livestock projects and their parents.

“I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t want to see their kids succeed,” said Britney Creamer, ASM in Western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. “Showing livestock is a ‘sport’ where not everyone gets a participation ribbon and parents generally go above and beyond to see their kids be successful.”

“I recommend Sure Champ® to anyone who comes in to buy show calf feed,” said Burton Nusz, store manager at West Slope Ag in Olathe, Colo. “The animals stay healthy and will stay on feed. Once the customer has tried it, the products sell themselves.”

Creamer said most conversations will start with the younger exhibitors who have seen a product promoted on social media or are aware of a promotion or giveaway. The kids will recognize the brand name, but perhaps not fully understand its function or use. That is when it is time to strike up a conversation with the parents, and the easiest way to do that is to jog their memory of that one time when…

“I always ask if they ever had an animal that went off feed or water when they got it to a show. It doesn’t matter if they showed at a county fair or all over the country, almost everyone recalls that memory, it strikes up a conversation, and then I tell them I have an insurance policy for them with added benefits,” Creamer said.

In addition to helping “insure” the show animals won’t go off feed again, Sure Champ products have many benefits including a healthy skin and hair coat and keeping animals gaining in an efficient manner. There are also complementary products in the Vita Charge® line that offer the convenience of different forms of delivery, including Vita Charge Stress Tubs that don’t have to be hand mixed with each feeding.

Creamer offers other suggestions for helping promote the Sure Champ line to customers and their kids for their summer show projects.  Creamer said the 10-pound bag of Spark is a good size to have at the counter. When a customer buys any show feed, it is great to start up a conversation about Spark and how to use it in conjunction with the show feed that is being purchased.

Another creative promotion Creamer has encouraged her dealers to try is setting a jar of red hots on the counter and having customers guess the correct number in the jar; the closest guess wins a shirt or a tube of Sure Champ Climate Control Paste.

Creamer also encourages her dealers to engage on some type of social media since the young exhibitors are so in-tune and already having conversations in that space.

Perhaps the most important tool Creamer uses is talking about the Amaferm® advantage, and how it helps the animals grow and gain. And although it varies by region and dealer, most of the products will only cost about 50 cents per animal/day – a pretty easy investment when talking about kids being successful in the show ring.

“A lot of my customers care about the rate of gain contest or carcass contest at their county fairs. I will tell them about Sure Champ and how that will help their animals put on pounds quickly no matter the show feed ration they are feeding,” Creamer said.

Manage, Reduce Stress in Show Stock with Proper Nutrition

Stress is one of the biggest culprits our animals face. In typical production agriculture, we wean our livestock from their mamas and transition them to a feeding program. We poke and prod our animals as part of a vaccination program, and we sometimes totally change their environment while expecting them to gain weight and muscle or reproduce under those stressful situations.

Combine the above mentioned stressors with daily exercise and hair and skin conditioning while hauling animals to a weekly show, and all that stress is likely to equal an animal that goes off feed, looks and acts dehydrated and doesn’t always act or look show ring ready.

Nutritional capabilities play a huge role in keeping your animals healthy and reducing the stress in their lives. It is vital to not overlook your animals’ nutritional needs because a lot of their stress symptoms are triggered in their gut. A healthy gut will help your animal stay healthy and also plays a role in keeping their immune system strong and functioning.

Another challenge that show animals encounter is looking the part of a show animal once they hit the show ring. Since muscle is 70-percent water, and so many animals shrink up or lose their fill when they are hauled, it is so important to keep them hydrated when they go to the show. That is where Amaferm® plays a big role in boosting the animal’s appetite while increasing their desire to drink.

Blaine Rodgers, Show Livestock Business Development & Field Support, offers suggestions on reducing stress in show livestock while using BioZyme® products.

Sure Champ® and Sure Champ® Spark
These products are available for all species and should be included in the animal diet daily. They both will help boost appetite, making sure the animal is eating and gaining.

Vita Charge® Liquid Boost®
Rodgers suggests introducing this into your animals’ water 2-5 days prior to leaving for a show, and then continuing to include it in their water while at the show. Liquid Boost has a flavoring to it the animals like, and will often mask the chlorine taste of city water that is found at most fairgrounds. Rodgers also said it is a good way to teach your animals to drink out of a bucket before you go to a show since most animals are used to a water tank or trough, or pigs would be accustomed to a watering system. Introducing the water bucket to them at home is just one more way to reduce stress once you’ve arrived at the show.

Vita Charge Paste
Since it is so important for your animals to have a good show ring appearance, the Vita Charge Paste is another way to add Amaferm to their diets and help boost the animal’s desire to eat and drink. Rodgers said that the more water animals drink, the more their metabolism will increase, encouraging their appetites. The water also adds to their muscle shape and overall mass, giving the appearance exhibitors are looking for in the show ring.

Sure Champ Climate Control Paste
The newest product to the Sure Champ line up is the most important in combatting heat stress. The paste contains Capsaicin, which naturally lowers body heat. This product will be extra helpful for those animals used to a climate-controlled barn that might have to haul a long distance or that will be housed in a non-climate controlled facility for a week, like at a junior nationals. Rodgers suggests giving this daily just prior to and while at a show.

Getting the Word Out
As the summer show season approaches, it is good for dealers and their staff to brush up on the information about the products designed specifically for show animals. Make a display of the products close to the cash register to help strike up a conversation and help make a sale.

It is important to remind your customers how each of the products work together, and that some products are designed for daily use while others are used to combat extra stress at the shows. Perhaps you want to offer a promotion where you couple the products; buy so much Sure Champ and get a discount on a tube of Climate Control or Vita Charge Paste.

Finally, if your younger customers show primarily at the local shows, you might want to work with the BioZyme Marketing Team to create a post card to send to your customers promoting that our products are the safe way to increase appetites and maximize gains.

From the time your animals hit the ground from their mothers’ womb, they start experiencing stress. But as a show animal, you can help alleviate some of that unnecessary stress by making sure their nutritional needs are met. The Amaferm advantage is a great way to maximize the nutritional value of their feed, while keeping them healthy.

May 2017 – Letters from Lisa

At BioZyme® we have been committed to supporting young people involved in the livestock industry for many years. I cannot take credit for that amazing commitment. My husband, Bob, gets full credit for that very smart, passionate way of thinking about business. Since young people are this month’s focus, I thought it much more appropriate for him to write this month’s letter. We are very fortunate to have him as our guest writer this month.

I was recently asked by a colleague what my vision for BioZyme was when I first came here and what or how has it changed during my tenure.

My vision, then and now, was to continue building a “great” company. I say continue because the foundation was already here when I started. To be “great” you must have a talented, passionate and devoted (to customers) workforce. You must have products and services that exceed the customers’ expectations, and most importantly contribute to the customers’ sustainability. Product development, research, manufacturing, quality standards and controls, marketing, sales, logistics, customer service and administration must all be “world class” in performance and culture to achieve this vision.

Culture, the shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an organization (from the hardcopy Webster dictionary sitting on my credenza, yes I still use it!) must be at our core if we are to achieve culturally the vision of “greatness.”  But, where does “greatness” begin?

Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League, was recently recognized as the Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year. This award is presented annually honoring a player’s volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field. Larry, in his opening remarks, said “GREATNESS BEGINS WITH GIVING.” 

The video footage of Larry Fitzgerald reflected much of his volunteer and charity work with young people. I believe Mr. Fitzgerald would describe his giving as an investment as much as a gift in the traditional sense.

We would certainly describe our giving to be as much of an investment as a gift with the young people that we are privileged to be associated with through the breed association junior programs, shows, 4-H, tours and internship opportunities.

We have the opportunity to teach as well as learn from our young people. We have the opportunity to inspire and be inspired, the opportunity to share our history and experience and to listen to their thoughts, dreams and goals. The opportunity to give and to receive.

In a very few short years these young people will be customers of our products if we earn their trust in our products and brands. These young people will be the leaders of this great country and hopefully carry on the theme of making “America Great Again.” These young people will become the leaders of our company and hopefully will continue the vision of building a great company.

Where better to give, or to invest than in our children? Our young people will carry on the legacy of this country, this company and our agricultural community. Each of us, individually and collectively, has the opportunity to aspire to do great things, big or little, as long as we remember that “GREATNESS BEGINS WITH GIVING.”

Bob Norton