Ways to Support Youth Projects

“The youth is the hope of our future.” – Jose Rizal

More than 6 million youth are involved in 4-H and FFA. And while not all these young people are involved in livestock projects, all of these young people are consumers and do want a safe, nutritious eating experience. That’s why it is important for BioZyme® dealers to support youth projects and events. While the support of the project or event is beneficial to the young people involved, as supporters, we often get to share our story; telling everyone that our products are all-natural and will only continue to help the animals feel good, stay healthy and perform to their upmost potential.

There are many ways to support the youth – or the future – of our industry. Remember, every time we give, we are making an investment.

Show sponsorships.
It is easy to write a check to group or an organization for a show sponsorship. But have you ever considered sponsorship in the form of product? Many shows are looking for “new and exciting” awards or ways to make winning the show seem more appealing. What is more exciting or appealing than winning a bag or bucket of Sure Champ Extreme with Climate Control? Be sure to include your contact information along with a product brochure. Those winners just might be your newest customers.

Educational Workshops.
Giving our time to young people is vital. And in youth projects, there are so many things to learn – feeding, fitting, showing, judging, skin and hair care. As a dealer, you are likely an expert in at least one of these areas or know someone who is. Take the time to host a day or 1/2-day workshop or work with another company to co-host an educational workshop. You don’t have to tackle every subject or every species all at once. And, at the end of the day, have a drawing for a bag or tub of product.

One example of an educational workshop was a roping clinic recently conducted by Vitalize Ambassador Whitney DeSalvo. Each participant received a tube of Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste and a Vitalize cap. A bag of Vitalize product was rewarded to one of the young participants based on merit. Giving away product might cost you initially, but it might also gain you a lifetime customer, and you will see the ROI mount over time.

Make Stall Cards.
Offer to make stall cards for your customers prior to the county or district fair. Don Bush with Powell Feed & Milling in Arkansas, said Powell makes its own line of show feeds, with the assistance of Dr. Susan Day. Last year, Powell feed provided stall cards to its Powell Show Feed customers to use at the area fairs, to recognize their customers, and help the young people have a more professional and neater looking display at the fair. Bush said the youth appreciated the added gesture, and he anticipates this is a program that Powell’s will continue.

Simply Give Back.
With many stores in many counties, Bush said it was going to be nearly impossible to support each Powell customer. Kirk Powell, the company owner, said he would rather donate back the profit margin from show feeds to all the youth than buy just one kid’s animal. And that is what he did. At the end of the summer, Powell Feeds calculates the profits from its show feed sales and divides it among all the youth who buy feed from their various stores. Then, the kids get a certificate worth a specified amount to use at any of the Powell stores.

“We can buy one animal, spend $3,000 and impact one child, or we can take all the profit from our show feed business and spread it amongst every one of them. And some of those kids who don’t win, it means more to them than the kids who do win,” Bush said.

Remember, youth are the future. They are future leaders, future decision makers and future customers. The decisions you make today to support youth will impact them and your business now and in the future.

Today’s Young People are Future Customers

For years grandpa and dad made all the purchasing decisions around the farm or ranch. They decided which color of tractor to drive, which bulls to breed the cows to and even which minerals to feed. But as the years go by, the next generation of customers – my generation –  is starting to make buying decisions. And as a millennial, I might need you to reach out to me just a little differently than dad and grandpa did.

Being classified as a millennial means I’m in an age group with other 18 to 34-year-olds. That’s a wide age range of potential and future customers, and we make our decisions a little differently than grandpa did. Here are a few pointers on grabbing my attention and converting me from a potential customer to a repeat customer:

Reach out to me early on. As part of the millennial generation, I might already be a customer of yours, especially with show livestock and performance horse product lines such as Sure Champ® and Vitalize®. But just because I’m young, doesn’t mean I’m not interested in other product lines. Keep the lines of communication open, and make sure I know how to reach you when I do need to buy more products for my growing livestock operations. For example, I might be buying Sure Champ for my show animals now, but as I develop my herd or take over my family’s herd, I will want to learn more about the VitaFerm line of products and how they will keep my cattle healthy, performing and help increase profitability.

Show us results. My generation thrives on instant gratification. We like to see results and we like to see them quickly. Share research summaries with us that describe the results we might see with your products. We also like to hear from others who have had great experiences. Providing a sample of a quick-response product like Vita Charge Paste is a good idea, too. These kinds of samples are great door openers to conversations about other products and one of the best investments you can make.

Be innovative and stay connected with us. Our generation has technology at our fingertips. We get news from social platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and if we are going to learn about your products and services, you’re likely going to have to promote them on social media as well. That connectivity is a two-way street. “Word of mouth” is still the most powerful marketing tool, but instead of us setting around the local feed store or coffee shop, we comment and share on social media. We like to share positive comments on our experiences, so look for those as we engage with you on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Have a conversation with us. Millennials like to be engaged. We don’t want you to give us a sales pitch. We want you to talk to us and include us in the conversation, so we feel like part of the solution. Start the conversation with questions to discover our goals and priorities and give us options.

Be authentic. Because technology is so easily accessible, the ability to find answers to our questions usually is too. We will do our own research and find out in a heartbeat if you have clouded over anything just to make a sale.

Times are changing, but thanks to the foresight and leadership of my dad and grandpa, I’m ready to start making decisions about our operation. Just remember, I make decisions a little bit differently than the generations before me, but keep your conversations real, show me results and work with me, and this potential customer will become your regular customer. Keep connecting with me in innovative ways as technology changes and evolves, and watch your business grow.

Youth Project Opens Doors

For 25 years Don Bush, Powell Feed & Milling, knew Ken Gillig and competed against him in the world of animal nutrition. Gillig, the BioZyme® Key Accounts Manager since 2016, was formerly an ASM, and Bush had been selling Purina through Powell Feed & Milling in various stores in Northern Arkansas.

However, at the 2014 Missouri State Fair, the friendship between Gillig and Bush became even more important when Bush’s daughter’s ram got very sick in the breeding sheep barn. Bush recalls that Gillig told him he had something he wanted him to try.

“Ken brought back a half-dozen Vita Charge® Paste tubes with a note on how to give them to our ram,” Bush said. “I told my daughter, ‘I don’t know what this foo-foo dust is, but it’s better than having a dead ram.’ Two days later he won the open sheep show.”

After that experience with his daughter’s prize-winning sheep projects, Bush knew there was something about the BioZyme products that worked. He helped Gillig get some supplements to producers down around him and told his boss he wanted to introduce the products into the Powell Feed Stores. Skeptical about the price of the products, he agreed. And Powell Feed & Milling has watched its BioZyme product sales grow, all while reaching VIP Dealer status each year.

“I knew it worked for us. I knew it would work for others,” Bush said.

Bush’s situation is a perfect example of why reaching out to young livestock exhibitors and sharing products are effective ways of promoting the products. If Gillig hadn’t shared the Vita Charge products with him, his daughter might have had a dead ram. And furthermore, BioZyme might have one less VIP dealer who has helped the health and performance of many producers in a large part of Northern Arkansas.

Don’t discount the youth exhibitor. They might buy a bag or a bucket of Sure Champ® products. Or maybe a young equestrian uses the Vitalize® products. However, those youth likely have parents who own livestock or a business who could be positively impacted by the BioZyme products as well.

Potential opportunities are everywhere. Ken Gillig seized the opportunity to help a young sheep exhibitor at the Missouri State Fair. But what he ultimately did was help grow business and change the lives of many livestock producers for years into the future.