American Rancher Featuring Vita Charge

We are very excited to announce that the first-ever Vita Charge focused American Rancher is set to air next Monday on May 28th! This show will serve as an excellent testimonial to education potential customers on the benefits of Vita Charge Drench and Stress Tubs at weaning.

The focus for Vita Charge in this episode is the ability to have healthier calves all while reducing labor costs and medicine costs.

The family in this episode, Thaler Land and Livestock, uses our products in all stages of production and truly believe in the Amaferm Advantage.

American Rancher Featuring J&S Cattle – April 2018

The most recent episode of The American Rancher featured VitaFerm® customer, J&S Cattle Co of Bastrop, LA. In it they discuss the challenges of raising cattle in a region with extreme heat, humidity and an abundance of flies and how VitaFerm HEAT helps.

 

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VitaFerm® HEAT® is a line of vitamin and mineral supplements for beef cattle used to reduce heat stress during temperatures of 70 degrees and above, or anytime cattle are grazing fescue. Contains the Amaferm® advantage and Capsaicin, both research-proven to lower body temperature, which can improve conception rates by maintaining pregnancy. Includes garlic, a natural insect repellent.

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Dealer Spotlight: Spring Canyon Feeds

Customer service isn’t just a catch phrase for Spring Canyon Feeds. It is a family value passed from one generation to the next. Kari Schultz, along with her brother and dad, Tyson Mann and Bruce Mann, own Spring Canyon Feeds, serving farmers and ranchers in the community surrounding Kirk, Colo., where she grew up.

“We’re not just selling a product. We strive to provide. It’s in our blood,” Kari said. “Even growing up, if we had something pressing to get done today, and a neighbor called and needed help, my dad would stop what he was doing and put everyone else first.”

That is the kind of service that Kari and Spring Canyon has provided and continues to provide since the dealership started in 2014. Kari is engaged with her customers, understands their livelihoods, and works with the resources available to her through BioZyme® to help her customers thrive.

Kari started feeding the VitaFerm® products in 2014, but with no local dealer former ASM Brad Hill convinced her it would be a good little “side business” to go along with her farming and cow-calf enterprise.

About the same time the Spring Canyon dealership started, Megan Douthit-Downey, Saint Francis, Kan., had heard about VitaFerm products from her veterinarian. Although 50 miles away, Kari was still the closest dealer who offered all the product lines Megan was looking for, but more importantly provided her great services.

“Kari is a rock star,” Megan said. “She comes out and we tell her where our hay piles are and what cuttings they are from. She core samples everything and submits samples to Dr. [Susan] Day, and Dr. Day puts rations together for us. For us, it’s about getting the most bang for our buck. The products are not always the cheapest, and not always the most expensive, but customer service goes a long way.”

As a cattle producer, Kari understand the value of forage sampling and supplementing nutrition when and where needed. She appreciates the services that BioZyme provides its customers, and more of her customers are learning to appreciate those services too.

“We believe whole-heartedly that if you don’t know what you’re feeding your cattle, you don’t know what they need. We need to make sure what they are eating is actually meeting their requirements for them to perform at their highest potential, it is necessary to know what they are lacking and provide them with those nutrients,” Kari said. “BioZyme is great at providing that service to us. I really enjoy Susan’s frankness. She lets us know what we need or what we don’t need in our rations.”

Kari said many of the more seasoned producers in her area, who at one time didn’t think their cattle needed a mineral package, are started to see the value in the products she sells, especially with the Amaferm® advantage. She said they understand that Amaferm helps their cattle put on more pounds through increased intake, digestibility and absorption, and to the producers, more pounds equal more dollars.

“Kari’s product knowledge is incredible,” said Jake Warntjes, ASM who covers Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas and Western Oklahoma. “She studies the nutrition side of things, what Amaferm will do for the animals and knows the research that backs it.”

Jake is also complimentary of her customer service skills, saying Kari is good at getting customers connected to the resources they need, such as himself or Susan for nutrition needs.

In December 2017, Kari had the opportunity to expand those services even further. She, her dad and brother purchased the feed store in their small community, and her “side business” has turned into full-time business and a service for the ranchers of Yuma County, where cows out-number people.

At the store, which is open 6 days a week, Kari sells most everything for livestock, including the BioZyme product lines, tags, sorting sticks, medicine, gloves, boots, rodent and pest control. She also carries some pet foods and small pet items. And she is expanding the services her store provides.

She has worked closely with a veterinarian to get some prescription medicines on-hand so if a rancher needs something, the vet can work through her to get one animal treated. She is also working with a Genex rep and A.I. tech to promote her services in the area. She hopes to eventually add marketing services to her store.

Keeping animals healthy and growing and keeping customers happy and returning are ways that Spring Canyon Feeds stays engaged with their customers.

Engage With Your Customers To Sell A Program

BioZyme® offers many great products for all phases of production. But some producers get comfortable with one product, and don’t always know how to transition to include other products. And sometimes, the new products seem overwhelming. However, with some engagement with your customers, and discussing the benefits of the Amaferm® advantage through all phases, you can expand your marketing to a program-based approach.

Matt Weigel, owner of Darlington Feed & Ag Center in Darlington, Wis., said he works closely with his producers to make sure they understand each step of the feeding process. For instance, he said the dairies he works with all incorporate Amaferm Digest More® in their feed. When Weigel asked if the producers were pleased with their calf feed, they said yes. Then he suggested the Vita Charge® Stress Tub to help them wean better and stay healthier. And the dairies liked them as well. Of course, they all start their program with Vita Charge Neonatal.

“I’m not afraid to give away a stress tub, and I’ll eat the $60 because I am confident I’ll sell 10 more tubs and more product,” Weigel said. “You’ve got to look at the big picture and be open minded. If a producer likes it and uses it forever I’m money ahead.”

He said he is on the dairy farms that are his customers at least every week or every other week to make sure the customers get their questions answered, and to fix any problems before they surface. Although his store represents other products lines, he truly believes in the Amaferm advantage and uses the VitaFerm products on his own cow herd.

“I wear my VitaFerm hat! We really promote VitaFerm because we know it works. I try the products on my own animals and they work. I like them, and I can promote them,” he said.

Another way that Weigel works to engage with his customers and promote products is to take advantage of the assistance the BioZyme Marketing Team and his ASM provide. In 2017, ASM Trent Gabler worked with Weigel and the Marketing Team to create a postcard mailing promoting VitaFerm HEAT® to those producers who use Concept•Aid®. Darlington Feed saw a significant increase in their HEAT sales after that mailing, according to Gabler.

Finally, Weigel said he’s not afraid to use other customers as references. He’ll share the results that ‘Joe Smith’ had when using a product and he said other producers have the mindset that if Joe Smith had great results, then I should try it too.

Using products, proactively making farm visits and sharing testimonials are great ways to engage and promote products. Offering a trial product might cost a little initially, but the returns will pay off in the long-term. Getting customers to use a program and not just one product will also pay dividends and keep that customer active all year long. Look at the big picture, and sell the program.

Grow Your Business Through Engagement

Without customers, business survival looks bleak. There are two key ways to grow your customer base and subsequently grow your business. First, don’t lose your current customers. And secondly, recruit new customers.

According to an article on marketingwizdom.com, “The average business loses around 20 percent of its customers annually simply by failing to attend to customer relationships.”

These are customers that the business has already recruited, mostly likely sold to at least once, but simply didn’t follow up with through simple engagement. Twenty-percent adds up over time, and if a business doesn’t work to recruit new customers, it won’t be long before the business no longer exists.

Get Referrals. One of the best and most cost-effective ways to gain new customers is through referrals. But more importantly, referrals are a way to continue interaction and communication with your current customers, while building relationships with new customers and clients. Communication and interaction is vital to long-lasting relationships.

As with any project you need to set your goals first. Do you want to gain a new customer each day? Two per week? Ten per month? Be realistic in the amount of time you plan to devote to recruiting new customers.  And remember, while recruiting new customers is important, keeping the lines of communication open and engaging with your existing customers is important to keeping them happy and keeping them returning.

Offer incentives. Although referrals can and do happen without incentive, people are sometimes afraid of giving out others’ names. But if there is a small incentive included, that fear usually disappears. Sample incentives include:

  • For every name that you refer that buys product from me this month, I’ll give you X% off your next order
  • For every customer you refer me to, I’ll offer you a Vita Charge® Stress Tub at $X cost

And if you don’t offer an incentive, do show appreciation. Those two little words go a long way and give you one more opportunity to interact with current customers.

Schedule the calls. Set aside 30 minutes a day for a week to make new customer calls. If those calls only take 15 minutes each, you can make two calls a day and engage with 10 potential customers. Even if half of those people purchase product, you’ve gained five new customers in a week. Follow that pattern, and over time you’ll have 20 new customers in a month and watch that revenue soar. And surely over time, those 20 customers will have friends that they will be glad to refer too.

Keep communicating. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new customer or long-time customer, keeping the lines of communication open are key to retention. Create a communications calendar where you follow up with each customer on a regular basis. Contact them to see if they need any products, follow up after the sale to make sure they are happy with their products and reach out to them in between to see if they have any general questions or just to see how their lives are going. Customers like it when you are interested in them and engage in their activities.

Referrals are great ways to build your customer base. Remember to keep those lines of communication open between both current and new customers and watch your business grow.

Customer Success Matters

Customers are the lifeblood of our business. Without their success and their repeated business, it is likely that our business isn’t going to succeed either. As dealers, we need to consider ways to help them succeed and then recognize their efforts.

First, we need to know our customers and understand their goals. Recognize what their individual production schedules look like and what their ultimate goals are. Do they sell their calves at weaning time? If so, you probably don’t need to push the VitaFerm® Gain Smart® product line to them. Do they compete with their horses or livestock? Then perhaps the Vita Charge® Paste or Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste needs to be a staple in their show box. Customer success isn’t just about selling products; it’s about providing services and motivation to help them succeed.

Do you have a customer that is offering the same mineral program year after year because “that’s how granddad did it.”? If so, perhaps you need to suggest forage testing their hay and offering some alternatives to a more updated supplement program that will better fit their current operation. Maybe the customer didn’t know you offer forage testing and feed analysis. Once they discover the supplements they really need, they might even discover they are saving money over time. If you create an environment for your customer to succeed, they are more likely to succeed and become loyal customers.

But what happens when your customers find success? Congratulate them as soon as you can, and in person if possible. If you don’t think you will see them in the store or at their ranch for a few weeks, pick up the phone or drop them a hand-written note expressing your happiness for them. The fact that you noticed their achievements will go a long way in their customer satisfaction and your professional relationship with them.

Be sure to not only congratulate them, but to let others know about their achievements as well. Customer achievements can range from having a successful production sale to selling the Grand Champion Barrow at a recent livestock show to having a child get accepted to the college or university of his or her choice. Once you know of these success stories, start sharing them with others. There are several ways to share these stories.

Use a bulletin board in your store that allows you to “brag” on your customers. You can post newspaper clippings here. You can ask your customers to submit their photos and accomplishments to you to post on the bulletin board. People like to see what others in their community are doing, and it makes them feel good to be recognized for their successes.

Take that recognition to the next level. Perhaps you distribute a company newsletter or have a Facebook page. Share your customers’ achievements on these venues so more people see them, especially if they relate to success with your products. Producers will buy a product based on peer-success and not just because a sales person said it works (read more about this in Tell Everyone).

If you create an environment for your customers to succeed, and they succeed, they will likely become repeat customers. They will also tell others about their successes, and if you tell others about their successes, your business will continue to grow.

Keep Her Bred Through The Heat Of Summer

Cattle producers go to great lengths to do whatever it takes to get their cows bred. But what about after? Keeping a cow bred, especially during the summer months, can be equally as challenging.

Typically, if a fertile bull breeds cows at the correct time, fertilization rates should nearly reach 100%. However, normal single-service conception rates run anywhere from 60-80%. The 20-40% difference must come from embryonic or fetal loss. Loss of pregnancy can result in longer calving windows, lower weaning weights and less profitability for producers. Oklahoma State University conducted some of the first research on the implications of heat stress on pregnancy rates. Those studies found that when cattle were bred at cooler temperatures, but then exposed to moderate and severely hot temperatures, their pregnancy rates were decreased by as much as 50%. Furthermore, they found that the surviving fetuses were smaller in heat-stressed cows and were more likely to be lost later in pregnancy.

Cattle can experience heat stress once the ambient temperature outside reaches 70 degrees or higher. This means that their upper critical limit for temperature is lower than that of humans. Humidity also can accelerate the implications of heat stress because of their inability to dissipate heat effectively. Therefore, stress can increase pregnancy loss well into the second and third trimester. For spring calvers, calves are weaned and cows are worked in what is typically the hottest months of the year. In the case of fall calvers, these females may calve earlier than expected due to prolonged periods of heat and drought during the third trimester. Be sure to give special considerations to bulls as well during the summer months. Heat stress can affect spermatogenesis (sperm production) and won’t show up until 45 to 60 days post heat stress.

Other factors such as fescue and fescue toxicosis can compound the effects of heat stress. The endophyte found in fescue, which can ultimately lead to fescue toxicosis if proper management isn’t implemented within an operation, limits a cow’s ability to dissipate heat because it reduces blood flow to the skin. If cows and heifers are exposed to diseases they don’t have the proper immune defenses against, the addition of stress from excessive heat can leave them virtually defenseless against sickness. Heat stress decreases grazing and feed intake and in drought situations, malnutrition and resulting dust will result in increased respiratory illnesses and potentially loss of pregnancy.

To help alleviate the implications of heat stress and help keep cows bred, producers can provide a multitude of management techniques to lessen the effects of heat stress.

  • Always provide enough cool, clean drinking water. High temps can double water intake. Increased urine output can deplete bodily mineral stores, so be sure to provide a high quality mineral source at all times.
  • Ample shade will provide relief from heat stress without too many animals gathering in a small area and compromising air flow.
  • Make sure all buildings have adequate ventilation, especially if cows are confined.
  • Wetting via sprinklers or hoses can effectively cool cattle. But pay attention to droplet size; misters just add more humidity to the air.
  • Good fly control can go a long way. To combat flies cattle will bunch and lower air circulation, resulting in elevated heat stress.
  • Avoid working cattle during the hottest hours of the day. The earlier in the day, the better.
  • Depending on the region of the country in which you reside, incorporating more heat tolerant genetics can improve the end product value or overall profitability.

Producers invest a lot of time and resources to get their cows ready for the breeding season. Significant heat stress can result in loss of pregnancy, and bottom line, open cows don’t result in profitable operations. Go the extra mile to lessen the negative impacts of heat stress and help keep your cows bred during the summer heat!

April 2018 – Letters from Lisa

Engagement is needed from everyone for success – employees, customers, dealers, partners and the organization. The inset definition clearly shows that engagement can mean a lot of different things. And while April is Bob’s and my anniversary month, I do not consider myself any kind of expert on a formal agreement to get married. I am also routinely late, so understanding an arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time is not up my alley either. And my Mom always reminded me while growing up that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Therefore, just the mention of a fight or battle leads me to want to quit writing about that type of engagement. So, the only definition left is the action of engaging.  We all know I believe ACTION is the key to everything so engagement when it means action is right up my alley. To be engaged is to be fully absorbed and enthusiastic to the point one is easily and innately self-motivated to do the positive action needed for success.

A recent Gallup study indicated that when their clients actively pursued engagement, success soared to a ratio of 9:1 from 2:1, engaged to unengaged. Perhaps that’s why engagement’s use in the inset graph is moving up.

If engagement is so crucial to success, why do organizations pursue it so ineffectively? The answer is that becoming actively engaged is hard work—work that many cannot see affecting their bottom line on any kind of a time line. With this in mind, engagement as a successful business strategy takes a major commitment to ensure all (yes all) of the following exist:

  • Belief in the organizational vision and the success it will provide from every angle of the organization, but especially from the top,
  • Trust that is built by trusting others. This requires a basic belief in people, a belief that people are essentially trustworthy,
  • Accountable performance measures,
  • Communication that aligns actions with the overall business goals,
  • An effective recognition and reward system that involves verbal and/or written acknowledgment as well as a physical reward,
  • Frequent, clear and specific feedback that focuses on what is being done well and what needs improvement,
  • Leaders who are personally interested in and care about their team, and who elicit their input and opinions,
  • Integrity,
  • Team work,
  • An inclusive passion for WOWingness (internal & external).

Engagement is needed from everyone for success, but don’t diminish your role as the leader. Consultant Keith Ayers stresses that the role of great leaders is to get people excited about and committed to their organization’s vision. He explains: “Leaders are either increasing engagement, or they are decreasing it. There is no middle ground.” Don’t let yourself get stuck in the middle!

Dealer Spotlight: YOU!

We know that Amaferm® is the heart of each of product that BioZyme® makes and markets, but it is the extensive network of dealers that is the true heart of our business. Without dealers our products would not be able to get into the hands of so many customers and make such a large impact on the animal nutrition industry.

With nearly 1,000 dealers spread across the country, surely there is a dealer close enough to help a cow-calf producer, an equine enthusiast or even the young person getting started with his or her first junior livestock project. The dealer network is one of our best assets, and without YOUR dedication, drive and direct relationships with so many end-users, we’d be just another supplement company.

As dealers you are the ones who have built strong relationships with our customers. You know their families, their operations, and their needs. We hope you always feel comfortable talking to us about new needs we haven’t thought about or ways to improve our products based on what the customers need and want.

Dealers provide personalized service. Yes, we strive to provide customer service every day. However, we can’t be everywhere at once. With dealers like you to provide service prior to and after the sale, you make a difference, and provide more than just a product. The service might be educating the customer about what is the right supplement to meet his or her goals. You might pull forage samples to have tested, or you might offer local community support through a cattlemen’s organization or the local youth rodeo. Local dealer support is important to you as a dealer and to us as a company, but we can’t do it alone.

Dealers are truly the heart of our business, but they are also the faces of our company. When your local customers think about ordering a pallet of Concept•Aid® or picking up some Sure Champ®, they aren’t thinking about the scientists who initiated fermentation of the Amaferm or the person who loaded that pallet back in Saint Joseph, Mo., they are thinking about you – their trusted BioZyme dealer who they have a relationship with.

It is our goal to make sure our dealers are as much as part of the company as anyone. That is why we are continually looking for ways to provide you services and information to make you more efficient in your businesses. From tools like this newsletter to the Online Dealer Center to your Area Sales Manager and the Master Dealer Training Program, we hope you take advantage of all the resources provided to you.

Stephen Wilds And Brian Funk: Attention To Detail Is Key For Mixing Products, Prepping Orders

Imagine a mixing container that can hold up to 6,000 pounds and measuring system so precise that it notifies you if your recipe ingredients are either too little or too excessive. This equipment and software, the 3-Ton Compound Double Ribbon Mixer and Beta Raben Batching Software, are what Stephen Wilds, Mixing Operator at BioZyme® Inc., uses each day to make the high-quality products that you market to your customers.

Stephen has been the second-shift mixing operator for nearly one year and said that close attention to detail is given to every batch of product mixed.

“If we mess up, the product is messed up, so we must be very diligent whenever we are putting ingredients in,” Stephen said. “Getting the correct amount and getting the correct ingredient is very important. The Batch Report pulls all ingredients except the hand-adds, and our scale is so precise that it tells you if you have too much or too little that you’ve added by hand. I have to certify everything is accurate. It’s mixed up and sent over to the bagging line.”

Although that run-down of tasks might seem simple, it really is quite complex. Stephen reviews the run list each day to make sure he has the ingredients needed to make all the products that need made for that day. Then he starts production of product, which is all driven by sales as warehouse space is limited. The mixer holds up to 3 tons per batch, or the equivalent of 120 bags per batch.

Stephen says he typically makes multiple products per day, but if he is making all the same product, he can sometimes mix as many as 30-35 batches per day. Once the product is mixed, it moves to the bagging line. BioZyme invested in a state-of-the-art fully-automated Concetti bagger two years ago, which can bag, load and wrap and pallet at a rate of 1,200 bags or 24 pallets per hour.

Once the product is made, and dealers have placed their orders, Brian Funk starts pulling the orders together. He checks the orders each morning when he arrives, prioritizes the orders by due date and makes sure there is inventory to fill each order. Then he starts “picking” or putting each order together so it is ready to ship once the trucks arrive to take the BioZyme products to the dealers.

Brian typically fills smaller or mixed pallet orders first thing in the morning before the delivery trucks start arriving to ensure accuracy on the mixed pallets that he must hand pack. Once trucks arrive he said it is easier to work with full pallet orders – those that contain 50 bags of the same product.

“It usually gets pretty hectic, but I stay very organized,” said Brian, who has been with the company nearly three years.

He typically fills 15-20 orders per day, depending on order size. He said he has picked as many as 31 orders in one day. Truckload orders are 17-18 pallets each.

Attention to detail and accuracy are top priorities for both Stephen and Brian, but they also appreciate the respect the management gives them to do their jobs.

Sam Norton, Director of Plant Operations, commends both Stephen and Brian for being self-motivated workers who do their jobs well. He also said they spend a lot of time cleaning when there is down time, which doesn’t go unnoticed, as many who have toured the plant have commented on the cleanliness of a supplement plant.

“We all work hard at getting the customer what they ask for, what they need and what they are paying for,” Sam said. “We can’t have a bad day because if we have a bad day in production, we all have a bad day. We do everything as efficiently as we can, and we are always looking at ways to be more efficient.”

Brian reminds the dealers to always check their orders for accuracy when they get delivered. He said even though he works to make sure every product and the correct quantity is sent to the correct destination, sometimes with multiple trucks arriving at the same time, there is room for human error.

From research and fermentation to drying, mixing and picking, there are a lot of people that keep our company running. We hope you have enjoyed getting to meet just a few of the behind-the-scenes folks that are the heart of our company.