Family Business Grows with Passion and Success
Although relatively new to the BioZyme® family, Salem Veterinary Services in Salem, South Dakota, has seen tremendous success since joining the network of dealers in the fall of 2016. What started as a small order to sell some Vita Charge® boluses in the family-owned vet clinic has grown to moving into their garage, and now a 48×60 foot building is under construction to serve as a warehouse for their products to meet the producer demands in their area.
“I was concerned when Dennis Delaney told me we had to buy a pallet of product at a time. I thought 50 bags is a lot,” said Carie Stiefvater, who manages the BioZyme dealership.
The Stiefvater family raises a variety of animals including Angus and Hereford cattle, sheep, goats, chickens and horses. They don’t sell anything to the customers in the vet clinic that they haven’t used and seen positive results with.
“Our clients like to see us use a product first. We will typically use a vaccine for three years before we will sell it,” Carie said.
Last fall, their two oldest daughters ran a trial using the VitaFerm® Sure Start® Weaning Program. Since the Stiefvater family calves in May, after most of their clients are done calving, they typically wean October 1. Last fall, they separated eight head – four Angus and four Herefords – of the same age for a feeding trial that ultimately finished in the top three in the state FFA science fair project for seventh grader Ella. She will find out in late April if her project garnered the first prize and will move on to national competition.
Ella and her older sister, Hadley, a freshman, conducted the month-long trial with two groups – one that was introduced to the Amaferm® advantage, and a control group, without Amaferm. The animals were randomly sorted the first day of the trial by which animal came down the chute. Every other one was tagged with an orange tag and would be part of the Amaferm group and received the Vita Charge Drench; the green-tagged calves were in the control group.
Animals were kept in individual pens, and hay and feed were weighed out individually twice daily with all animals eating the same diet, except for the orange-tagged animals, which had the Stress Tubs in their pens. Each week the animals were weighed, and their growth was recorded. And at the end of the study, the four animals that had Amaferm in their diets outweighed the control group by a total of 90 pounds combined. Although Ella had extra expenses in separate pens and individual tubs, she calculated that after expenses, she put $22 more profit per calf in her pocket from the calves fed Amaferm.
This is just one example of a feeding trial that the family has conducted, with plans to conduct more in the future. The trials work great for this home-schooled family, which also includes brother Colton, a fourth grader, and littlest sister, Skylar, who is four. Carie said they can incorporate the trials into several areas of curriculum including math, where they calculate break-evens, rate-of-gain and net worth; science, where they learn about microorganisms and the purpose of vitamins and minerals for both humans and livestock; and English, where the students must write papers and learn public speaking.
As an example, Ella presented her study findings to vet-clinic customers in the winter months following the trial. During the two-week period leading up to the state FFA competition, Carie said she would give her presentation 2-3 times a day.
“It is a great sales tool while teaching my kids about public speaking. She would present to producers, breeders, fellow veterinarians, Extension agents and anyone who would listen,” Carie said.
And the kids also help out at the vet clinic, where their dad Mike is the solo practitioner. In addition to three employees who are like family, Salem Vet is truly a family operation.
As the kids were learning more about BioZyme and its products, they also became aware of the Action Awards. Carie said a Vita Charge show box caught their attention immediately, as they are currently using a wooden show box that belonged to Carie in her younger days. She said they need 4,000 points to earn the show box, and though she hasn’t looked lately, she was almost certain they were nearly to the half-way mark, only in the fourth month of the year.
“A show box they earn will have a lot more value in it from the experiences they have gained.” Carie said, noting one of their next big marketing pushes will be to promote Sure Champ® to all the young exhibitors in their area.
Until then, the Stiefvater family will continue to use the products, test the products and tell others about the great success they have seen.