Dealer Spotlight: National Roper Supply and Shawnee Milling

Equine Enthusiasts Share Passion for Products

This month we shine the spotlight on two individuals who represent themselves and their respective dealerships as outstanding ambassadors for the Vitalize® line. Later in March, you will have the opportunity to hear from these men as they share their passion for the Vitalize products, how they position the products to their customers and some of the benefits their customers like too.

James Smith has been involved in agriculture his entire life, starting from a very young age. He grew up in Washington state, Oklahoma and Texas, where he graduated from high school.

Horses have always been a part of his life, and he started roping calves and team roping when he was 15. He learned to shoe horses as a way to pay his rodeo entry fees and to help finance his way through college. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s in Agriculture. He was a member of the OSU rodeo team and was the team captain his senior year.

After graduation, he began his start in the feed business, working as a salesman in central Oklahoma for ACCO Feeds, selling equine, swine, cow-calf and stocker feed; however, his emphasis was working with dealers and the dairy industry. He started his career with Shawnee Milling in 1994 as territory manager, covering Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle and still sells dairy, cow-calf, stocker and equine nutritional products.

Horses remain a passion for James. His wife Dawn’s parents are heavily involved in the Quarter horse breeding business with Belle Mere Farm in Norman, Oklahoma, standing great stallions like Easy Jet, Bully Bullion, Mr. Eye Opener, Marthas Six Moon and many more. They often breed as many as 1,200 mares a year.

James and Dawn live in Dibble, Oklahoma, where he still sells feed and enjoys team roping. He says he has three of the best horses he has ever ridden. They also own a commercial cow-calf operation, using Angus, SimAngus and Hereford Bulls. Their family includes two grown and married daughters, one granddaughter and one more on the way.

Jason Brooks is the Vice President of Marketing for the National Roper Supply, headquartered in Decatur, Texas. A Texas native, Jason attended Texas Tech University where he received his Master’s of Business Administration and bachelor’s in Finance and Business Economics.

Jason started working at NRS in 2007 as the Head of the NRS Buying Team before moving into his role as VP of Marketing.

Growing up, his family ran a purebred cow-calf operation in Texas where he developed his passion not only for the cattle industry but the equine industry as well. While at Texas Tech, Jason trained saddle horses and team roped; to this day he is currently still a competitive team roper.

Jason and his family reside in Krum, Texas, where they are actively involved in all aspects of the animal agricultural industry. He is a proud stock show dad and thinks there is no better place to raise his family than on the back of a horse and in the showring.

Be sure to tune in, March 18 to learn more about Jason and James, their enthusiasm for the equine industry and how they market and position the Vitalize products to their customers. We are blessed to have industry professionals that use and understand the products that work as dealers in our network, providing care that comes full circle.

Dealer Spotlight: Weiss Milling

You wouldn’t feed your friends and neighbors something you had never tried before, would you? That was the sentiment that long-time family-owned-and-operated feed mill shared when approached about selling Amaferm® and the BioZyme® product lines several years ago. However, they decided to give Amaferm a try on their own livestock and soon after became BioZyme dealers. That’s been four years ago, and they are pleased with their decision.

“We had been hearing a lot of good things about Amaferm for a long time in the industry and it was presented to us as an option. So, we tried it out for ourselves, and it is one of those products where we actually saw results. A lot of the products we try promise good results, but you don’t actually notice it; that’s one of the things we noticed and liked about Amaferm is that you see results,” said Abby Shoen, who works with her dad, Dean Weiss, and also raises cattle and goats.

Dean and Kathy Weiss purchased the local feed mill in 1987. Today, Dean runs the business with his daughter Abby and son-in-law Jake Shoen. Weiss Milling provides animal feed and nutrition to all species from cattle and goats, sheep, hogs, horses and poultry, with an emphasis on providing high-quality products and high-quality customer service.

“What is important to us is dealing with a very competitive market, and people come to us for the highest quality products and knowledge, and that is what we provide,” Abby said. “What VitaFerm has helped us provide is the highest quality products and the best knowledge as far as the industry and animal health.”

One unique service that Weiss Milling provides its customers is ordering chicks during the spring, a service Dean has offered for 34 years. Abby said she coordinates the customers’ orders in May, so the chicks are delivered to the mill for pick up, but they don’t actually stay there for any length of time. Then, the customers can also purchase any feed and supplies they will need such as feeders or waterers for their chicks, making Weiss Milling a one-stop shop. Since COVID-19, she has seen a significant increase in the demand for chicks.

“Especially after last year there is an increase in interest for people raising their own food as well as having projects for their kids to get involved in. It was extremely hard to order chickens this last summer, especially with the pandemic,” she said.

With the number of backyard poultry producers on the rise, and a larger percentage of them in urban areas, Abby said many of them are focused on providing their chickens optimum health and nutrition, not just a generic product. A product like Backyard Boost™, with the Amaferm advantage should help these new-age protein producers reach their goals.

“This new generation is really looking at what is going into their feed products and how they can care for the health of their animals. They are looking into how to increase production by giving them the healthiest products. They are looking into mineral programs. It’s not so much price anymore; they want the healthiest animal they can get,” Abby said.

That’s good news for BioZyme and its newest line of poultry supplements. And it’s good news for progressive dealers like Weiss Milling who has its customers’ best interest at heart and is always looking for a way to keep their customers’ animals productive and healthy. Thanks for showing that care comes full circle!

Dealer Spotlight: Dakota Mill and Grain

Helping Others Helps Make the Sale

In a world where one size does not fit all, it is vital to provide customers with the individual information and resources they need to succeed. Paul Jons, location manager for the Dakota Mill & Grain in Murdo, South Dakota, said getting to know his customers and helping them with their challenges makes them more receptive to him. He puts forth the effort to really know his customers and understand their specific challenges.

“There’s no such thing as a cookie cutter program when it comes to feed because neighbors could live two miles apart and do things completely different. So, to be able to take the time and listen to both those guys and get them on different tracks on where they need to go, not only helps me as a dealer, it helps them succeed so they tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends,” Jons said.

Service with a smile is something Jons picked up when visiting the local feed store with his dad and grandpa as a child, and he has carried on that tradition today. However, he goes beyond that smile, to offer education and options to producers on the products that can best help them achieve their production goals. One thing he likes about being a BioZyme dealer is the wealth of information available to him to share with his customers, both from the website and the Online Dealer Center.

“I feel like I have good information to pass along to my customers. Anything I don’t know, I can go to the website and find in about 10 minutes. I also go to the Online Dealer Center all the time to fact check and get pricing,” he said.

Jons became a BioZyme dealer more than a year ago, after feeding the VitaFerm® products on his own operation for two years. As a fifth-generation dairy farmer, he was thrilled to discover a beef cattle mineral with prebiotics and chelated minerals, similar to what they had fed their dairy cows.

“I like the quality and proven performance of the product. So, when I first discovered there was a product out there that is similar to what we do with milk cows but targeted toward beef cows, I got really excited about it. Not a lot of people realize how important chelated minerals are in their breed-back program. Coming from a dairy farm, we used chelated minerals for 10 to 15 years, so being able to pass that information on to these guys Is worth a million bucks to a lot of them,” he said.

He hosted his first BioZyme producer meeting in mid-December and credits those gatherings as another great way to provide information to a group all at once from outside experts. Producer meetings also provide opportunities to learn from others and think about deeper questions that they wouldn’t think of during a trip to their feed store.

“Producers have more than ample opportunities to raise their hand and ask more serious questions that I can’t answer. Or they come into get mineral on a daily basis they are more concerned about weather, weaning calves or moving cows to a different pasture. When in a producer meeting, and we start talking about specific products, they say instead of weaning my calves this year, maybe I should try the Gain Smart® program and keep them for 45 days” Jons said.

When it comes to selling a product, Jons exemplifies care that comes full circle. He’s there to help his customers succeed before he is there to only sell them a mineral product. Here’s why.

“The reward is equal to the work you’re willing to put into it. If you don’t want to learn and read and get the knowledge behind you to be able to explain to people why this product is good for them, why this product will work for them, there’s no point in doing it. Be enthusiastic about it. People see you care, they feel that you care about them as well, and that you’re not just trying to shove a bag of mineral down their throat. I believe in this product because it is superior and is going to help you on your farm.”

Dealer Spotlight: Roy Umbarger and Sons

Focus on Quality, Family Priorities for Show Feed Manufacturer

Jackson Umbarger is the fourth generation to own and work at Umbarger Show Feeds in central Indiana. Although this family-owned-and-operated feed business has remained in the family for more than 80 years, he said it isn’t just blood that is considered family. The employees, the dealers and the customers are all considered part of the Umbarger family.

“We strive to have that feeling of family. We really do care about your kids and their show livestock. Our company has a family feel and our employee retention rate is high, with a lot of our people having been here 15 plus years. That’s how its always been, and that’s how we like it,” Jackson said.

Jackson oversees the daily operation of the feed company that places its sole focus on show feed manufacturing. A new state-of the-art mill was completed in November to better ensure a consistent, accurate product. All Umbarger feed is manufactured on-site and shipped to its dealer network on a regular basis to deliver accurate, fresh product. For dealers within a two-day driving range, the company uses its own dedicated truck line to deliver to customers. They work efficiently in their dealers’ favor since they are so specialized with low seasonal minimum orders, like this time of year for example. They will also mix products within a pallet.

One of the customer services that Jackson takes great pride in is partnering with like-minded high-quality companies with a show focus whose products they can also distribute to Umbarger dealers. That is one of the reasons their partnership works so well with BioZyme®.

“The BioZyme product line compliments ours. It matches what we believe in. We also put Amaferm® in a lot of our feeds,” he said. Umbarger Show Feeds also distributes Weaver show supplies to its dealers at no additional freight fee – another service to assist its dealers. As Jackson said, if an exhibitor is looking for a big item like a showbox or fitting chute, and his or her local Umbarger dealer can get that item for that person, that person is more likely to build loyalty to that feed dealer instead of taking his or her supply and feed business to a competitor.

One area that Jackson said he would like to focus more on is marketing; however, providing apparel that is trendy and recognizes winners has been effective over time. When he assumed a leadership role in 2008, the company awarded about 40 winners’ jackets that were personalized with the exhibitor name, show name and the Umbarger logo. In 2020, more than 1,500 jackets were awarded, showing the growth of the company and creating even more walking billboards.

Family. Quality. Customer service. For a company whose logo is “we feed champions,” it’s no wonder that they also provide “care that comes full circle.” A partnership like that is just one reason BioZyme values a customer like Roy Umbarger & Sons.

Dealer Spotlight: Valley Vet Supply

Valley Vet Supply is a name recognizable to many in the livestock and equine business as a go-to for their animal health and nutrition supplies. And rightfully so. A pair of veterinarians recognized the need of its customers and created the mail-order retailer for veterinary supplies in the small north central Kansas town of Marysville in 1985. In 1999, their online store, www.valleyvet.com went live, making them one of the early adapters of e-commerce, and today, they sell livestock, equine and pet products from coast-to-coast, including BioZyme® small pack products.

Keeping at the forefront of their customers has always been a priority for Valley Vet and is one reason they have adapted so well to technology. Although this nationally recognized company has a massive web and social media presence, personal service has always been a priority, explains Kori Simmons, Director of Marketing. She said that the veterinarians, Drs. Ray Shultz and Arnold Nagely, still come to work daily, and are available to answer customer phone calls, something they both enjoy. 

However, with the number of clients that Valley Vet serves and the diversity of their products, it has adapted its marketing program to include more information through video on its social media platforms. Simmons said this has proven to be a successful way to partner with its vendors and reach its customers. 

“Do not underestimate the power of video. In today’s day and age, people are less apt to read and more apt to watch a 30-second video – short, quick and to the point. It’s better to have five 30-second videos that are broken up than to have a five-minute video,” Simmons said.

Simmons said their marketing team realized the power of video compared to a typical post when they were analyzing engagement. So, they started using more video with simple giveaways and sweepstakes by partnering with some of their vendors. However, with COVID-19, the realization that their customers were looking for information, helped them transition their video content, and they saw an even greater boost in their customer engagement.

Prior to COVID, Simmons said their vendors and partners would come in to train the Valley Vet call center and marketing teams to ensure everyone was saying the right things to end-users. Once that came to a halt, they realized the need to continue to get their messages out to their customers, so they started producing Facebook Live sessions with their vendors.

“We started partnering with our vendors, and what we started doing was less of an infomercial and more of an educational focus. With a product focus versus topic focus that fills in with some product information, the engagement was night and day different. Since COVID, our engagement is up about 50%, and really and truly the only thing that has changed is our video engagement,” Simmons said.

Valley Vet typically has between 50 to 100 people watch each Live video, with a growing number of those being a regular following. She said it is not unusual for them to have 30,000 views after the Live is over. They have had great success keeping a regular time and day for their Facebook Lives, Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. This helps them measure and compare engagement by keeping a consistent time and cadence.

Simmons recommends getting all speakers online about 30 minutes before your Facebook Live to test sound, lighting and background. Make sure that the background isn’t distracting; you might need to clean your office or go to a room with fewer windows if it is too bright. Make sure you have a speaker with a good personality, and one that can answer the questions that are asked. And make sure you have a person to monitor questions, even after the Live program.

“Make sure to actively monitor customer questions. Put yourself out there to answer questions. Make sure it happens,” Simmons reminds.

Although Valley Vet sometimes does prerecord and edit videos to post, the engagement on their live videos is just too good. Simmons said their engagement is usually quadruple on a live video what it is on a prerecorded video that they put on social media. She advises keeping prerecorded videos for product focus on your website, but to keep them short and to make sure they are updated as any changes are made.

Regardless the size of your business, you can make a big impression with Facebook Live and prerecorded videos. Follow the advice that Simmons offers to grow your customer engagement. Video is a tool that is here to stay! 

Dealer Spotlight: Conserve’s Diversity Helps Grow Customer Base

Dealers are the heartbeat of the BioZyme ® organization. They connect the end-users to the products that help the animals stay healthy and performing. During times of unprecedented challenges, like a pandemic and uncertain markets, BioZyme developed the VitaFerm Conserve line to help dealers reach a new market of customers and keep Amaferm in front of their existing customers.

Read what some dealers had to say about Conserve and how it’s helped them grow their customer base.

“BioZyme hit the nail on the head with Conserve. With the world in somewhat of a crisis and producers having a lot of questions about what the markets are going to be like this fall, BioZyme offered a good basic mineral. The first cost a rancher is going to cut is mineral. With VitaFerm Conserve, they can still get a good basic mineral package with Amaferm included. I’ve brought in a few new customers at the Conserve price point that were interested in the Amaferm advantage that I might not have gotten otherwise. I’ve sold a lot of the Conserve with Garlic since the IGR has to be put out early in the year to help with fly control. After about a week, the garlic is helping with the flies. The customer response has been good, and their cattle are looking good.” – Tee Hale, Union Center, South Dakota

“I’ve gained at least two new customers by offering the Conserve mineral this spring to people who just want to save money. The guys in my area don’t want to spend extra on their mineral, so this has been a welcome addition to the VitaFerm line.” – James Bartonek, Olmitz, Kansas

“If I could summarize the new Conserve mineral in one word, it would be diversity because you can go so many different routes with it. The various forms are a big advantage. When times are tough, guys can still get a nice range mineral and have the garlic in there for fly control. I think that is the biggest thing right there. I’m excited to give my customers an economical line that competes with other brands, and it seems to be doing well for customers who have bought it. You can get it in various forms, in these challenging times that we are facing with the coronavirus and all the markets not cooperating the way we want them to, it gives guys more options to stay with BioZyme and keep using our products.” – Blake Bauer, Bingham, Illinois

Dealer Spotlight: Tera Rooney Barnhardt, DVM

Care that comes full circle might be the BioZyme® company motto, but for one of its leading Vita Charge® dealers, that care is something put into practice every day. Tera Rooney Barnhardt, DVM, is a wife, a mom of two young children and a leading bovine veterinarian, consulting feedlots and dairies in Western Kansas. She makes it her mission to ensure that beef and dairy cattle under her watch have the best care possible.

“I think when there is a problem with a group of calves, we tend to lean toward what we can do now to fix it. A lot of times that comes in the form of an antibiotic or vaccine. These are wonderful tools for our industry, but we’ve got to be stewards of these types of tools and explore technologies that might otherwise make a consumer more comfortable to keep choosing beef and dairy at the grocery store,” Rooney Barnhardt said. “Many times, if we think about the events that led up to the wreck, we’ll do a better job of preventing or at least preparing for the next one. I’m not a nutritionist, but I’d make a pretty bad veterinarian if I ignored the largest system in a cow’s body!”

Keeping those bovine digestive systems in check isn’t always easy, but it’s a job that Rooney Barnhardt does with zest. Her passion started while growing up on her family’s farm in Southwest Kansas. Her grandfather loved cows, and “he lit a fire in my belly to love cows too,” according to the Kansas State University alumna. She earned her bachelor’s in Animal Sciences and Industry, a master’s in Biomedical Sciences and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from K-State, before her first stint in a mixed animal clinic in rural Kansas, where she said she became acutely aware of how important the digestive system is to the health of all animals, both big and small. Today, her primary focus is on bovines, both beef and dairy.

“I hit the road every day thinking about what an awesome gig I have – I work with the people who put food on our tables. We make sure that food is safe, nutritious and sustainably produced. It’s a privilege to have consumers who want beef and dairy products for their families,” Rooney Barnhardt said.

The health and welfare of those animals starts at birth. Many of Rooney Barnhardt’s clients raise their animals from birth to harvest, so getting them off to a good start is vital. That is one reason she decided to become a BioZyme dealer.

“I was honestly frustrated that we’d see so many problems in herds or with animals that came down to nutritional deficiencies. Cow-calf herds can be raised in a low maintenance manner where I practice because of all of the available crop residues and grassland. They can be low maintenance, until they can’t. When clients would come to me with a problem, and we’d need to have a solution that made sense when you put boots on the ground – BioZyme seemed to accomplish a lot of that for me,” she said.

Although most of the cattle that Rooney Barnhart oversees are managed well, fed well, and are typically healthy, when they do get sick, she likes to use the Amaferm® advantage used in the Vita Charge to keep the animals she does have to treat healing quicker.

“If I can utilize the animal’s immune system to its maximum potential because I have every other wheel on the track, that’s how I prefer to practice veterinary medicine. I like to stay on the proactive side of problem solving. I like the Vita Charge line for this reason. I can utilize this product in its multiple forms to get an animal or a pen of animals back on track.”

And her favorite products: “I don’t leave home without a tube of Vita Charge Gel in my truck. If I’m treating individual animals, we get better results if I can get their gut back on track sooner. And since I can’t forget the other 4-legged friends on the ranch, I also like to keep Vitalize on hand. I see how many things a good farm dog can eat in a day at the ranch or dairy. Man, do they need some assistance from what I have seen!”

Care that comes full circle. For this dealer, that motto is how she lives her life.

“At the end of the day, I’m a veterinarian in the trenches of the cattle industry. I have a couple of kids at home and I feed the same beef I help raise, to my family. They drink the same milk that my dairies produce for your family. I’m excited to be a small part in the process that keeps the world fed. If you have questions about how your food is produced, please don’t listen to a celebrity, politician or athlete; check in with a farmer or veterinarian. I am happy to be that person for you.”

Dealer Spotlight: Hale Feeds LLC

Hale Feeds LLC Keeps Moving Forward

“Keep moving forward.” That’s the advice that young, progressive BioZyme® dealer Tee Hale offers his contemporaries and other new dealers. “We have great products; you’re never going to lose by trying to push forward. Dive in head-first and try for the best. You’re never going to make it if you don’t try.”

Tee, along with his parents Jim and Teresa Hale, and his brother Tye own Hale Feeds LLC at Union Center, South Dakota. Tee manages the daily operations of the dealership along with the feed sales from the on-ranch “feed shed” while running about 300 momma cows with his parents. His brother lives nearby and works for a neighboring cow-calf operation.

Because he uses so much of the product himself and understands the benefits of Amaferm®, Tee said it is simple for him to sell the products to others. He can share the advantages of a high-quality program for both cattle and horses.

“I take the approach about cost, per head, per day. What are we going to put in this cow this day? What is it going to cost me? There is the opinion out there that VitaFerm® is a little costly, but it is a premium mineral, and that is what people need to understand. You’ve got your Amaferm in it, that’s a big selling point right there,” he said. “I had bought a set of 60 bred heifers last spring that I turned out on Concept•Aid® right away; and put on HEAT® through the summer. In the fall I had one open out of those 60 head. Right there I can tell that story and it gets people’s attention. For about 15 cents a day, you can feed this product and it works.”

Tee said he is excited about the new products that BioZyme is introducing; he has already begun selling the VitaFerm Concept•Aid 5/S HEAT. He said the VitaFerm HEAT is popular in his area of northwest South Dakota, as it is a cost-efficient and effective product for producers.

When Tee isn’t ranching or selling livestock feed and supplements, he likes to rodeo. He said he’s seen remarkable results with the Vitalize® products on his horses. The results he’s seen with the Amaferm advantage in his horses, has helped him promote those advantages to cattle producers too.

“There is a lot of competition in the area, and it’s all in the same price, but this one has more to it. I can feed my horse something, and I know if it works on their guts, it is going to work on a cow’s gut. And I see a huge difference in my horses,” Tee said.

Phone conversations are the most effective communication method for Tee to share his business with others. He spends parts of each day driving between his ranch and his parents’ where he has time to talk on the phone. And even though South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem never formally “shutdown” the state due to COVID-19, Tee said he likely wouldn’t have left the ranch much in March and April due to calving season. Brandings in May were really the first times people gathered, and even then, they respected one another’s space, but they don’t stress about social distancing, according to Tee.

Life will move forward as usual, and Hale Feeds LLC will have new products to market with the Amaferm advantage.

Dealer Spotlight: Proven Sires Services

Provides Nutrition Needs To Bull Customers and Others

Cattle producers are often said to be the original stewards of the land. Their genuine passion for caring for their land and livestock is in their blood. They know if they take care of their cattle and the land, the cattle will take care of them. Taking care of his cattle before and after the sale is how Mark Rohr, Proven Sres Services, Hays, Kansas, became a BioZyme® dealer in 2014.

As the owner of Lazy H Ranch, where he markets between 100-150 registered Angus and Charolais bulls each spring, he wanted to be sure that those bulls continued to receive the best nutrition possible after the sale. That’s when he became a dealer and started recommending his customers use the VitaFerm® and Vita Charge® products to keep their new bulls healthy and reproductively sound.

“I wanted to offer the best of the best for my bull customers. At least 35% of my customers have started feeding VitaFerm, and that accounts for at least 50% of my bull sales,” Rohr said.

As a VIP dealer, Rohr not only offers the best products to his customers; he also offers top-notch service. He connects with them each monthly, if not more often and makes sure they have everything they need. He answers their questions promptly and relies on his ASM and National Sales Director for answers when he doesn’t know the answers, knowing they will respond quickly.

He suggests utilizing the ASM as a lead to new customer relationships. He appreciates when the ASM makes a cold call first to explain the Amaferm® advantage and ROI of the various product lines. Then, he can follow-up and share his own unique experiences with his customers. As a user of the products, Rohr can give first-hand accounts of what the products do, how they work and the benefits he has experienced in his own herd.

Building trust is the first step in any business relationship, according to Rohr. To build trust he shares his own experiences and works potential customers using other products into the VitaFerm products gradually.

“Offer them a product we have that their company doesn’t. Something like Vita Charge to help reduce stress with vaccinations and weaning. Or if I want them to try the VitaFerm products, I tell them not to go full-bore, but to try it on half or part of their cows so they can see the difference for themselves,” he said.

Rohr hosts a customer appreciation event each summer. He also makes sure to have plenty of BioZyme and Amaferm information available at his sale so his customers can leave with the information they need about a high-quality nutrition program.

As the industry becomes somewhat more volatile, Rohr said sharing key benefits that can be looked at as opportunity costs of the products will be even more important than ever. For cattle producers those include conception rates, especially for those utilizing A.I. and embryo transfer, calf vigor at birth and cows cleaning themselves at calving. Bull fertility is also key.

“I am in partnership on another set of bulls on feed at another location, under different management but the same mineral program, using a different vet service, we had 100% semen check there, and that vet wanted to know what we do to make that happen. As far as fertility in our bulls, the VitaFerm mineral and Amaferm advantage has been awesome,” Rohr said.

With results like that, it’s easy to see how Rohr can use personal experiences to build his customer base and help his bull customers at the same time. Thanks for being a part of the dealer network, Mark!

Dealer Spotlight: Jeff Cluxton & Sons

Second Generation Dealer Provides Services and Answers to Livestock Challenges

Providing a quality product to customers while delivering top-notch services are traits that come naturally for second-generation BioZyme dealer Jeff Cluxton, at Ripley, Ohio. Jeff’s dad, Tom, started using VitaFerm® products in 1974 and became a dealer. The family has appreciated the impact that the BioZyme products have had on their 175 head cow herd and have shared that with their peers.

“VitaFerm’s been good to us. It’s a product that we strongly believe in as users of it, so it helps us be able to sell it to people. We’ve always used the product here on the farm, so we know what works best for people.

If they are in the embryo world, we try to direct people to Concept•Aid® products. Even our commercial cattle producers, will use the Concept•Aid 8/S or the Concept•Aid tub,” Jeff said.

Perhaps the thing that differentiates Jeff and assists him in helping others is the relationship that his family has had with local veterinarian Brian Cowdrey. According to Jeff, Dr. Cowdrey’s parents used the VitaFerm products and now he uses them too. And when a client has a challenge that can be fixed with the help of a nutrition product, the vet sends his client Jeff’s way, which Jeff says makes for a unique situation.

“If the customer will be obedient and do what the veterinarian recommends, we get a lot of business from Dr. Cowdrey. Word of mouth from the vet drives a lot of my business. About four to five years ago we had an outbreak of anaplasmosis here in the county, and word of mouth and VitaFerm offering CTC and IGR became a very popular product around here,” he said.

But that isn’t the only relationship that has helped Jeff grow his business. He said he’s been able to market the VitaFerm Gain Smart® Stocker and Vita Charge® Stress Tubs to the Buckeye Valley Beef Cooperative. The group of local, younger beef producing families are working to raise beef for the consumer to buy from the farm or through local retail outlets, with the knowledge that this beef is locally sourced and has never been treated for sickness. This group of progressive cattle producers has used the Gain Smart Stocker to help ensure the cattle they are feeding for their ultimate customers put on healthy, efficient pounds and meet their strict criteria. He said they use the Stress Tubs at weaning.

As an on-farm dealer, Jeff says he is always available to help his customers. He does chuckle that his wife suggests he set some office hours, but he says he’s here to help. For instance, he has an old truck that he’ll leave a bag or two of mineral in if someone is in the area at a kid or grandkid’s ball game and wants to pick it up. He even tells about a customer who drove out of his way to get 20 bags because Jeff had the product he wanted on hand.

“I won’t turn down a customer. I will help someone out. People are busy, but you can gain a lot of business by being flexible,” Jeff said.

He shares a story from last Christmas. Since he’s also an Umbarger dealer, he has the chance to sell Weaver show supplies. Somebody had ordered a show box for Christmas gift. He offered to wrap and deliver to the customer’s front porch on Christmas Eve when that family was at another Christmas celebration. The customer was overjoyed by the service Jeff provided. He said by providing that type of service, he sees the potential of a return customer for show feed or breeding mineral in the long-term.

One of the most valuable lessons Jeff learned from his dad, and one he shares is to always be willing to find out the answer to a question when you don’t know the answer.

“Always be truthful and honest to your customer, and they will always come back to you. If you don’t know the answer, be willing to say you don’t know but you will find out. That goes a long way for you.”

Jeff Cluxton & Sons is a dealer that shows care that comes full circle while differentiating his business through long-time user experience and outstanding customer service. He’s sharing the knowledge from his dad with his customers in Western Ohio. Thanks for being a great dealer, Jeff!