Why hire an independent consultant?
Interview of an independent dairy consultant.
• You’re an independent dairy consulting nutritionist, what does that exactly mean?
I’m not sure there is a standard definition, but for me it means that I do not receive a salary from any feed company which enables me to recommend the ration, products and services I feel are best for each individual farm’s situation. I work for my producers and they are my “boss”. Everything I do is for the best interest of my customers without limitations that might be in place if I were working for a traditional company. The producer gets to choose the feed manufacturer they would prefer to work with to get their protein blend or can even mix commodities on their farm. While I may discuss products while consulting for them, since I am an independent consultant I am free to recommend whatever is the best solution for them.
• Do you specialize in any particular type of consulting?
I prefer to work with dairy. Every consultant has their strengths and weaknesses, but that is one reason why I choose to be a part of a group of independent consultants like Agri-Basics, Inc. I can always call a team member from the Agri-Basics group to help out if needed. We also meet as a team on a regular basis to challenge each other and share our strengths.
• Do you have to be able to visit clients in person?
The level of service will vary with each client. Some require every 2 weeks, and some a couple times a year. It is part of the conversation when we start to work together. To provide the best service to our clients, we need to be at the farm on a regular basis to be that second set of eyes, and help with a variety of management areas, as well as reading how the cows are performing on the ration. This is of tremendous importance. The person running the ration is the person that should be on the farm looking at the cows, and the whole management picture. These go hand in hand and without being there it is much harder to maximize performance and adjust to the changes that are happening on the farm.
• Why do people contact you for consulting?
Most of the people that call have heard from a friend or neighbor that are happy with how my service. I might have helped them improve production, or solved a problem they were having, and they saw the results in their bottom line. So they tell the neighbor, and that neighbor might want to fix a challenge, and they call me. They need help, and that is what I like to do. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning; the satisfaction and joy I get from helping people succeed in meeting their goals or fixing a problem. It’s very rewarding to be able to come in and join the farm’s team, working together to offer a fresh perspective and be part of the solution.
• How did you get started as an independent consulting nutritionist? Having some farm experience before I started was crucial, along with an education in the nutrition field. It is challenging to go out and build your own business in a competitive field, but that is where the support from Agri-Basics, Inc. comes in. They support you with technical training and even a salary while you build your business, until you have enough clients to support your needs.
• What are your goals for the future? To keep learning and staying up to date with relevant research. This will allow me to continue to share good science based solutions with my clients to make them as successful as possible in exceeding their goals for the farm. Being part of a long term successful team is what it is really all about. That is what I enjoy.