“It’s all about relationships,” stressed All West salesman Larry Nootenboom.  Clearly, Larry lives by these words as the day we spent riding along with him was defined by relationships…and people enjoying a good laugh as well as a good dose of bull information!  On today’s stop list was Coldstream Farm LLC, Acme, WA.
Owners:  Jeff Rainey (former relief technician for All West/Select Sires) and Herd Manager/Son-in-Law, Galen Smith

Number of cows:  1200

Sires used:
7HO10690 Plan
7HO10848 Grafeeti
7HO10849 Shamrock
7HO11150 Ziggy
7HO11314 Mogul
7HO11351 Supersire

All West/Select Sires team involved:
Larry Nootenboom – salesman
Maynard Axelson – SMS evaluator
Brett Mackay – SRS evaluator

7 questions with Galen Smith

What do you need from an AI company?

That answer has changed over time.  I need an A.I. company to give me the best genetics and team support.  I rely heavily on Larry and Maynard since they know the direction we want to go, and they let me know what’s happening in the industry so I can apply new ideas/technology to my own operation.  I can’t afford to be status quo, so having a team of people that give me the latest updates and industry changes/news is huge.

Are there benefits to the “team management” concept?

We have quarterly meetings with our key employees and that’s made a tremendous difference!  Now they feel like a true part of this operation and that the work they do makes a big difference.  We’ve worked on semen thawing, techniques, evaluating protocols, setting new goals every quarter – all things that help us boost our preg rate.  The guys really enjoy achieving a goal.
Our vet is very active at the meetings and definitely a team player, as well as our banker and nutritionist.  It’s great to have the benefit of others’ expertise.  Why not take advantage of that!

Why All West?

That’s simple.  It’s the support I get and the follow through.  It isn’t about price – it’s about all the value-added benefits I get with my service!

Have you utilized the SRS Program?

I can’t say enough good things about SRS and what it brings to the overall profitability of this operation.
We’ve gone from a 23% preg rate to a 30%, taking us from average to exceptional!
If we break the herd down, it falls into:
30% preg rate on Jerseys
25/26% for Holsteins
38% for Crossbreds

We’ve come up with some goals for selecting bulls now:
– high PL
– high components
– high DPR
We do use quite a few FeedPro bulls

What are your plans for the future?

Our facility will milk/handle 2200 cows on 3x milking.  We plan to have continued growth, but in a responsible way.  You don’t just get big, you grow big.

In the future, we might consider making a push to add more Jerseys.  We have plans to eventually add two more barns.  We want to make efficient use of the space we have – and since we ship for components, Jerseys might be the most logical option.
When it comes to feeding, we buy all our grains and about 30% of our forages, including 7-8 thousand tons of corn silage.  We grow all our own grass silage and go through about 10 tons.  Incidentally, we did build a new feed facility here with a vertical mixer.  We can now utilize more locally-grown forages to not only support growers near us, but eliminate costly freight fees when we had to buy from farther away.

Who operates the dairy?

My father-in-law used to breed cows for All West as a relief technician.  He said it was incredibly valuable to him as a dairyman because he could visit and learn from all types of operations.  He (Jeff) bought the current dairy 1978.  I married Jeff’s daughter and joined the farm in 2000.  My wife and I have four terrific sons, ranging in age from 6 to 12.

How do you impact others?

I enjoy what we do.  It’s a good quality of life.  I’m managing 25 guys and I believe every single one of them wants to do a good job and I’m blessed with the opportunity to work with great people here at the dairy and outside of it.  For those under my supervision, it’s my job is to give them clear direction and provide them with the tools to help them succeed.

In reality, if my kids don’t see me enjoying my life and enjoying this job/industry, why would they ever think about being part of it?  I want them to see all the opportunities that could be theirs.

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