Jeff Cochran and his wife, Donna
Jeff Cochran became part of the All West Family first as a dairy producer and dedicated customer at his own organic dairy. As the owner and operator of JBC Jerseys in Oregon, Jeff worked closely with All West Sales Representative Darryl Olson. Darrly quickly noticed Jeff’s interest in genetics as well as his work ethic. When All West was looking to hire a new team member to evaluate herds using the Select Mating Service (SMS) program in 2011, Darryl mentioned this opportunity. To his surprise Jeff said, “That would be fun to learn!”
In a matter of only a few short weeks Jeff sold his herd, was hired by All West/Select Sires, and was given a computer and data collector, which he recalls “having no clue how to use”. “The laptop and I didn’t work together. The screen would flash, minimize, and move around while I was attempting to complete matings. I didn’t know the dairymen in the area very well because before this job I was busy running my own dairy,” said Jeff. “I was nervous and sweating every step of the way!”
Although Jeff had much to learn about the technology of the trade, he knew cows as well as the dairy producers he was serving because he had years of personal experience as one of them. Jeff thrived in his role as an All West Dairy Program Specialist, which allowed him to use his experience to problem solve alongside producers. This ability allowed him to quickly become a trusted specialist to his customers and a valuable member of our team.
“I enjoy listening to my customers and what specific goals they have. I always ask what they want from their cows first. Nearly every time, they know what they want. They might not know the bulls it would take to get them there, but they do know where they want to go. Once I know them, I can help them find bulls that will work for the results they want. I also listen and learn how they are managing their operations and if there are any problems they are experiencing. It is then my job to make suggestions that can increase pregnancy rates and select sires for traits that can fix any issues they may be having,” said Jeff.
Jeff admits that although he had much experience with cattle, it did take some time for him to adjust to evaluating traits for different breeds. “When I started, I was certainly more comfortable with Jerseys because that is what I had worked with on my own farm,” said Jeff. “As I spent more time in the herds, I actually enjoyed mating Holsteins more than Jerseys!”
Jeff also served as a Relief A.I. Technician in Tillamook, Oregon for a little over two years. “When I first started going up there, I didn’t even know where the ovaries were. After working with fellow All West team members Dave Porter and J.R. Fisher for a while, I could recognize a corpus luteum (CL) from a follicle from a cyst. They really taught me a lot about reproduction!”
Jeff’s experience didn’t stop at dairy cattle. He expanded into the role of assisting customers make beef sire selections and was very busy seasonally completing beef breeding projects for local ranchers.
Jeff attributes much of his direct sales success to fellow All West retiree and his own former sales representative, Darryl Olson. “Darryl is just unbelievable. He gave me advice to help me get started and then fine-tuned my techniques. We still talk almost weekly!” Jeff also enjoys staying in close contact with Oregon representatives Allan Hanselman and Matt Jansen.
Jeff’s true passion and excitement was in seeing the results of his mating selections in the herds he served and celebrating in their success. Jeff said, “It has been really fun watching the evolution of some of the herds I work with. That’s the most rewarding part of my experience working with both my dairy and my beef customers.”
Sharing in this success with his customers allowed Jeff to create lasting relationships with them. A few of his customers even broke down in tears on his last visit to their dairies and ranches and Jeff confirmed that the bittersweet feelings were mutual. He was the final team member to officially retire from All West/Select Sires on September 30, 2023.
Although Jeff does hope to slow down slightly after serving herds in 11 different counties over the past 12 years, he still plans to continue working with local customers to breed their herds. He is also passing on his knowledge by teaching others how to breed their own cows through artificial insemination training.
Jeff’s customers are continuing to receive industry-leading genetics and excellent service from Select Sires Member Cooperative team members during this transition.
We thank Jeff for his years of service and wish he and his wife Donna good health and much happiness in retirement!