Summer is always an exciting time in All West Territory as we welcome our intern, and for the second year in a row, we have two! Kaycie Bajka and Kayla Golladay joined the All West Family on June 26, 2022 for the first day of their eight-week experience with us. Learn more about our 2023 All West Summer Interns here and read on to learn what they have experienced so far!
2023 All West Summer Intern, Kaycie Bajka:
Halfway through my internship with All West/Select Sires and time has absolutely flown by!
Week 1 started with an early morning flight from Sacramento to Seattle where I met fellow intern Kayla in person for the first time! We made it to Ohio just in time for dinner and to meet some of the other interns and new hires at Select Sires. The first day of orientation started at the Select Sires Kellgren Facility in Plain City, Ohio where we got the chance to listen to presentations and talk to Select Sires employees from many different parts of the company. I had no idea how much went in to each unit of semen that is used and the amount of people who are involved! We were also able to better understand the impact of Select Sires and the company’s values, which have created long-lasting relationships with not only the employees, but the farmers as well. Outside the facility you can see a couple of the most famous bulls who are buried there, including Fisher-Place Mandingo who was the first bull to produce over one million units of semen! Day two started by getting to watch the collection of 14HO15971 MOONWALKER. I learned how precise each step must be from collection all the way to sexing and freezing. We got to meet another group of awesome employees and learn more about what they did in addition to a bull parade, which was so cool! That night we went to a Columbus Clippers game. It was so fun and nice to have time to get to know each other in a different environment. The last day of orientation we learned about semen distribution and saw the warehouse containing 13 million units of semen, soon to contain another six million! We also got to visit “Calf Campus” to see some of the bulls and learn about how they are cared for and selected. Once we got to hear our last few more presentations, Kayla and I headed to the airport to make our journey back to All West Territory. It was an amazing experience to see “behind the scenes” of Select Sires.
Week 2 started with a Fourth of July dinner and fireworks show with All West General Manager, CEO Rory White and his family, who have graciously accepted me into their home whenever I am in Turlock. The first day was spent going on a delivery with All West Product Inventory Manager Suzi Wilson to an IVF center, getting my nitrogen handling training and paperwork completed, and helping Manager of Communications Mackenzie Yerian in the office. Then, I had the chance to ride along with All West Sales Representative Jake Van Vliet who took me on his sales route. We filled his customer’s tanks with nitrogen, checked semen inventory, and delivered units of semen. It was great talking to Jake all day and learning about his path through the industry, while also learning safe and efficient nitrogen and semen handling techniques. I spent the last day of Week 2 with All West Sales Representative Brian Nelson on his sales route. One of our first stops was his family’s dairy where we filled nitrogen, did semen inventory, and looked at matings. Additionally, he spent time teaching me what traits to look for in a herd, how to score them, and how that might affect what sires you would recommend using in a herd. We got to have lunch at Hilmar Cheese and I saw my first rotary parlor (so cool)! We ended the day with a quick overview of the Optimal Genetic Pathways (OGP) program, which is a very powerful tool that I am excited to keep learning about.
Week 3 I headed to a dairy in Tulare, California to meet Angie Kennedy, who is All West’s Director of Dairy Programs. When I arrived, she was discussing possible matings for the dairy producer’s herd based on what his current goals were and to check in to see if anything had changed. We then went through a dairy’s heifer inventory and tried to meet the desired herd size through sorting by genomics, matings, health and age to help make culling decisions. On day two with Angie, we walked pens and she taught me how to do linears and to judge a trait on a scale of 1 to 9. We then walked through the heifers we had been trying to adjust herd size for in order to make better culling decisions. Angie is helping teach halter breaking and how to prepare heifers to show, so I was able to tag along for that and participate in the learning! On Wednesday, we did more linears and I got to see another rotary parlor that had an awesome sorting system along with robots, which I hadn’t seen before! Angie went over the Select Mating Service program (SMS), pedigree matching with linears, matings, and she took the time to go over linear scoring in a lot of detail to make sure I was caught up to speed. Thursday of week two was spent going down to the Chino fair with All West Dairy Program Specialist Rodney Paulo to learn about livestock judging. Rodney is who helps the Cal Poly Dairy with matings and provides inventory for the breeding department, so it was nice to visit with him. I have no background in the dairy show world, so it was a great learning opportunity. We then drove around Chino looking at some of the dairies and talking about how much the industry has changed there. The last day of Week 3 I picked up Angie and we walked a few more pens of cows doing linears. I’m starting to get more comfortable rating traits and understanding how to think about matings!
Week 4 was an exciting one! Bright and early on Monday morning, I drove to Petaluma, California where I got to meet All West Sales Representative Carly Meyer, enjoy the beautiful views, and escape the heat while riding along on her sales route. We made it all the way up to Point Reyes and I got to learn so much about organic dairies, their requirements for certifications, and the different protocols that are followed. I saw more robots in action, which is still so cool, and learned how dairies can capture methane to help provide energy to their dairy or processing center. We got to stop by Marin French for lunch and finished topping off nitrogen and dropping off units of semen. It was very cool to see the community Carly has on her route. The next morning, we went over OGPs, DHI Plus, and SMS before I started my drive back to Turlock. On Wednesday, I met Rodney, and we went to a few different dairies from Merced to Los Banos. At each, we did more linears, but compared our individual scores. It was helpful to see how other people assign scores and helped me better understand different techniques and thought processes. I headed back to Tulare on Wednesday night to get ready for my morning with Technician Team Leader Mario Limon. Mario picked me up at 4:15 A.M. and we headed to an Ovsynch herd. It was very impressive to see how quickly and efficiently Mario worked! He bred both cows and heifers, those on Ovsynch along with ones he found through heat detection. I got to try to breed a heifer, which is still a skill I’m working on, but I made it in the cervix and later passed a cow. I’m making progress! I spent Friday morning with Carson Hillberg, an All West Dairy Program Specialist. I got to practice breeding a few more times before he took the time to go over SMS, DairyComp, and OGPs. Mario and Carson both taught me when All West hosted the A.I. clinic at Cal Poly, so it was really nice to learn from them again!
I started Week 5 by flying up to the All West Headquarters in Burlington, Washington where I met up with Kayla and got to meet everyone in the office there. The first day I got to see their warehouse, get a history of the headquarters, and learn about what the process looks like from requesting inventory all the way to payment and auditing. The rest of the excitement of week five I will leave for the next newsletter! I have learned so much already and am grateful for everyone who has taught me along the way. I am excited for what’s to come!
2023 All West Summer Intern, Kayla Golladay:
Week 1 was the perfect introduction to this internship in many ways. It began with the first of what has been many early mornings to catch a flight to Select Sires headquarters in Ohio. Kaycie and I spent the week being introduced to the many facets of the company alongside other interns and new employees from Select Sires and its various co-ops. We met with employees from every department from collections to communications. I’ve always been fascinated by how many different types of people it takes to successfully run a business, so this part of the experience was incredibly rewarding.
Week 2, which I’ve fondly referred to as “Beef Kid Meets Dairy” in my field journal, I was finally able to get my boots on the ground in All West Territory. I met All West Technician Team Leader Pat Wolf in Sunnyside, Washington on my first morning where I was then given a crash course on breeding in a dairy setting. While breeding and signs of heat may be the same between beef and dairy, some of the finer details are a bit different. I learned about the usage of paint beyond just heat detection, ovsynch protocols, and how to work with head locks. The next day I worked with All West Dairy Program Specialists Randy Van Wieringen and Brandon Boogerd and received another crash course, this time on evaluating dairy cows. After evaluations, I then got to tour a few of the operations in the valley. I was able to learn about the milking process and see multiple parlor styles, see the different stages a dairy cow goes through from the calf pens and heifer lot to the fresh pen, as well as being exposed to some of the management programs like DairyComp and CowManager. One of my favorite experiences from Week 2 was getting to work on my breed I.D. Many of the dairymen have kids who show dairy cattle at the local fairs and between all the various dairies there’s just about every breed, and each of these cows are bred back to their same breed, so I spent most of my time touring pens attempting to identify the “odd cows out”.
Week 3 took me to the western side of the state where I got to meet some of the Burlington office staff and west side technicians. The first half of the week was spent mostly visiting dairies to get backups and meeting as many of the dairymen as possible with Brandon. I gained more exposure to some of the management programs and parlor styles, even getting to see my first robotic milkers. I spent my last two days following All West Technician Team Leader Bryce Stampanoni on his breeding route where I got to further my education in breeding in a dairy setting. One of my biggest takeaways this week was how important forming positive relationships is to this business. Everyone from feeders and milkers to technicians to the dairy producer really has to work together in order to have a productive dairy.
Week 4 brought me back to Eastern Washington where I was able to continue furthering my education while implementing what I’d learned so far. I worked with Randy and Brandon again evaluating cows, this time for direct matings. They also taught me more about their work with matings and creating OGP’s for herd inventory. I also followed along on some of their sales routes where I was able to continue learning about the different operations and facilities while also working more on my breed I.D. Our farm’s vet, Dr. Fred Muller, is based out of Sunnyside so I was able to go and tour his lab on one of my last days in the area and see all of the different areas and equipment they use to run a variety of tests such as milk and feed quality. Although I’m only half way through my internship, it has already been such an informative experience that’s really furthered my love for the agricultural industry and continued to show me the many ways that I can be involved in it.
Week 5 brings Kaycie and I back together as we begin a 10-day road trip from Burlington into Oregon. I’m excited to continue gaining more exposure and making new connections!