After a very “unprecedented” 2020 school year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, our 2021 All West Summer Intern, Mitchell Wesen, arrived ready to take advantage of every opportunity we could safely provide. In the first half of his summer with us, Mitchell has already explored All West Territory’s states of Washington and Oregon and most recently, arrived in Central California. We are very thankful that this year’s circumstances have allowed our intern to explore and participate in hands-on, in-person learning experiences, as our internship is always intended to be experienced.
Read on to learn what Mitchell has been up to!
This summer has been off to a quick start and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down! After finishing a very unique year of college at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, I returned home to Bow, Washington and a few days later I reported to the Burlington office for my first day of the All West/Select Sires internship. In the office, I learned about all of the necessary paperwork and computer work that goes on behind the scenes in order for the cooperative to run smoothly. I spent time with Chris Fredrickson in the Accounts Payable department and Melissa O’Neill in Accounts Receivable where I learned how sales are approved and incoming payments are processed each month.
Next, I rode along with Bryce Stampanoni, a professional A.I. technician and the Technician Supervisor for Western Washington. I was able to learn many tips and tricks from Bryce that will significantly improve my breeding skills. He also informed me of some common bad habits that I should do my best to avoid, such as using the A.I. gun to “sword fight” with the cervix! Obviously, no real sword fighting occurs here, but it is impressive how quickly he can breed a cow while making the cow’s comfort his number one priority and increasing his conception rate in the process. After inserting the A.I. gun, it never appears to move again! Bryce and I also had many conversations about everything from horn breeding and embryo transfers to some of the different breeding strategies used on the farms he services. It was a pleasure being able to ride along with someone who is so passionate about his profession and pick his brain for a couple of days.
During Week Two, I was back in the Burlington office working in the warehouse and distribution department with Paul Brown and Aaron Brown. Here I learned how to process orders that are constantly coming in from technicians and salespeople throughout Washington and Oregon. Filling these orders efficiently and correctly is a very important process as it allows for up-to-date inventories and for everything to run smoothly out in the field. I also helped fill semen tanks and load the delivery van with many other reproductive and nutritional supplies that benefit dairy farmers throughout All West Territory. On my second day with Aaron, we woke up at the crack of dawn and left the Burlington warehouse by 2:15 AM in order to make a semen delivery to the technicians and salespeople in Sunnyside, WA. After dropping the supplies off, we hit the road again and headed down to Tillamook, Oregon where we met up with several salesmen and inventoried over 10,000 units of semen and a shed full of supplies. Each salesperson has their semen supply inventoried once year as a form of checks and balances. This ensures that all of All West/Select Sires semen and products are being kept track of and properly billed to members/owners.
In Week Three, I switched over to the sales side of the industry and rode along with Kelby Stadt who is the All West Sales Representative in the northern half of Western Washington. I was able to see what a day in the life of a salesman entails and what organizational techniques he uses to keep track of his many accounts, making sure all members have semen when they need it and that nitrogen tanks never go dry. Kelby and I also spent a large amount of time talking about what traits and characteristics to look for in a bull, as well as some specific linear traits to focus on as they can negatively impact the functionality of a dairy cow. Kelby is also in charge of mating many of the herds in Western Washington and is the CowManager Sales Representative for the northern half of All West Territory. With that being said, there was always something for the two of us to be working on and we were often breaking out the computer at lunch to run a new set of matings or look over a herd on CowManager and answer any questions the dairy farmer might have.
In Week Four, I headed over to the east side of Washington state where I met up with Dairy Program Specialist, Randy Van Wieringen. While with Randy, I learned how to perform linear evaluations on cows and how this information can be used in the mating process. I was also able to learn a little more about the Select Mating Service (SMS), as well as the use of the Optimal Genetic Pathway (OGP) calculator for a dairy farm. An OGP takes into account many things from a specific farm such as herd size, conception rates, non-completion rates, etc. and can essentially tell the dairy farmer how they can best utilize sexed, conventional, and beef semen in order to have enough replacement heifers for their needs, as well as maximize their profits from the increased value in a beef cross animal. While in Sunnyside, I was able to see much larger scale operations than what I have grown up around in Western Washington and it was very interesting to see and learn about a different style of dairy farming.
A new week meant another new location and this time I was off to Oregon. I met up with All West Sales Representative Allan Hanselman where I continued to learn about more products that All West sells. Allan showed me his supply of Calf-Tel hutches and taught me about the many different designs they come in. He also explained what works best in different calf raising situations and different climates, as these can range drastically throughout All West Territory. Allan and I also made a trip to Tillamook where I was able to learn more about this unique area and how farmers are doing everything they can to maximize their land in this county as they have access to a premium market. I also had the pleasure of meeting All West/Select Sires District #12 Director Chad Martin and World Wide Sires Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Scott Ruby, while in this area.
It is hard to believe the first half of the summer has already come and gone! I am very thankful to have this opportunity to learn from such great members of the All West Family and to broaden my knowledge in genetics. I have recently landed in California and I am looking forward to exploring even more of the All West Territory!