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Archive for Altona Lea Holsteins

Five of the top pedigree breeders from across Canada and multiple breeds share their thoughts on genetics, embryo transfer, marketing and Immunity+.  Sponsored by Shur-Gain this event was held on Wednesday February 4th at the Canadian Dairy Xpo.

The speakers are:

  • Marc Comtois – Comestar Holsteins, Victoriaville, QC
    Comestar Holstein’s is a family farm located at Victoriaville, Quebec. Known around the world for developing high quality genetics, they have established a strong international market. The herd is approximately 700 head and the base of the herd stems from the GREAT Comestar Laurie Sheik VG-88 23* Family. Marc is bilingual and is well known and respected around the world. The Comestar herd is known for their show winning ladies, but the herd is built on more than just show winners!
  • Glenn Barkey – Altona Lea Holsteins, Blackstock, ON
    Glenn is part of the Leading Livestock Genetics group that was formed to help farmers market animals and embryos. Leading Livestock Genetics (LLG), an alliance of dairy cow and dairy goat breeders are located in the East-Central region of Ontario, Canada. Altona Lea Farms is a two-time Master Breeder herd, multigenerational, family owned and run farm.
  • Jen Vander Meulen – Avonlea Genetics, Brighton, ON
    Jen and her husband Andrew have a deep history in the Jersey breed and are noted as one of the top of the breed in marketing. Avonlea Genetics Inc. is a third generation purebred Jersey farm with many accolades, including: 2 National Grand Champions and Lifetime Production Awards. In recent years an emphasis has been placed on their embryo program.
  • John Crowley – Crovalley Holsteins, Hastings, ON
    John Crowley and wife Cynthia have four children, Christina, Justin, Ryan and Vanessa. They farm Crovalley Holsteins, consisting of 1400 acres with their sons, Justin and Ryan. The herd consists of 80 milking cows, with a total of 250 head. Herd Classification is 42Excellent, 62 Very Good, 5 Good Plus. Crovalley has been named numerous All-Canadian and All-American nominations from a showtype herd.
  • Curtis McNeil – Heather Holme Holsteins, Goderich, ON
    Curtis McNeil is a shareholder with his parents Glen and Vanda McNeil in Heather Holme Holsteins. Heather Holme Holsteins is a 3x Master Breeder, entirely homebred and the 1st CHAH Leucosis free herd in Canada. With the slogan “Breeding the kind dairyman like to milk worldwide” they focus on producing high quality milk as well as breeding and marketing elite Holstein genetics. The current herd classification of 18 EX (2 @ 94) 33 VG, 3 GP, 94% VG or EX. The Herd average is 12,250 Kgs (2x/day) 4.4% fat, 3.4% protein, BCA 260 298 273 . They have bred numerous All-Canadian & All-Canadian nominations over the years and merchandize 60-80 embryos annually, domestically.

_MG_0239webJust recently I was reading an article that made this point about videos. “Video is becoming a powerful part of modern business—if you’re not using it, you’re missing out on endless opportunities.”  A few years ago this statement might have been considered a far out concept, especially for the agricultural industry, but today companies like Farm Boy Productions, owned and operated by Bruce Sargent, are proving that this is indeed the leading edge of modern marketing.

Ready to Go with Video

For Bruce Sargent using video was a natural progression of communication throughout High School. “When I started grade 9, the school was brand new and had video announcements. In grade 11, I was student council president and we made videos to advertise all of our events. In grade 12, I was asked to be the director of the program for the year and I produced all new intro segments for the broadcast.” We often ask ourselves if what we learned in High School applies in the real world but Bruce looks back on his accumulated video learning and firmly states. “Video started there and, since then, I haven’t really stopped.”

Farm Boy Starts with a Farm Boy

The agricultural background for Farm Boy Productions started at the Enniskillen Jersey farm where the Sargent family milked 50 head of home bred Jerseys.  Born and raised on the farm Bruce had hands on experience there too. “Most of high school I was the primary milker and worked full time on the farm in the summers. Our barn is tie-stall and is built for feeding small square bales, though we have been feeding wet wrap bales for about 10 years now. We grow corn for silage, oats and barley, and then the rest of our acres are for hay.”

From Documents to Documentaries

With his love of cows and farming combined with his growing video experience, it wasn’t long until these dual motivations inspired him to launch his own business. “Farm Boy Productions started as a project in Grade 12 in my communications technology course. We were told to design a logo at the beginning of the year that could brand all our work. I designed my cowboy boot logo as part of the class. A few months later, as part of a community business, my teacher paired me with a specialty chicken farm. She gave me the assignment because I was the only farm kid in the class and she felt the other students would not be comfortable working on the farm.”  After that, it seemed inevitable that he would continue with video. The rest, as they say, was not only history, it was now documentary.

Granted … It only Takes a Spark!

With positive experiences building, Bruce was ready to take it up a level. “After my first year in marketing management at the University of Guelph, I was making plans for the summer. I wanted to go home to the farm, but I wanted to put my schooling to work too, so I applied for a summer company grant from the government. They gave me $1500 for start up costs and gave me mentoring to get started. “Education, enthusiasm and the drive to put them together with an action plan moved Bruce further forward on his journey to develop his video business!

Well Mannered.  Well Mentored.

This forward looking young business man has his eye and his camera firmly focused on the present, however, he looks back and is sincerely grateful for the mentors that inspired him to get to where he is today. “My biggest influences have been my Grandparents and my father.  Grandfathers Frank Barkey (Altona Lea Holsteins) and Carl Sargent along with my father, Tim Sargent, have always pushed me to do more. All three are amazing men with great character and morals. Since I was very young, all of them have pushed me to do more in 4-H and life, and from the beginning they have believed in my business. I conduct myself and my business in their image and my biggest motivation is to make them proud. They taught me that the means define the end and I don’t do anything unless I feel it is the right thing to do.”

Another Turning Point for Farm Boy Productions

From the outset Bruce was eager to build on his commitment to both agriculture and video and, therefore, recognized an opportunity when it presented itself in the form of a partnership. “My biggest accomplishment has been entering a partnership with Glacier Farm Media. I was approached in December 2012 by Glacier to enter a partnership. Glacier wanted more video experience and I wanted opportunity for growth. We came to a deal in July of 2013 and I am very excited to be doing video work for them.” Well aware of how crucial these early steps can be for a startup company he enthusiastically categorizes his experience. “It is an entrepreneur’s dream to get a chance like this and I didn’t have to go on Dragons Den or Shark Tank to get it!”

It`s Lights, Camera, Action at Farm Boy Productions

That first year (2010) would see a growing network of clients, projects and new mentors for the fledgling partner.” That year I created videos for a Horse Day Camp. The kids at the camp wrote a story and I was hired to make the story into a video. At the time, Amber Marshall of the CBC show Heartland was the spokesperson of the camp and she acted in my videos.” Off to a great start, there were more yet to come. “For the past two summers (2012) I have been shooting video interviews of farmers for a Calendar promoting agriculture. The project is called the Faces of Farming Calendar, and for the past two years we have included QR codes on the pages so people can scan them and watch the videos. The calendars go to politicians and journalists to teach them about farmers.” This was definitely a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Shoot!  It`s Time to Grow Your Business!

Of course Bruce feels quite strongly about video and its uses. “I think dairy farmers and markets could use video more effectively.”  With his trademark enthusiasm for the benefits of video marketing he offers this advice. “When shooting video on your own keep in mind your audience and your visuals. Make sure you consider your audience and what they want to see, this sounds really obvious BUT it’s easy to do something you think is “COOL” and your audience will disagree. The best way to avoid this is run it past friends and family first. Your visuals need to be relevant, engaging and steady! There is no quicker way to lose your audience than unsteady footage. You want them to watch the whole video.” Bruce takes his own advice and emphasizes the value he places on consistently learning more about his chosen field.  “I am always learning about new techniques, cameras, computers and software.”  Not daunted by the speed of change, Sargent is excited about the growth of technology and new applications for video. “As video becomes more accessible through smart phones, more people will use it. The power of video, if used in the right way can do a lot of good for the industry. I am a big advocate for using video to promote how awesome the agriculture industry is. It’s great to see more cameras than mine out there promoting the industry and I am always excited to hear from clients who want to take their video production up a notch.” (Read more: Nothing Sells Like Video)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Helping clients grow, market and develop solutions for their business through video is what Farm Boy Productions is all about.  This young entrepreneur not only records the reality of agriculture he is committed to making steady progress toward his own big picture vision of his role in the industry.  The Bullvine congratulates Bruce Sargent’s dedication and passion for those two ingredients that farm folk everywhere recognize as the key to dairy success. See you in the movies Farm Boy Productions!


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