The dairy industry can be unbelievable at times with some of the rumours that go around.  From who has found that 65 inch Jr.  two year old to who’s making whoopee out behind the barn.  Well not exactly out behind the barn but some of the things I have heard suggest that it’s not out of the realm of possibility.  Therefore, when I heard in the spring rumor that Chris Parry was leaving Morsan I thought it was an overworked grapevine.  But then sure enough that rumor recently came true as Parry is going to become the General Manager at Westgen in September.

Westgen is a great organization.  We have all had the pleasure of working with gentlemen such as Gordie Souter and Harley Nicholson and have always had great respect for them.  Nevertheless, it has me asking why would Parry leave Morsan?

Could there be a better opportunity?

Remember when Morsan first came on the scene, spending lots of money on lots of high priced animals?  (Read Morsan Farms – Money Well Spent).  From the very start, Chris had been their marketing manager.  At the time it almost seemed odd.  Here is a dairy farm with it’s own person in charge of marketing.  Very progressive for the time.

Now we see Parry leaving, which has me asking, “What better job could you have?”  Here you have the opportunity to market the reigning Madison and Royal Grand Champion, the family of the #2 August 2012 new release sire in Canada as well as many other leading index and show cattle.  Awesome.

Do dairy breeders need marketing people?

Maybe the issue is that Morsan no longer needs a marketing manager?  For me, I almost find that’s impossible to believe.  After all, over recent years we have seen other leading breeding programs add marketing staff to their programs.  In my opinion, more dairy farmers need to think strategically about their breeding programs as a business and not just a passion.

There is more to marketing than just placing ads

When Calbrett-I H H Champion was about to come out, I learned then, and I know now, that it’s as much about the promotion as it is about the product.  There is more to marketing dairy cattle than just placing a few pretty ads in the major magazines.  It’s as much about building the brand and the community around your farm as it is actually breeding great cattle. Even if your barn is housing the best, you have to make sure people know about it.  Each one of us can name a bull that first came out and everything you could imagine was being said about the bull, the stud and the owners.  There can be as much time spent dealing with the rumors as is spent on creating the ads and marketing strategy.  The biggest difference we see  today is that, the rumour mill is no longer controlled by one or two competing  companies, but now has gone down to the breeder level.  This is because breeders can now communicate much easier with each other, instead of having the local salesman/technician coming in and controlling what is being spread.  Social media and email have changed all that.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The reasons for Parry leaving Morsan could be many, one of which might just be that both sides needed a change.  However, that does not diminish the need for all breeders to think about how they handle their marketing.  Whether or not you can afford a full time marketing staff or not, you need to remember it takes more than just a few pretty ads to market top cattle.  It’s as much about managing information as it is the ads.  With the addition of Facebook, breeders can both market their cattle and engage the community in the latest conversations.  Always make sure whatever smoke you create has fire behind it.

For those of you wanting a little guidance check out “The Dairy Breeders Guide to Facebook”.