For years a small few organizations have controlled the dairy industry. No I am not talking about how A.I. companies are seeking to control genomics, or genetic evaluation systems, sorry Ron. What I am talking about is how a small few (mostly A.I. companies) have sought to control what breeders think. It’s time to stand up and be heard and fight the power.
Having grown up on both sides of this fence it has been amazing to see the control that A.I. companies have over dairy breeders’ minds. I can still remember when Champion was about to be released and the “rumors” that where swirling were insane. Everything you could think of was being said about Albert Cormier and GenerVations. Some of the stuff was not even possible and yet the rumor mill was fuelled with this because the other companies were threatened by a new player in the marketplace. The great thing for the industry was that in typical Albert fashion he did not let it beat him down, but rather loved the challenge and met it head on.
More important than the marketing that any of the A.I. companies has done, is the ability to control the rumor mill. Dairy breeders love great gossip. Maybe it’s because as a dairy breeder you get limited contact with other breeders, or maybe it’s because most breeders are so passionate about what they do, but breeders do love good gossip. Trust me, it does not take a day to have a rumor that starts on one farm spread all over the industry and this was even before Facebook and email.
I cannot tell you the number times I have had great conversations with many different breeders but put them in a group setting and they would be afraid to speak up. As an industry we should not seek to ostracize those who are willing to speak up against the norm but rather encourage them to speak their mind.
Looking back on my upbringing one of the greatest things I ever learned was the ability to give reasons. I cannot tell you how much it has helped me in my career. Not because I am seeking to become judge the Royal or Madison (though if you would like me to, I am game), but rather it taught me how to form my own opinion and then have the confidence to present and defend that opinion in front of others. On an average week I have to give 3-4 different presentations to groups of 100+ and it’s this the lessons I learned judging dairy cattle that make it a breeze for me.
I think it’s time more breeders speak up for what they believe in. This is a great time to be a dairy breeder, but it’s also a time where the industry is going through great change. It’s at this time the industry needs more breeders to speak up and be heard. Let their voice be heard and make sure that the industry we all know and love will be just as great or even better for future generations. We are not sheep or lemmings dam it, we are dairy breeders and it’s time to take control and speak for ourselves!