Over the years, I have often been amazed at the rumors that go around the dairy industry. Sometimes these are just a result of a bad game of “gossip” where one person passes a story on to another and each time parts are added or changed. Other times there seems to be actual intent to spread fraudulent rumors for financial gain. Recently some of these have come to my attention and provided a few chuckles over the holiday season. For example did you hear this juicy tidbit “The Bullvine is secretly funded by Select Sires”?
The part that made me take notice, as I traced back to the source, was that these particular rumors are coming from semen salesmen! Of course, they vow that they are just repeating what they have been told by people higher up in their company. Is this how they are trying to contradict what they perceive as bad publicity that is out there? These somewhat unsuspecting sales representatives have passed on what they are told, trying to get breeders to believe that what they are saying is based on fact.
Well the fact is, as we have stated many times, the Bullvine is currently funded 100% from our own pocket books. We have not accepted any payments from any A.I. or other companies, in either advertisement or any other form. The comments we make and subjects that we write about are inspired by actual conversations we have had with dairy breeders or subjects that have caught our interest. NOTHING ELSE.
While this rumor about the Bullvine gives me a good chuckle, it does not really catch me by surprise. For years the grapevine has been a marketing tool that many companies have used. They pass information, often incorrect or not 100% accurate, to their frontline staff in order to sway public perception (Read more – Fight the Power). The problem is in the 21st Century, these are old school public relation tactics that, instead of demonstrating how progressive a company is, highlight the fact that they are still stuck in the past and not ready or willing to connect to today’s breeders.
Instead of using these out of date tactics, these companies should be engaging breeders in the public forum that is social media (Read more – How Social Media Is Changing the Holstein World). I found it very funny that while these companies think they are taking a beating on social media platforms like Facebook, they choose to say nothing there. Instead they try to use their out of date methods to combat the publicity. Maybe they are afraid of what they cannot control? (Read more – Got the Horns to Mess with the Bullvine?)
They have even gone as far as calling us here at the Bullvine and asking for “private” conversations, where we can clear things up. The one thing we have said since we started is that we believe what the industry needs is transparency and accountability. That is why we have been 100% transparent in our actions, and why we will NOT have “private” back room conversations brokering deals or whatever with ANYONE. We believe in our values and will hold true to them.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
We all know many salesmen whom we like and respect from many different companies. Obviously one important part of their job is that of Public Relations. For many companies these are the only frontline staff that will interact on-farm with breeders. How they represent their organization can have a huge impact on the success of that organization within that breeder’s herd. While I have written articles in the past about the need for semen salesman (Read more – Are There Too Many Semen Salesmen Coming in The Lane?), I sincerely believe that they provide a great service to the breeders they work with. The ones that are most respected build trust, offer unbiased advice, and leave the job of disseminating false rumors to those of lesser credibility. So, the next time you hear a rumor that seems to be too much PR bull and not enough fact, think twice and ask your source, “Where is this coming from?”