Not sure what opportunities are available for producers in the Plains? Join Garrett Stanfield, who grew up on a small seed stock Simmental operation in southern Ohio, to learn more about what Trans Ova has to offer. He graduated from The Ohio State University in 2019 with a degree in Animal Sciences. He joined the Trans Ova team in March of 2022 as our Regional Business Manager for the Plains.
What does your job as a regional business manager entail?
I think as with the livestock industry, and really agriculture as a whole, there’s really no such thing as a normal day. Every day I’m working on something different. Sentence to transition into bullets.
- Pursuing new client list
- Developing a map of seed stock breeders within a state to determine where we might plant a new satellite center
- Working with breeders in my area on their goals and helping them enhance the profitability of their herds
- Visiting farms and ranches across the region that I serve
- Attending livestock shows, trade shows and sales within the region
- Meeting with potential new clients going to my satellite centers and PWPs across the area
- Networking with TOG team members across the country
Can you highlight some of the satellites in the plains?
Even though I’m the Plains Regional Business Manager, I really focus on four core states within that region: Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska. Within the first year of my employment with Trans Ova, a lot of the focus has been put in the Colorado and Wyoming area – just as areas that we’ve identified as great opportunities for growth within the beef and dairy industry as a whole. The two that I would highlight here would be Constructive Cattle Services in LaSalle, Colorado and M Lazy Heart in Torrington, Wyoming.
Constructive Cattle Services is owned and managed by Mike Harvey. Mike came to the continental US from Hawaii quite a few years ago and has continued to develop great relationships with a lot of the clients he serves. He also has relationships with several of the cattlemen here in the state that aren’t necessarily with Trans Ova today, but certainly could be in the future. Unique to some of our other satellite centers here in this area, Mike maintains the opportunity for clients to have some sort of donor housing there at his operation. Historically he serviced strictly beef donors, but as we’ve continued to grow and expand here in the area, he’s added the opportunity for dairies to house young dairy donors as well.
The other satellite that I would highlight is M Lazy Heart in Torrington, Wyoming. For those that have been to the Torrington area, they have had the opportunity to see that seed stock breeders and club calf producers alike have really found that Torrington area as an area to grow and expand their herds. M Lazy Heart is a newer satellite to us, but they’re one that continues to enhance the opportunities for producers in the panhandle of Nebraska and eastern Wyoming to bring in donor cattle for Trans Ova to serve with the services that we offer across the board.
How has the introduction of new reproduction opportunities impacted the Plains region?
The Plains region of the United States has long been recognized as a breadbasket of sorts for leading the United States in cattle genetics globally. Like Trans Ova Genetics, it’s my belief that the cattlemen in this region are really at the forefront of their breeds and the cattle industry as a whole. Our industry leading services and products allow these producers to expedite the genetic success through ARTs (Advanced Reproductive Technologies) and our toolbox at Trans Ova. Many of the most progressive breeders in the area, whether they’re beef or dairy producers, allowed us to become part of their genetic gains in their herd, and really let us into their operation to become an intricate part of what they do year to year. I believe the success of our services can continue to enhance and bring in new clientele within this area too.
Where do you see the biggest areas of growth in your region?
As much of the Plains region continues to be affected by drought, producers will be looking for a way to create a more efficient and viable cow herd. We can be part of that solution. I believe our biggest growth in the Plains will come from the dairy industry – in both the OPU side of our business, as well as terminal beef embryos. Shifts in the dairy industry and new infrastructure across the US have led several dairymen from other parts of the country to find eastern Colorado and western Kansas as a new home for their dairies. With that, we will continue to assist these herds in growth as they have that opportunity to expand.
In other locations across the country, they are more limited in space. We can work through that by providing OPU services to these clients with their elite females, and placing those embryos back in their cow herd to create elite replacement females that allow them to continue to be at the forefront of the dairy industry. I live in Windsor, Colorado right now, and this area is seeing a lot of growth inwards from the cities that surround it, whether that be Fort Collins or Denver. There are still several dairies that call this area home, but they are obviously a lot more limited in what they can do capacity wise. So, we might look for different opportunities for them.
We still want to be at the leading edge of creating those replacement females to go back into those cow herds. But they are obviously limited in their growth. So, whether that be a trans ova derived terminal beef embryo or whether we can bring in a terminal beef embryo from one of our industry partners we could provide those dairies new sources of revenue and income streams that they otherwise would not have had. And I think we can continue to present new opportunities to these dairies where they are not just looking at these beef calves that they are producing as a secondary option and really something that is just there. So, they can gain a source of milk, but an income option that creates viability for that cow herd.
What excites you the most about the next one to five years at Trans Ova?
On a personal note, I think I have really grown a lot in the first year that I have been with Trans Ova and learned some new things. Coming into this role, the experience I had in this industry was very beef oriented – and maybe more so confined to just the livestock show industry. Moving to a different part of the country and seeing how businesses ran here in the Plains versus how it was in southern Ohio, I’ve really had my eyes opened and have been able to learn different parts of the industry that truly excite me about the path that the livestock on to the future. But I think what I’m most excited about is what we’ve had the opportunity to see the past year and we’ll continue to see this coming year, is the expansion of our new labs in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Twin Falls, Idaho.
These locations really provide us great potential at Trans Ova to enhance and grow existing relationships and develop new ones that we haven’t had the opportunity to tap into yet. I’m truly excited to be part of the team moving forward. I know the advances we’ll make in the coming year alone will help keep us at the forefront of this industry over the next five years. There will be opportunities for us that might be unfathomable today. I’m excited to see the projects that our research and development team will embark upon to allow TOG to remain the industry leader of livestock reproduction and genetics industry. In the last year alone, our growth and expansion has been wonderful, but I look forward to seeing the continued expansion of our company, not only domestically but globally as we continue to advance into the future.
Policy plays an important role in agriculture. How do you see current policy impacting your region?
Colorado’s policy has been very interesting as it relates to the agriculture industry and is certainly very different than back home in Ohio. These are things that in Ohio we never really would’ve thought about growing up. Now, I’m in an area of the country where these farmers, ranchers and dairymen are thinking about them every day. But as far as Colorado goes, you’d seen an influx within this state of dairies from California moving in, and dairies that are already in this area might be making that shift over to Western Kansas – as the policy is just a little bit more lenient on things such as water use and whatever else it might be. From carbon credits or other things moving forward, that area allows those dairies to be more profitable and sustainable.
Trans Ova is traditionally a service-based company. However, we’ve started moving into embryo products as well. From an embryo product standpoint, what opportunities are there for people in your region?
At Trans Ova, we’ve really aligned ourselves with some of the industry leaders, and I’m starting to see dairies form a very deep interest in these embryo products that we’re offering. One that I would probably highlight here is the Creekstone embryo product that’s being produced in Kansas.
I think what’s really set them ahead from other opportunities outside of our business is their opportunity for a buyback into Creekstone Farm’s premium beef program. Also, where they’re situated in southeastern Kansas with their company might be leading to their success. Here in Colorado and Kansas we expect to see in the future, especially on the buyback into those calves, being able to offer that higher premium just due to the calf location alone. Sure, there’s going to be opportunities with Creekstone for producers in other parts of the country, but I think that these producers in western Kansas and eastern Colorado are really primed to see a great benefit from that product moving forward.
Even though you’re based in the plains region, you’ve helped with expansion in the east as well. Can you tell us about new sites coming online in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of our team members in the East, which has really made me feel still connected to home in a way. Seeing how the teams work in different aspects of our company, coast to coast, was a unique opportunity for me. Throughout the past few months, two of the satellites I’ve helped plant have been in southern Tennessee at Shady Brook Angus Farms, as well as at Maple Crest Farms and Hillsborough, Ohio. We are really looking forward to those satellites as we continue to move our business forward. As we talked about earlier, the Southeast lab should come online later this summer, and that Shady Brook satellite in Loretto, Tennessee can be an intricate part of that – especially as we talk about growing and expanding those southeastern states and Trans Ova’s reach within them.
The first run at Maple Crest there in Hillsborough, Ohio is scheduled for May 2nd, and we really look forward to growing that southwestern Ohio base of clients. We’ve had a lot of opportunities in that tri-state area as we talked about in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana as far as business goes today. But southwestern Ohio I think really presents a unique opportunity that TOG hasn’t necessarily had the opportunity to tap into yet and bring in cattle from northern Kentucky, southwestern Ohio and southeastern Indiana. This is an area that I think continues to be at the forefront of the industry as we talk about seed stock operations, and maybe more into my world of things – the show industry, that have producers want to be progressive and adopt these strategies within their cow herds. We’re about three weeks out of that satellite coming online with clients, but I know we’re certainly excited about the opportunities that are presented there and look forward to continuing to develop that area of the country as well.
How has your perception of Trans Ova changed since you started working here?
Growing up in the industry that I did, and having the opportunities that I was exposed to, I always had a positive perception of Trans Ova. My involvement in the American Junior Simmental Association and Trans Ova’s continued support of that organization brought Trans Ova to the forefront of my mind, and truly at the forefront of the industry. So, I’d say that my perception particularly was extremely positive. Moving forward, it’s remained that same perception and really continued to grow in my mind.
Starting at TOG, I wasn’t attuned to all the opportunities that our company had to offer, but being a part of the company for the past year allowed me to see those different opportunities that we bring to cattlemen and livestock producers. I look forward to learning more about what our company does; I think that’s the most interesting thing about my time with Trans Ova so far is while I’ve been here this year, I know that I’m nowhere close to some of our employees in terms of what they know and what they’ve learned. And I look forward to each day learning something new and being a part of that and being a part of our mission.
What advice would you give a college student who wants to enter our industry?
As I went through my college experience as an animal science major, one question that I was often asked was, “So you want to be a veterinarian?” My answer to that was never a yes because I knew what my passion was: the genetics and reproduction industry. I think Trans Ova has allowed me to find that. And even beyond that, we have so many opportunities today that allow people that have grown up in the livestock industry, agriculture and beyond to find their niche and to find their passion and grow with Trans Ova. As we enter this season where people are preparing to graduate and look for positions in the workforce: explore Trans Ova Genetics as an opportunity to be your employer. It’s a decision that I made with enthusiasm and a decision that I would make again.
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