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Editor's note: We invited repre-sentatives from leading organizations that serve the North American dairy producers to provide agri-marketers with an update on their operations and activities.

by Mike Layfield, Sr. Mktg Mgr, Dairy Anti-Infectives, U.S. Cattle Business, New York, NY

Pfizer Animal Health offers a full portfolio of products to improve the health, wellness and productivity of dairy cattle. This includes a complete line of industry-leading biologicals, reproductive aids, mastitis
preventives and treatments, as well as outstanding, innovative anti-infectives.

To give you a sense of scope, Pfizer has launched some 10 products for use in dairy cattle in the past three years.

These products are packaged within the parameters of our comprehensive Dairy Wellness Plan. Through this tenet, Pfizer provides consultation and education to help veterinarians and producers ensure overall animal health, economic health of the dairy, appropriate use of pharmaceuticals and ultimately, ensure a safe food supply.

Pfizer products reach producers via a well-established and reliable network involving animal health distributors, dealers and local veterinarians.

One of the most significant changes in the last three years has been the continued consolidation and growth in size of U.S. dairy herds. Management complexities associated with these larger businesses also have increased, and dairy managers and owners have had to develop a wider range of management skills.

As a result, our role with veterinarians and producers has evolved from a traditional transactional sales relationship to one driven more by consultancy and partnership. We have added milk-quality specialists nationwide who help our customers address milk quality issues on their operations, in an effort to produce a high quality product.

New specialists also are on staff to aid producers and veterinarians in their efforts to monitor fresh cow and reproductive performance, identify opportunities for improvement and facilitate change in dairy management. This new team partners with dairy personnel, veterinarians and others associated with implementation of on-farm programs (for example: Artificial Insemination (AI) technicians and nutritionists) to help drive customer results.

Furthermore, as we bring new technologies, such as Orbeseal and Excede, to the market, we are providing training and ongoing support to help larger dairies integrate these products into their systems.

Another trend, resulting from the consolidation and increased herd size, is the growing need for a readily available, willing and educated workforce. Many dairies rely on Hispanic labor. Pfizer Animal Health's "Hispanic Herdsman Education" programs deliver health management and overall dairy husbandry information in Spanish to Hispanic workers through sessions at individual dairies.

In addition to the outreach our field staff provides to veterinarians, dairy owners and market influencers all along the food chain, Pfizer employs an integrated and comprehensive communications program to help us stay connected with our target audiences. These communication efforts, in general, help us extend the reach of our field sales team, technical veterinarians and other specialists who can't personally touch every farm but who can help educate and influence the management decisions of producers beyond their reach.

by Joel Mergler, VP Mktg & Training, Plain City, OH

Select Sires' core product is frozen bovine semen from progeny tested sires. Select Sires also provides related services such as artificial insemination, estrus detection, reproductive consultation and troubleshooting and a genetic mating service.

In addition to our core genetic product, Select Sires sells a line of herd-management products including teat dips, calf-care products, feed additives and reproductive management products.

Select Sires sells most of its products in the U.S. through sales representatives and AI technicians employed by our ten regional member cooperatives.

In Canada, Select Sires markets through commissioned sales representatives and AI technicians who are employees of Select Sires Canada, Inc., a wholly-owned company of Select Sires.

The trend to larger herds has created reproductive challenges and a tendency by producers to view genetics as a commodity. Select Sires has responded to this challenge by becoming a source for reproductive services, training programs and consultation.

The program is called Select Reproductive Solutions. By creating systems and tools that help to get cows pregnant and helping to solve operational problems on dairies, we can fight this downward migration toward commoditization of genetics.

Genetics by its very nature as a permanent input into the operation is a strategic investment, not a commodity.

Select Sires participates in both national trade shows such as World Dairy Expo, World Ag Expo, Professional Dairy Heifers Growers Association, and breed conventions as well as numerous regional trade shows.

Select Sires also advertises in national and regional dairy trade publications and national and regional breed publications. E-newsletters and the Select Sires Web site are becoming increasingly valuable tools to communicate with our customers.

Our most important method of communicating our message to the market is through the highly trained, professional Select Sires sales force. The Select Sires federation is investing in training and communication tools to improve their ability to reach and serve the market and to tell the Select Sires story.

by Bob Armstrong, N.A. Product & Mktg Mgr, Omaha, NE

Harvesting is the most time-sensitive operation on a farm, so we want to make sure that when the operator shuts down for the day that it was by his choice, not because of a failed piece of machinery.

CLAAS offers a full spectrum of award winning products including disc mowers, tedders and rakes as well as the world renowned Jaguar self-propelled forage harvester, round balers and large square balers to provide producers optimum performance in the field.

Over the last three years dairies have increased in size and require more material to be harvested in a shorter amount of time. CLAAS has listened and responded to what dairymen have been saying. Producers want to mow their hay in the morning and harvest for silage in the afternoon. CLAAS has recognized the "Hay in a Day" concept by offering a wider range of Disco non conditioner mowers from 8'to 27'. In addition, CLAAS offers Disco mower conditioners from 9'10" to 45' and Volto tedders from 17' to 43'.

Dairies have also requested less ash (foreign soil) content in their forage. The Volto tedder tines are of equal length which means 25% less ash in the crop compared to tedders that have different tine lengths dragging in the ground. We have also increased the horsepower and efficiency of our Jaguar Green Eye forage harvester and added an air compressor and inoculants system as standard equipment. CLAAS also offers a wider range of Liner rotary rakes to meet new demands.

However, CLAAS is not focused solely on large dairies. We have seen a growing movement to baled silage. Many producers are replacing their pull-type forage harvester with the Rollant 255 Uniwrap and using a Jaguar to harvest their corn silage.

The Rollant 255 Uniwrap not only makes a round bale utilizing a chopping system but also wraps the bales in plastic film to produce higher quality feed, longer length of cut for better rumen digestion and saves on time and additional equipment verses separate baling and wrapping. In fact, the Rollant 255 Uniwrap was the winner of the baled silage category at the 2005 World Dairy Expo.

We realize that the first machine we sell into an area will make the second, third and fourth sales for us. Word of mouth among satisfied customers is extremely important in this type of marketplace. We strive for CLAAS dealers to be the most professional in the business offering comprehensive parts, service and support while at the same time, being well capitalized.

To execute this philosophy, we select dealers who will support our products and key markets in a manner reflective of the CLAAS family. Our slogan "Your Harvesting Specialist" doesn't stop at the manufacturer, it is carried throughout each and every one of our

Utilizing a niche marketing approach, we are able to reach the right individuals in their buying cycle and lead them to their CLAAS dealer. We maintain a customer database specific to producers in the hay and forage industry. We employ tools like print advertising, exhibits at major farm shows, CLAAS club membership, customer trips to our plant in northern Germany, product demonstrations, new product releases, geographically specific promotions, and dealer co-op funds to reach current and prospective customers.

by Rob Kolb, VP Marketing, Naperville, IL

WestfaliaSurge, a worldwide leader in milking equipment technology, is dedicated to saving dairy producers time, labor and money through increased efficiency, management assistance information and leading edge technology. We strive to manufacture and market a full range of milking equipment, hygiene products, and supplies for dairy producers of all sizes and management styles.

We have proudly introduced innovations such as:
• The WestfaliaSurge AutoRotor Milking Parlor — The world's first highly successful rotary parlor.
• The SwingOver Milking Parlor System — Allowing producers to economically and efficiently transition from stanchion barns to parlors.
• The PediCuRx Foot Care Management System — The first complete system for professional foot care.
• The Metatron 21 Family — The ultimate milk metering and parlor management system.
• DairyPlan C21 Herd Management Software —The industry's most comprehensive dairy farm management tool.
• State-of-the-Art Udder Care Products — A complete line of unique dairy hygiene products to reduce mastitis and improve milk quality on any dairy operation.

Over 200 WestfaliaSurge Dealers work directly with our dairy producers on every detail of their milking operation, from designing and installing a new facility, to regular scheduled service and aftermarket route delivery of hygiene and supply products. Our corporate sales managers and product managers work closely with dealers to serve the needs of our customer base and provide additional support.

The trend toward larger operations continues to accelerate, with smaller producers selling their herds or growing to improve efficiency. WestfaliaSurge has responded to these trends by designing the most efficient commercial dairy systems, to increase cow throughput, maximize production per cow and
reduce labor costs. However, we have also responded to the needs of the smaller dairy producer who needs to improve efficiency at a superior cost-benefit ratio.

Another change is the significant increase in Hispanic workers on our increasingly commercial dairies. WestfaliaSurge has responded by producing more training materials in Spanish to help educate workers. We are also proud to be a charter sponsor of Manejo Lechero, created by Dairy Herd Management magazine to reach, educate and motivate Hispanic dairy employees.

Dairy producers are continuing to look for better ways to obtain information and manage their operations, so WestfaliaSurge is developing new ID systems that fit the needs of all levels of dairy production. ID systems are integrated into automated systems such as sort gates to help identify and isolate potential health problems and perform other herd health management tasks. Sophisticated milk metering equipment instantly conveys information to our management software that allows the producer to have real time data on every animal — a must on many of today's top performing operations.

At WestfaliaSurge, we believe in integrating marketing communication tools so that each one works individually, as well as cumulatively, to maximize our brand promise.

We are major exhibitors at World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI, and the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA, in addition to many other regional trade shows. We also advertise in the major dairy farm magazines, and provide our dealers with marketing tools to advertise on a local level. In the future, the Internet will also continue to play an increasing role in providing information and connecting WestfaliaSurge with our dealers and customers.

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