Robert H. Fourdraine, PhD Oregon, Wisconsin Vice President Products, Services & Development AgSource Cooperative Services

What education are you bringing with you to this position?

I received a masters degree in the Netherlands in agricultural engineering and soil science. I received my PhD in animal science from Texas A&M University.

Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up in the Netherlands and although I did not grow up on a farm, I was always interested in agriculture. I started at age 13 helping out on a crop farm and assisted other local farms that raised dairy and beef cattle, swine and sheep.

In 1988, I moved to the U.S. and became involved with the Texas dairy industry and learned how to develop programs for dairy producers, veterinarians and nutritionists to analyze herd performance using DHIA records.

What are your new responsibilities?
My responsibilities primarily focus on research and development of new products and services for AgSource members and dairy producers in general.


This includes gathering input from producers, field staff, and allied industry [professionals] and combining this information into the development of new decision making tools that will assist dairy producers in becoming more profitable.

Communicating with the University of Wisconsin research and extension staff and other allied industry [professionals] will be a key component as well.

What previous positions have you held?
After finishing my PhD, I became operations manager for Texas DHIA and developed new software programs and provided training and education programs to producers and allied industry using these software programs.

In 1996, I joined Holstein Association USA and worked with staff on developing new products geared towards commercial herds interested in animal identification and improving genetics. Some of the products developed were Redbook Plus and MultiMate.

In 2003, I became the COO for the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium and worked with the Wisconsin livestock industry implementing electronic ID into farm management and developed an information system to protect the livestock industry from a disease outbreak.

What excites you most about working in your new role?
There is an increasing need for dairy producers to have accurate and timely information to assist them in making management decisions.

In my new position at AgSource I believe I can be part of a team that believes in developing the next generation of products and services dairy producers of all sizes will be able to use and remain profitable.

How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
In the past five years there has been a revolution in terms of new technology for dairy producers. Milking robots, calf feeding stations, genomics, and the list goes on.

Dairy producers are adopting this technology at a rapid pace, however producers do not have the luxury to spend hours each day sifting through the enormous amounts of data being generated in order to make big picture decisions.

In addition, we have seen a revolution in the means by which we can deliver information to producers. I believe that we can leverage the best of each and provide producers with accurate and timely information they can use to make short-term and long-term decisions.

Why did you choose this company?
AgSource is a full-service organization and offers a complete line-up of products to producers and allied industry. I enjoy working directly with producers and developing new products that will make them successful. I believe AgSource provides all aspects of what it takes to be successful.

What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
AgSource is a leader in dairy information management and it is my goal to work with staff and members to develop the next generation of management tools.

Using new on-farm technologies coupled with using the internet as a method of obtaining and quickly delivering information, I hope to find new ways to provide services and products that will best serve the dairy industry and keep producers profitable. PD