Stuart Rymph Technical Support Dairy Nutritionist Purina Animal Nutrition Mazomanie, Wisconsin

What education are you bringing with you to this position?
My most valuable education comes from growing up in the family of a veterinarian turned corn farmer, working as a dairy nutritionist for 11 years in New York state, providing dairy technical support in Wisconsin for 10 years and from marrying a very smart wife. I also have a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. in agronomy with minors in dairy nutrition and ag engineering from the University of Florida. This allowed me to tie together how forages grow and relate that to how they feed or how a cow uses them.

Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up on a farm in New York. Working as a nutritionist and agronomist since 1983, I have been helping dairy farmers in New York, Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa get the most out of their forage and grain programs. Working over this wide area, I got to see a lot of different ways to do things. Most important has been understanding why things worked even when they shouldn’t have. My education has tilted towards agronomy, but my work experience has always been dairy nutrition. Tying these two together helps one understand forage quality and how to manage it.

What territory will you cover?
Although I work out of my home office in Wisconsin, my base is our research farm, the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Missouri. I will be supporting our staff of consultants and technical support people nationwide.

What are your new responsibilities?
I serve as a liaison between the research team and the field staff, as well as research and marketing. My role in technical support is to help our people apply the ideas and technologies developed by our research team and others. Training and educating have always been a big part of what I do. Whether it is training a new consultant how to run a ration or troubleshooting herd issues, it isn’t enough to know what to do; you need to know why it works. It’s not just about problem solving, but helping to lead our customers forward.


What previous positions have you held?
I started out as a dairy nutritionist for Wayne Feeds, working with independent feed mills in New York, eventually leaving to work for two of those independent dealers. While getting my graduate degrees in Florida, I worked on a study that evaluated different manure application levels on different cropping systems and their effects on nutrient losses. Upon moving to Wisconsin, I worked as a consultant for a bit – working with the National Forage Testing Association. From 2006 to 2014, I worked as dairy nutrition technical support for Purina Animal Nutrition. Most recently, I worked as a dairy account manager for Chr. Hansen Inc.

Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
The group with the largest impact has been the farmers that I have had the good fortune to work with. Every farmer has their own way of doing things, and they aren’t bashful about telling you why! My family, for instilling a work ethic and the background to let me see connections between crops and animals. My wife, the scientist, who also can link academic to applied practices. Keene Ward at Ward and VanScoy Inc. in New York, who said, “No agronomist should be allowed to make a cropping recommendation to a dairyman without a dairy nutritionist looking over their shoulder.”

How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
It will be through education and communication. Starting with interacting with our consultants and tech support staff to identify current trends in forage production, feed analyses and herd management. Then supplying background information and interpretation before distributing that information through those same consultants and tech staff. I want to help our people bring something new to think about every time they visit a farm. “Think” is the operative word here – we need to be making well thought-out recommendations tailored to each farm, not making a change just because that is the “thing to do.”

Why did you choose this company?
Purina Animal Nutrition has all the tools! We have extensive research capabilities covering several species. Our research staff meets regularly, and each researcher presents a review of their current projects to update the others and also offer an opportunity for exchange of new ideas and some “thinking out of the box.”

What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
To help keep our group of consultants and tech support people the most respected nutritionists in the field. I want to help keep them on the leading edge – bringing a new idea or technology to the farm each time they visit and being able to help the farmer evaluate how those ideas may benefit their operation. PD