Kevin Ratka Dairy Technical Sales Specialist Vita Plus Cold Springs, Minnesota
What are your new responsibilities?
My duties include working with and providing technical expertise to dairy herds in the region. I will use my education and veterinary background to assist the other members of our western region team as they troubleshoot and consult with the farms they service. I will also spend time working with team members on education, training and development.
What territory will you cover?
I am based in central Minnesota and will cover a territory that includes Minnesota, northwest Iowa and eastern South Dakota.
Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up on a small dairy farm in central Minnesota where I was very involved with the dairy. During high school, I was active in the FFA at the local, regional and state levels. During college, I was active in the Gopher Dairy Club and the Production Animal Medicine Club. I was also a member of the University of Minnesota collegiate dairy judging team.
What education are you bringing with you to this position?
I earned both my bachelor’s and doctor of veterinary medicine degrees from the University of Minnesota. I completed my DVM with an emphasis in large animal medicine.
What previous positions have you held?
I worked as an associate veterinarian at Grassland Veterinary Service in Granton, Wisconsin, and at Watkins Veterinary Clinic in Watkins, Minnesota. Most recently, I worked as a veterinarian and owner at Freeport Veterinary Service in Freeport, Minnesota.
Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
My parents had a big impact on my choice to work in the dairy industry. I decided at a very young age that I wanted to be a veterinarian, and my parents were always very supportive and encouraged me to reach that goal. They also helped to instill in me a sense of responsibility, a strong work ethic and the importance of attention to detail. Early in my veterinary career, Dr. Mike Strobush and Dr. Al Harmening had a strong influence on my development as a dairy veterinarian.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
I will be able to use my experience and knowledge as a veterinarian, along with our team’s focus on sound nutrition programs, to provide the technical service required to help dairy producers achieve their goals.
Why did you choose this company?
I was drawn to Vita Plus because of its commitment to customer service and doing what is right for the customer. Providing service in an individualized, personal approach is important to me.
What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
My goal is to be a key member of our team, providing valuable information and service to dairy producers to help them improve the profitability and overall success of their farms. I want to develop strong relationships where we are key contributors to the dairy’s management team. PD