Anne Proctor Dairy Technical Specialist Agri-Nutrition Consulting Junction City, Wisconsin
What education are you bringing with you to this position?
I have a Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Dairy Science; I worked with Dr. David Combs on feed intake regulation in lactating cows on high forage diets. My master’s degree is in animal science from the University of Delaware, where I worked with Dr. Limin Kung studying silage additives. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Vermont and have a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences.
Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up on a farm in northern Vermont. My family raised veal, which gave me a solid background in the feeding and management of calves. My exposure to dairy cows at that time came from spending time with friends on their farms. Like many farm kids, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and it wasn’t until I got to college that I was introduced to the many other career opportunities out there for people who want to work with animals. I was fortunate to have some great advisers who guided me toward nutrition as a career.
What territory will you cover?
One of the great things about this position is that there are no specific territories. Most of my current customers are in central Wisconsin within a couple hours of where I live. That made sense in my previous role because the feed all came from one cooperative’s mills. In my new role, customers can buy feed at whatever mill they choose to work with. That opens the door for me to work with farmers in other areas.
What are your new responsibilities?
Basically, my responsibility is to help farmers be more successful. I am hired to provide a nutrition program, but my recommendations go far beyond just nutrition. I focus on the cow and finding ways to give her a comfortable environment, a consistent routine, high-quality feed and diets that meet her nutritional needs. Every farmer has different goals and different challenges, and it is my job to find solutions that work within the constraints that exist. At this company, I will work with my own customers as well as be a member of the technical support team.
What previous positions have you held?
I worked for Purina Mills as a Ph.D. consultant. In that role, I was another set of eyes brought to a farm to identify a problem or find solutions to an existing challenge. I played a support role for the nutritionist that was working directly with the farm. After taking some time off when my kids were young, I joined the team at Customer One Cooperative (now part of Heartland Cooperative) in a technical support role and soon became the primary nutritionist for many of our customers.
Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
While there are many individuals who have impacted my career, I want to recognize the farmers who have allowed me to be a part of their teams. They have challenged me to find solutions to difficult problems, given me constraints that make a simple solution impossible to implement and tried some things that I believed would work even when it required a change in facilities or routine. They did not give up when the first solution didn’t work and we needed to try plan B, C or sometimes even D. It is an honor to work with such dedicated professionals.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
My team approach to consulting is what will make me an asset to producers I work with. I believe strongly in getting to know the many people who operate the farm, from the owners and managers to employees who are handling the day-to-day operations. Hearing many perspectives helps me define the problem, and understanding how all of the pieces fit helps me find solutions that can be implemented. My team also includes other professionals who work with the farm. They often see a problem from a different set of experiences, and together we can find effective solutions.
Why did you choose this company?
There were many reasons why I chose to work with ANC. Their team approach to nutrition consulting fits with my team approach on the farm. We share ideas and challenge each other to think critically and look at a problem from several perspectives. Being a smaller company, Agri-Nutrition Consulting can make decisions quickly in response to changes in the marketplace, which helps me better serve my customers.
What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
My goals are to provide rations and advice to keep cows healthy and productive, and to be part of the team on the farm that helps keep farms profitable. PD