Cristián Vergara, Mur, DVM, MS Madison, Wisconsin Technical Service Consultant Genus ABS North AmericaWhat education are you bringing with you to this position?
I got my DVM degree at Universidad de Chile, the country where I worked approximately 10 years and where I started also with the technical service department of ABS.
After facing a number of transition issues with my customers and a visit with Ken Nordlund from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, I decided to continue my education in the U.S.
Please describe your agricultural background.
My grandfather was a farmer, but I grew up in a city. As soon as I finished high school, I moved to the agricultural side and my whole career has been developed in the dairy industry since then.
In 2010 I started a master's program at UW – Madison School of Veterinary Medicine with the Food Animal Production Medicine group specifically focused in transition cows. I was privileged then to work directly with and learn from Ken Nordlund, Nigel Cook, Sheila McGuirk, Dorte Dopfer and have Gary Oetzel as my mentor.
What are your new responsibilities?
I plan and execute the ABS technical services strategy in key regions of the U.S., interacting closely with the technical service team and key account managers to develop new ways to deliver reproductive value to our customers.
What territory will you cover?
I’m based in Madison, Wisconsin, so my main area of action is the Midwest. However, I’m not limited to that region especially because the global coverage of ABS gives me the opportunity to develop projects and consult overseas.
Specifically, I have been working with accounts in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, so far.
What previous positions have you held?
In Chile I worked with some research projects and as a technical assistant with DeLaval and University of Chile. I then worked as manager for a local beef breeding company and as an ABS technical service manager developing our services in Peru, Uruguay and Colombia. This is my first position in the U.S. after finishing my master’s degree.
Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
It’s hard to say. I have the best opinion of each one of my professors both in Chile and the U.S. I like to think that I have taken nice little pieces of each one. But having all of them was of extremely high importance.
Two people from the industry guided me to stop thinking as a veterinarian focused in individual cases and opened my mind to a herd approach that pursued a healthy but profitable herd. Those were Connor Jameson in Chile and Hernando Lopez, my boss and global director of ABS Technical Services.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
I’m convinced that the Food Animal Production Medicine group at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is really leading preventive medicine in dairy herds. And that approach is what the dairy industry requires at this moment.
I was exposed there to cow comfort and related lameness research, calf health and positive pressure ventilation and specifically to transition-related troubleshooting through clinical rotations.
Along with cooperating in the latest randomized trial for ketosis and hypocalcaemia developed in conjunction with Cornell University, it’s changing the way we diagnose, treat and prevent those two trigger diseases of a cascade of postpartum problems in high producing dairy cows. I’m willing to promote and share all those experiences with our customers.
Why did you choose this company?
I learned the A.I. technique with this company before I got my DVM, and immediately realized the distinctive approach of this company. Technical support is a must in ABS and it’s making the difference not only in U.S. but also globally.
I have had the opportunity to work with other companies and I’m really pleased to share the vision of this company: pioneering animal genetic improvement to help nourish the world.
What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
I want to achieve strategic, sustainable and profitable results with our customers based on consulting, data analysis and bilingual hands-on training.
I have seen a big opportunity to improve the health of fresh cows and to impact the results of our core product, the semen, through improved fertility in high-producing dairy cows.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see my family settled down in this new country, growing in a happy and safe environment. I see myself growing and developing in ABS in technical support. I hope to deal with new opportunities in reproduction and animal health as we move the dairy industry.
I would expect that our customers will request our services not only to get cows pregnant but also to assure consumers that the cows are producing the best and safest food available. PD