During a ceremony held October 2, 2017, Select Sires Inc., dedicated their Westby, Wis., production facility as the Roger L. Ripley Production Facility in honor of retired Accelerated Genetics President and Chief Executive Officer, Roger L. Ripley. On the same day, the Roger Hanson Laboratory was also dedicated to honor Hanson who served Accelerated Genetics as vice president of production and laboratory manager for nearly 26 years and the industry for more than 40 years.
Roger Ripley served Accelerated Genetics cooperative as president and chief executive officer for more than 24 years (1984-2008). His innovative and visionary leadership elevated the cooperative to become a respected global force in the genetics industry.
After graduating from South Dakota State University with a bachelor’s of science in Dairy Science and a master’s of science in Advanced Animal Breeding, he focused on a career in the dairy genetics industry. Ripley joined Accelerated Genetics (Tri-State Breeders Cooperative) in 1970 and through the course of his 32-year tenure, served as regional marketing manager in Minnesota and Iowa, sire analyst, sire procurement manager, vice president of genetics and finally, president and chief executive officer starting in 1984.
Ripley was instrumental in the formation of Genetic Visions Inc. This wholly-owned subsidiary of Accelerated Genetics served as the research arm of the cooperative and opened the world to genetic marker research identifying genes influencing production traits, gestation length, animal health and viability in cattle. This research was at the forefront of the commercial adoption of genomic testing.
Ripley also saw the value of partnering with other cooperatives. This was made evident in the joint purchase of World Wide Sires Ltd., by Accelerated Genetics and Select Sires Inc. The synergistic approach to serving international customers allowed the sale of elite genetic product all over the world.
Ripley’s leadership skills and industry knowledge extend industry-wide. He has served as the NAAB chair; president and vice president of the World Dairy Expo board of directors; and served on the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching and the University of Wisconsin Department of Dairy Science advisory committee. In 1999, he was recognized as World Dairy Expo’s Industry Person of the Year. He is revered as a man of great commitment and vision and is a true leader in the dairy industry.
Select Sires President and CEO, David Thorbahn, stated, “Ripley is one of the foremost and successful leaders in the cattle breeding industry. He guided Accelerated Genetics to be a major player in the bovine A.I. industry while pioneering industry innovations. Moreover, he will be remembered by those he worked with as one who cared more for the people of the business than the success he achieved!”
For nearly 40 years, Roger Hanson’s continuous education and early adoption of scientific processes enhanced the quality of sire semen production and aided in global genetic advancement.
Hanson graduated from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1971. He furthered his education at the University of Minnesota, where in 1976, he received a master’s of science degree in Reproductive Physiology mentored by Dr. Ed Graham.
That same year, Hanson began his life-long A.I. career with Curtiss Breeding Service as quality control technician. He took on the role of laboratory manager for Carnation Breeding Service, later known as Landmark Genetics, from 1982 through 1990. Hanson stepped up to the role of vice president of production at Accelerated Genetics in 1990, overseeing management of the sire herd, as well as semen production and global distribution for the majority of his career. A leader both in the genetics industry as well as community, Hanson served on the NAAB Technical Committee from 1990 until 2017, most recently as chairman. He was an industry advisor for the Western Technical College Agribusiness Program and a member of the Vernon County Cooperative Association, representing Accelerated Genetics.
Hanson was instrumental in mentoring managers in each facet of the production facility with the goal to create high-quality bovine semen. In addition, he served as a role model to many lab, distribution and herd managers. He was the ultimate Accelerated Genetics ambassador and provided a warm welcome to facility visitors from many countries. Known for his diplomacy, dedication and sense of community, Hanson demonstrated the importance integrity plays in the genetics industry and the people it serves.
“Roger Hanson is a respected and selfless man who delayed his retirement to make sure the joining of forces between Accelerated Genetics lab staff and Select Sires Inc., lab staff was executed correctly and that the highest quality product continued,” said Thorbahn. He accepted the role of interim manager of Westby production facilities while a long-term manager could be found. His tenure of success, commitment and dedication has earned him our respect and admiration.”
Based in Plain City, Ohio, Select Sires Inc., is North America’s largest A.I. organization and is comprised of nine farmer-owned and -controlled cooperatives. As the industry leader, it provides highly fertile semen as well as excellence in service and programs to achieve its basic objective of supplying dairy and beef producers with North America’s best genetics at a reasonable price.