March 9 2015 06:12 AM

GenElite and Holstein Plaza help bring buyers and sellers together in today's evolving dairy genetics trade.

I attended the 124th Wisconsin Holstein Association Convention on February 21 in Hudson, Wis. Before the annual business meeting, a panel discussion titled "Marketing Embryos in a Global Setting" took place, starring Steve Berland of GenElite and Hendrik Albada of Holstein Plaza. The moderator of the discussion was none other than Hoard's Dairyman Managing Editor Corey Geiger. As someone who is still acquiring knowledge about the increasingly multidimensional dairy industry, I didn't quite know what to expect from the following exchange of thoughts and ideas on how to market embryos internationally. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how enlightening and informative the discussion truly was.

Steve Berland and Hendrik AlbadaPhoto at right: Steve Berland of GenElite addresses the audience with Hendrik Albada of Holstein Plaza at right.

Albada emphasized the importance of having a strong domestic market while increasing international sales; Albada stated that 60 to 70 percent of their business is done stateside. Despite the fact that their domestic sales make up the bulk of their revenues, Holstein Plaza sells embryos to 26 countries.

Meanwhile, Berland spoke multiple times on focusing GenElite's efforts to be a heavy contender in the international embryo market by partnering with German, Japanese, and other international A.I. studs that market semen.

Both Albada and Berland had a lot to say about what trends were occurring, both here in the United States as well as abroad; milking speed and teat length are taking priority in countries like Germany, and polled embryos are becoming more and more popular in light of animal rights groups raising a stink over dehorning. They both elaborated on the rapid advancement of genomic testing. Berland stated that while genomic testing is still an imperfect science, it has come a long way and the process is designed with breeder ease in mind.

GenElite and Holstein Plaza, as well as their representatives on the panel that morning, have a few differences, as does every business. Their passion and objectives remain the same fundamentally, though they both strive to deliver the very best in dairy embryos because they both believe their customers deserve the best. Berland summed it up quite well when he quipped that GenElite's customers were what made his company elite. Either way, the two gentlemen and their knowledge and passion for innovation made for one fine discussion that blustery Saturday morning in Hudson.

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The author is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in agricultural marketing communications. She will serve as the 27th Hoard's Dairyman editorial intern this summer.