July 7, 2014 — Joining Bill Baker on today’s DairyLine Radio segment is Dean Warras, the president of Prince Agri Products, a leading provider of animal nutrition products based in Quincy, Illinois.
Listen to the entire segment here:
Here’s the test version:
BB: Dean, Prince has a 150 year history in the mineral nutrition business. Give us an overview of this business segment with the focus on the mineral products that you provide for the dairy cattle industry today.
DW: Bill, thanks for the opportunity, I appreciate it. Prince is a leader in mineral nutrition for dairy, not only dairy, but swine, beef cattle, poultry, as well as companion animals. Our largest product category is customized trace mineral pre mixes.
We reach our customers through all distribution channels including feed, further pre mix manufacture, swine, poultry integrators, as well as feeding ingredient distributors. Our
Dean Warras, President Prince Agri Products
supply chain is very complex. It includes an array of ships, barges, trucks, and trains originating from points all over the world to serve our customers.
Quality in our products and in our customer service is really the cornerstone of our brand. This is at the heart of our mineral nutrition business. We take this very seriously. Our quality program known as Dynamic Quality Assurance – that’s the brand – sets the industry standard for quality and trace and macro minerals for animal nutrition.
In Quincy, Illinois here, we run a state of the art analytical lab, which constantly tests for quality to ensure our customers are getting what we say they are getting. In fact, we run over a 100,000 assays per year and that number is growing as the area of quality is becoming paramount to our customers due to food safety reasons.
BB: In recent years Prince has focused on the growth of its nutritional specialty products. You have OmniGen-AF and the Animate for dairy cattle. What benefits are these products bringing to dairy producers?
DW: The nutritional specialty segment as we call it, this is where our dairy business resides, is clearly our fastest growing business and has been for about ten years which is really when we started to invest heavily in this part of the business. Dairy is indeed our calling card as far as nutritional specialty products go. We have a world class team of field technical specialists and researchers in the field, in our labs and on our research farm creating these advanced dairy solutions.
We have marketed OmniGen, which is our flagship, proprietary, patented product for over a decade now. OmniGen is a product that helps maintain the health of the cow’s immune system in the face of myriad year-round stressors that inevitably impact any and all dairy cows. We’re very proud of the body of work we have assembled over the last several years regarding the immune system of the dairy cow, and all of the benefits of OmniGen.
So the payback for the product OmniGen is clear. It has been demonstrated over and over again in numerous universities as well as the control trials.
And, a nice program we have called the Immunity Challenge. The Immunity Challenge program has most recently summarized results from 427 dairies throughout the U.S. which totals almost 300,000 cows has shown very consistently that OmniGen helps support the cow’s immune system, which in turn, helps reduce common metabolic disorders such as mastitis, metritis, and elevated somatic cell count just to name a few, which often lead to lower production, abortions and in some cases even dead cows.
On the other side of this business is a product called Animate, which is another very proprietary, patented product for dairy cows. We’ve marketed this ever since it was first developed. It’s a DCAD, D-C-A-D product, which stands for Dietary Cation Anion Difference. It’s a form of nutrition balancing for dry cows or pre-fresh cows just at the onset of lactation. It’s a very unique form of nutritional formulation.
But this is an application for dry cows that helps mitigate the risk of milk fever, which is a very common condition in dairy cows at the onset of lactation. If a dairy cow gets a condition known as hypocalcemia, which is low blood calcium, she has great difficulty having a smooth transition and then effectively cannot reach her maximum milk potential. So, a lot of metabolic disorders can also occur if the cow suffers a bumpy transition period which further compounds her problems throughout the year.
Animate is known as the most concentrated and most palatable source of a feed ready DCAD product on the market.
We offer customize service in the form of blood draws to test calcium levels as well as urine pH monitoring to ensure the acid and calcium levels are where they should be at the time of calving.
You know both of these hands-on tools offered by our Prince dairy technical specialists, these are our field reps, help the producers, vets and nutritionists always know they are getting it right at the most critical time during the cow’s year.
To support this business we have a brand new state of the art OmniGen production facility here in Quincy, Illinois to support the manufacturing of OmniGen for the global market. We just also brought online a brand new Animate plant in Quincy which triples our capacity to satisfy demand which is so rapidly growing for this product around the world.
BB: You had mentioned all the facets that make Prince run, and one Prince’s real strengths is its technical services team. Can you tell us how your dairy technical specialists work with dairy producers?
The value they bring? And also comment on the dairy technical manager’s role and their impact on dairy producers in the industry?
DW: Again, dairy is our calling card for our nutritional specialty products business. And we have assembled one of the strongest dairy technical support teams in the dairy industry. We’re very proud of our people and the nutritional solutions that they bring to the dairy. The dairy technical specialists that you mentioned, many of them have advanced degrees in dairy nutrition. These are the active problem solvers on the dairy. They work very closely with dairies everyday in addition to the vets and obviously the nutritionists themselves to assess issues that may be impacting production and ultimately profitability on the dairy.
These dairy technical specialists are extremely well-respected for their knowledge and problem solving abilities in the dairy area. Now, overlapping these dairy technical specialists, we have the dairy technical managers. These are a team of Ph.D, nutritionists. We have 12 of them now, and all with experience in formal research in dairy nutrition. These are industry leaders in the field of dairy nutrition. Our DTM’s (Dairy Technical Managers) work very closely with the dairy technical specialists to address the bigger picture technical problems and oversee the strategic developments in the industry that we can help address. Additionally, we challenge our dairy technical managers to always be looking around corners to see the future of dairy production and how our technologies might best address those upcoming challenges. And/or be on the lookout for other technologies that we might be interested in pursuing.
So, in summary our dairy technology managers, they work every day to further our technical understanding of our products. The modes of actions – the best applications for the products and how they can most optimally be used for the benefit of the dairy producer.
BB: Finally Dean, as we look to the future, can you give us an update on the accelerated growth plans that Prince is pursuing, especially with the products you mentioned, OmniGen and Animate?
DW: It’s an exciting area for us. It’s an area that I’m heavily personally involved in. Again, OmniGen and Animate are our two flagship dairy products and for good reason. Both of these products have been growing at double digit rates for several years and I see no reason why that can’t continue well into the future. The strong sales growth and repeat business from our customers, in both good and bad economic times, speak to the effectiveness of both of these products.
In recent years, we have taken OmniGen outside of North America in other top dairy markets around the world and are experiencing the same kind of excellent demand that we’ve experienced here in North America; markets such as Europe, Israel, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. In fact, we are going to be launching in China very soon as well. Once we are established in these markets, some of which I just mentioned, with OmniGen, we will complement the portfolio shortly thereafter for the dairy customers in these markets with Animate. So it’s OmniGen first then we will follow with Animate.
You know progressive dairy production is pretty similar in all parts of the world and the challenges are also very similar. We know that maintaining the healthiest immune system possible and establishing the right health conditions for the best possible transition period for the cow are not unique to North American dairies.
We are very excited and honored to now be bringing these effective solutions to leading dairy producers around the world. Producers in these geographies that have seen the science that work – they’re becoming real believers. We feel very privileged to share this science and technology around the world. We are committed to making the investments that we’ve been making in R&D to better understand the immune platform, the modes of action of these products and the best application for these products.
You know, at the end of the day all this science and hard work behind the scenes, one common objective with all this, how can we make dairy producers around the world more profitable. And that’s really what drives us every day.
BB: Dean, I appreciate the comments. It gives us a little more insight into what Prince Agri Products is all about, so thanks for the time today.
DW: My pleasure
BB: Dean Warras is president of Prince Agri Products, the leading provider in animal nutrition products based in Quincy, Illinois.