Being a farmer is a challenging job. You need to know a lot about every detail involved in farming: health, feed, housing, management and economics. There’s a lot to take care of, so trustworthy advice is a necessity. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? We have 5 checkpoints to know if you have a good advisor.
1. They genuinely care about you and the cows
If you have the feeling that someone is just trying to sell you something, trust your gut. Of course vets make a living by offering their services and medicine and feed advisors need to sell feed. But do they do something more for you and do you have the feeling they’re genuinely trying to help you and your animals?
2. They understand cows
No matter how much we learn about taking care of cows, the best advisor on what she needs will always be the cow herself. Therefore the best advisors are able to read the cow signals, like waiting cows, curved backs and tap dancing. They can also figure out what she’s trying to tell with these signals.
3. They understand more than just their own area of expertise
Most feed advisors can tell you all about feed quality and that is very important. But only the best can also tell you how management and housing influence feed intake. The same goes for vets of course. Does your barn designer look at cow flow and labour efficiency as well, or are they mostly looking at the best construction?
4. They listen to you
Being a great advisor is not just about giving a lot of advice. It’s about giving the right advice. To know what is right for you, they have to listen to you. You should feel encouraged to talk about your company and about the challenges you face. A good advisor will also ask you what you think of their ideas. Do you feel good about the proposed solution? Do you have the means to execute it?
5. They make things practical and simple
Sometimes someone can be an expert in their field, but you just don’t understand what they’re talking about. It also happens that the advice sounds good in theory, but you have the feeling this person had never actually tried it on a real farm before. Good advisors can reduce academic talk to real, practical solutions that you can start on today.
CowSignals aims to improve welfare among dairy cattle and to increase working pleasure and income of farmers. We do this by offering practical trainings to not only dairy farmers, but also to vets, feed advisors, barn designers, inseminators and hoof trimmers. We help them to become better advisors and trainers with our Certified CowSignals master course. Most Certified CowSignals master courses
are held in the Netherlands, but this year one is offered in the US:
Aim: 50% focus on CowSignals: understanding cows and 50% focus on PeopleSignals: improving your advisor and trainer skills.