Podcasting a marketing tool For Nebraska bull stud
The Bull Pen, a podcast hosted by Les and Loren Vogler, was originally started to offer customers of Vogler Semen Service and Nebraska Bull Service a unique platform to discuss their bulls and businesses. When Ellen Degeneres made her now-infamous comments about adopting a plant-based diet, a panel of women joined Les Vogler on the podcast and the marketing tool became a place for discussions about the industry and gained steam in the form of new listeners.
Guests on the podcast that day included Amanda Hilbrands, a Simmental and SimAngus breeder from Minnesota; Gina Pospichal, a school counselor and cattle producer from Nebraska’s Sandhills; Amanda Radke, rancher from Mitchell, S.D.; Amy Cook, DVM, Ashland, Neb.; Angelica Metzger, an animal science student at Northwest Missouri State University; and Les’ wife, Susan.
Vogler said the group has varied backgrounds and have, since the podcast aired, entertained the idea of reconvening to discuss other issues in the industry from their points of view. Other episodes have covered various operations, regulations and the business of ranching.
As Vogler balances the time necessary to operate both the podcast and other businesses, he found that enlisting the help of Parkville Media was necessary. The company, based in Omaha, provides the studio, production, and distribution of the podcast, allowing Vogler more time in the combine or the like.
The feedback from customers has been positive and with a list of guests slated for upcoming appearances, Vogler said the no rules, casual conversation of the podcast appeals to listeners and guests.
“It’s kind of like sitting around the table at the coffeeshop just talking about people’s operations,” he said.
Casual conversation aside, he said it’s important to also be informative about the ins and outs of their business, the IVF services offered, and developments that may influence producers’ management decisions. The agility to address issues and topics immediately to the podcast audience makes sense in a business that is complex.
THEIR OWN BUSINESS
While the podcast is new, Vogler Semen Service began in 1983. At that time, Nebraska Bull Service was located in Nickerson, Neb., and was for sale. Vogler’s father, Lloyd, and a partner made an offer, but the business was ultimately taken off the market. Vogler said his dad was still committed to entering the business and sent Les to a number of operations to learn more so they could strike out on their own.
The opportunity to purchase Nebraska Bull Service, now in McCook, presented itself again in 2007. Vogler said the final papers to purchase the company were signed in February of 2008, a few hours before his dad passed away. Vogler said it was a longtime goal of his dad’s to own the business and it still gives him pause.
Nebraska Bull Service, a division of Vogler Semen Centre, in Ashland, can house over 100 bulls, collect, analyze, store, and ship semen, and has partnered with Boviteq to provide IVF.
IVF, Vogler said is more expensive than a conventional flush, but he said he’s finding it beneficial for use in younger heifers or older females who don’t flush well using conventional methods. It is possible to complete every two weeks, making it a fast process to bank embryos.
Vogler said, from where he’s located in some of the counties with the highest numbers of cattle in the country, producers are progressive and willing to try new technologies. Despite recent market woes and low prices, he said the number of bulls at the stud has been steady.
Within the past few weeks. He said, Ulta and Genex have made plans to send bulls that will be collected to send straws to Brazil and Argentina. Many of Vogler’s customers are purebred breeders or producers who are collecting a bull to use in synchronized breeding in their own herd. Knowing the sire, he said, adds value to feeder calves and allows producers access to superior genetics one straw at a time.
“For people keeping back their replacement heifers, they can use those good numbered, popular bulls and then raise their own heifers,” he said. “To me, there’s pluses all around.” ❖
— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at email@example.com or (970) 392-4410.