During these unprecedented times, the Jersey Journal wanted to bring you a story of how one of our own is handling working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meet Sydney Endres, Lodi, Wis.
Sydney is the Southern Plains Area Representative for the USJersey organizations and a Type Traits Appraiser. Many of you may remember her as the 2013 National Jersey Queen. Sydney began her employment with the USJersey organizations in 2018. She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison.
We hope you enjoy following her through a week of work while staying safe while ‘sheltering at home.’
Monday, April 20, 2020
Started my morning off helping take blood samples for ET recips on our farm.
During quarantine I’ve been trying to help out on our farm where I can. Today we needed help hauling corn stalk bales around. Whenever I help out with fieldwork during the work week, I come up with a list of customers to call. Today my goal was to contact all my Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado producers that are going to be on the appraisal schedule coming up to update them on whether COVID-19 was going to affect if we were going to be there in June or not.
Each call I explained that we are trying to fit three months of scoring into almost a month and a half, so we are just asking for a little bit of flexibility on dates as we try to get everyone scored. Naturally these phone conversations always last longer as we have to talk about the weather in their area, milk prices, cattle prices, etc. Every day there are always a couple small side projects that take up a little computer time as well. Today, I helped a new customer register a bull calf, sign their kids up for an account and junior membership, and gave them info on how to test an animal for A2/A2 milk. Another customer had questions about catching their herd up on registrations after not registering for a couple generations and our Queen of Quality program, and another customer asked me if I knew of any cows nearby for sale that would make good nurse cows on their farm.
Rounded out my day with a run (I’ve found exercise has made me less restless as I am spending more time in front of the computer), and a conference call for the Cows on the Concourse committee (an event that kicks of June Dairy Month in WI, we bring cows to the Capitol Square in Madison.)
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
I’ve learned that if I am going to wake up and accomplish something at a computer, I need a little caffeine boost. During quarantine, I’ve started drinking coffee to start each morning. Today’s project started out working with our Appraisal Coordinator, Lori King, and Director of Field Services, Kristin Paul, on potential relocation of a state’s appraisal schedule. As different herds start or stop scoring, it can affect how we group together states for an appraisal schedule. We were going over where to put a state that I cover, so I served as a reference to help visualize relative locations of where my current and potential customers are.
Each week everyone in field staff is supposed to send in an expense report. I did mine today for last week. Typically we have a few more expenses to report when we are on the road and out in the field, but we also have a daily calendar where we write down our main activities for the day.
I also worked with a customer in Kansas that has heifers due in June for sale. I checked in with them to discuss what live animal markets are looking like and potential places that we could sell the animals.
I keep a list of potential customers to work with in my territory, and check in with them every now and again. Today I talked for a bit with a farm in Missouri. While some may never do business with us, I want to make sure that they know we are there as a resource for their farm if they ever do.
Finished out my day volunteering for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Each week since quarantine a friend and I have done one, four-hour shift a week making care packages.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Today started off finalizing an article I wrote on calf dehydration for the Jersey Journal.
At 11:00 I tuned in for Hoard’s Dairyman’s Dairy Livestream Webinar. These webinars cover how COVID-19 has affected the supply chain with field experts covering economics, retail, and processing. I find it helpful to stay up to date on the latest news in dairy so I can pass on information to customers or at least hold an educated conversation with them.
I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to pass around the farm teammates for a little fun morale boost. A couple times a day I also take a lap around our farm to get some steps in. I take my phone just in case a customer calls, but it’s nice to get up and move, and to see some cows.
Although I cover the Southern Plains, I still live in Wisconsin. I started off working for Jersey as a Field Services Intern, and helped out Kristin Paul with a lot of projects in WI. When I am at home and need a few extra things to do, I’ll still ask Kristin if she needs help with anything. Right now we have our Wisconsin State Sale coming up. Since it is all online, we use videos for all the consignments. Today I reached out to some herds that have consignments to schedule a time to go take videos.
Today I caught up in the Jersey Cattle group on Facebook. Every now and I again I’ll check in to see if there’s any activity from the states I cover. Sometimes it leads me to new customers, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s an especially easy way to find new people during quarantine.
Finished out my night compiling a list of the Young Farmer and Agriculturalists in Farm Bureau in my county to hopefully schedule a virtual social hour for everyone during quarantine.
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Today’s big project was finding missing IDs for a large Jersey herd in WI. After we score cows in a herd, any cows we add that aren’t in our system come back in a spreadsheet called “Appraisal ID Corrections.” This particular herd has around 300 cows that need ID corrections, so I’m helping them fill in the missing info and correct the problem to hopefully have better data the next time we score there.
I also helped a customer in Colorado register and transfer a bull to a new customer also in Colorado. I touched base with the new customer to introduce myself as his area rep, and ended up helping him transfer another cow he had purchased a few months before.
My three coworkers and I are scheduled to score cows in Texas in May, and today we got the tentative schedule to proof from our appraisal coordinator Lori. All looked good, so I started planning my trip down there. We are all driving because of uncertainty in flight schedules right now, meaning I’ll drive through a lot of my territory. Pending Stay at Home orders getting lifted, I’ll stop in and visit a few herds on the way down to Texas and the way home.
Friday, April 24, 2020
Today was filled with a lot of little projects:
- I helped a customer in Colorado register a few of their animals. They don’t register the whole herd, but whenever they sell an animal, we’ll register back a couple generations.
- My home farm, Jazzy Jerseys is putting a few cows in the Wisconsin State Sale. I ran a few reports to select a group for my dad to look over and pick out the final cows.
- I am writing a story on a customer in Oklahoma that recently started processing their milk. Their sales have been up since COVID-19, so today I interviewed them about the business and how the pandemic has affected them.
- I noticed one of my customers had some animals sitting in their transfer bin with errors. I gave them a call to figure out the issue and helped finalize the transfers.
- One of my Missouri customers isn’t on any programs and is on the schedule to score cows in May. I went over our different programs to see if one would be a good fit for their herd, and we decided to sign them up on REAP.
- I grabbed a backup of a customer’s Dairy Comp to double check that their JerseyLink was running properly. JerseyLink runs a loop with Dairy Comp to pull info to automatically register cows and put the info back into Dairy Comp. We’ve had issues before with their DairyComp, so I was cross-checking numbers to make sure all the right info was getting exchanged.
- All appraisers got their individual appraisal data this week, so I spent some time making sure my averages were in line with my coworkers and looking to see which traits I need to work on my standard deviations before heading out to score next month.
- Finished out my night with another shift at our local food bank.
Editor’s note: Syd also provided this video of her early morning entertainment each day at the home farm.
Quarantine time isn’t that different from the office work I’ll do when I’m home. The main change is that I went from being on the road about 60% of the time, to 0%. While I miss being on the road working face to face with customers, it has been a good chance to catch up on projects that have been on the to-do list for a while. A lot of extra organization has taken place, and when we start traveling again in May, it will be nice to have a clean slate of computer projects!
Sydney can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 614.313.5818.