After attending Michigan State University and spending 10 years in the AI business, Clay Papoi is settling into his 5th year working as a part of the Barton Kiefer Dairy Consulting team. Clay works with farms all across the Great Lakes State, dealing directly with customers, herdsman, owners, and feeders. He even walks the occasional cow. All of this, from Clay’s perspective, is done to bring as much production and profit to a client’s bottom line as possible. “It’s almost like we have a fiduciary duty to these farmers,” Clay says.
Despite being his own boss, Clay admires Barton Kiefer Dairy Consulting for the environment they’ve created for its staff. “I work for myself, but I also have this support group of 15 or 16 other nutritionists that I can call,” Clay adds.
Wherever there are cows, there are consultants. As Barton Kiefer Dairy Consulting keeps adding clients all over the country, Clay has noticed the diversity in feeding methods the company is implementing, but also the way they are not always geographically-bound. “I’m at the top of the U.S. up north and we feed cows all the way down in Florida,” Clay says. “We’re able to incorporate some of the things they’re doing on farms in the South that we never thought would work in the North.”
As the dairy industry growth continues, Clay understands that each nutritionist must stay ahead of the curve. “It’s just about constantly learning,” Clay says. “You have to be one step ahead of not only your competition, but your clients, too. They’re depending on you to bring these new ideas every day.” While on the road almost five days a week, Clay brings a curiosity to each farm he visits. “My grandpa used to tell me: ‘The day you stop learning is the day you die,’” Clay adds.