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Derek Johnson

Dairy Consultant



Derek Johnson did not always see himself as a dairy consultant. After studying to become a teacher at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Derek came out of school looking for a sales job. “I ended up getting a job with Agri-King because it was advertised as a sales job,” Derek says. “I worked there for about three years and learned that I kind of had a knack for the sales thing.” 

After Agri-King, Derek moved on to working for a co-op, specializing in nutrition and building rapports with clients. But when Evan Barton called, Derek jumped at the idea of learning about nutrition from an actual dairyman. “Evan taught me how to be more consistent and just keep getting better and better,” Derek says. “The real life experience of Evan owning a farm, he works with a lot of cows, and him and Nathan (Kiefer) have got the experience of seeing what has worked and what has not worked over the last 10 to 20 years.” 

Derek cites the ration parameters and analysis long-developed by Evan and Nathan as a driving force for why he loves working for Barton Kiefer Dairy Consultants. “They’re not afraid to learn something new and change the game-plan if it needs tweaked,” Derek adds. “They’re not afraid to admit they were wrong, and it is nice to have a real tried and true model that I can bring to any farm.” 

Derek has been with Barton Kiefer Dairy Consultants for nearly three years now, covering the state of Wisconsin and tending to dozens of dairy farms across the map. He is one of the few consultants only covering a single state for Barton Kiefer, but it is not a disadvantage. “You get more intimate with the agronomics and the feed stuff that’s available here,” Derek says. “You know the history and culture of the state better and are more familiar with what farmers are thinking and what they are comfortable with.” 

For Derek, working so closely with farmers and being stationed in a more concentrated area has helped him know what he has to go after and what needs to be changed. Ensuring success means long work days, too, all bookended by ration work. “I get up and review customer rations,” Derek says, “then I visit four to six clients and take prospect calls every day, walk cows, touch base with farmers, take samples.” But his day doesn’t end there. “I usually don’t get home early enough, so I finish rations after getting housework done,” Derek adds. 

His full schedule and dedication to his work often leads to successful production numbers for him and his clients, which makes it all worth it. “The reason I have kept doing this is increasing profit for farmers,” Derek says. “Just having that, I’m proud to help people, and it is awesome to be a part of it.”

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