Delivering investment potential
Constant improvement and teamwork drive success of feedlot manager
Nurturing relationships into long-lasting, profitable partnerships is the business statement of FELLER & CO Cattle Feeder, Wisner, Nebraska. But beyond cattle, the mission encompasses everyone from pen riders to the president.
“Our business of cattle feeding is about investing in both our customers and each other. It’s not about one person, it’s about the whole crew,” says longtime manager Dwight Doffin.
Doffin has contributed to the success of FELLER & CO for the past 30 years. He worked his way from the ground up at the operation from feeding, fencing and cleaning tanks to processing cattle, to overseeing all the daily feedlot work.
When the company expanded into another county, Doffin headed up the construction and established the relationships needed to keep the project going. Upon completion of the yard, he managed it for the next 21 years.
Integrity in Doing the Work
Doffin’s dedication and contributions to FELLER & CO were recognized at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association convention. He is the 2020 recipient of the Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award.
The award was developed by the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame to recognize feedyard employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to help improve the cattle-feeding industry. Arturo Armendariz, the Distinguished Service Award namesake, was a long-time devoted employee of Poky Feeders, one of the largest commercial feedlots in Kansas.
“Doffin’s leadership is respected and admired because he works alongside his peers on any project in front of him. He always comes to work with a ‘let’s get-r-done’ attitude,” says Tom Feller, president and CEO of FELLER & CO.
“Dwight understands how to connect the dots in all aspects of feedyard management. He’s committed, reliable, and brings unprecedented integrity to his job and the industry,” Feller says.
Like many feedlot crew, Doffin’s day starts off at 4:30 in the morning reading bunks, putting together the feeding regimen, and assigning personnel to different pens of cattle. After that, Doffin can be found going from one job to the next, helping where needed. He says his favorite task is to read the bunks and haul the feed for the cattle.
“I wake up every morning wanting to do that. It’s challenging and every day is different. We’re just trying to do a better job every day to have a better result,” Doffin says.
Continual Improvements From Industry Partners
When Doffin started in the business, they were treating cattle two or three days in a row with individual sick pens.
“It was a lot of work,” he says. “Now we have single-dose antibiotics that have really helped, especially on high-risk cattle that everyone gets in. That’s where antimicrobials such as Draxxin® and others have really advanced the industry.”
Doffin explains that the feedlot gets cattle from almost every state in the continental U.S. Across the board, BRD is their biggest threat, quickly jeopardizing the health of a pen. However, he’s seen that educating cattle producers on the importance of vaccinating and pre-weaning programs can improve cattle health.
“Programs, such as SelectVAC® from Zoetis, can add value to your cattle,” he says. “There’s a big difference between weaned calves and bawling calves when you get them in. If you can get them into the yard weaned, you’re ahead of the game.”
“And more powerful Synovex Plus®, for example, has really made a difference in how fast we can put the weight on cattle. It helps to maximize the efficiency of the cattle,” Doffin says.
Doffin has also seen herd genetics dramatically improve. He says the genetics just get better and better every year. Cattle feeding isn’t just about cattle, he points out, but the whole crew.
“This business is less about the actual work,” Doffin says. “It’s about who I work for and with. I have spent the last 30 years working for my best friend, Tom Feller, and that doesn’t happen very often.”