Page 19 - BCHNews-Spring2021-Web
P. 19

Tars Cheema
In many respects, WestGen could be considered an ‘early adopter,’ especially of new repro technologies and progressive breeding ideas. One year ago, the rapidly evolving Covid restrictions propelled WestGen to become an ‘early adopter’ of Zoom to conduct the legally-required hybrid AGM in 2020, with severely limited in-person capacity at the Quality Inn. This year’s AGM ran smoothly in an entirely virtual format.
While Covid still figured prominently in many of the reports presented, the tone was one of both gratitude and resilience – having weathered the uncertainty of the pandemic with satisfying results.
Highlights from President’s and CEO’s Reports
Vice President of WestGen’s board, Ridley Wikkerink, stepped in to chair the AGM and present the President’s Report on behalf of an ailing Eric Iversen. While Covid certainly challenged all organizations, WestGen was well-pleased with the performance of staff who adapted quickly, embracing the changing rules with a priority to keep everyone, including clients, safe. CEO Chris Parry’s own experience back in the UK when Foot and Mouth rattled their livestock industry was invaluable in instructing WestGen’s reaction, “We were very rapid and mindful of our decision-making. We reacted quickly to the Covid outbreak.” He continued, “We did not miss a beat through 2020. We remained fully functional all year, never having a positive case.”
“The board are extremely pleased to recognize the accomplishments of the team during this challenging year,” Iversen’s report said. Parry echoed those sentiments with, “All of our people demonstrated care, good judgement and immense hard work.”
Specific highlights of 2020 included the opening of a second location for Bow Valley Genetics in Regina and the launching of the ARC – WestGen’s Advanced Reproduction Centre – introduced in October as the ‘first advanced reproduction centre in Western Canada.’ Iversen’s report further pointed to the support for Semex’s five-year plan, including the expansion in semen sexing capacity to meet the ongoing growth in demand for sexed semen.
Most recognize the game-changing nature of Covid to our ‘normal,’ further making people wonder what the new normal may look like. Parry saw it this way, “Many of the insights that once drove critical business decisions no longer apply as organizations adapt to an ever-changing new normal – including disruptions in critical supply chains, medical supply shortages and workforce constraints.”
Iversen’s final comment, “Here’s hoping that in 2021, things will return to normal,” would certainly meet with approval from most, while Parry predicted, “We will look back on our Covid success.”
WestGen – Highlights
• Net income from the Group of Companies was healthy – especially considering Covid
• Increased doses sold – particularly sexed semen
• Beef on Dairy doses continued to increase – representing 16% of total doses
• P3 was launched in 2019 and remains important in providing producers access to the vertically integrated supply chain, securing an end market for their beef cross and Holstein males
• Reproductive Solutions will continue to be a focus of the WestGen Group, including the in-house IVF lab/ET services, the ARC and related services
Semex – Highlights
• Currently finalizing a 5-Year plan focusing on three key areas: Sexed semen processing capacity, bull housing and sales strategy
• Significant expansion of sexing machines to increase capacity
• Record revenues of $147M in 2020, 12.7M doses sold to 80 countries
•Top countries by doses: USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Argentina
• Pakistan, Ukraine and Russia showing significant growth
WestGen Group
• Covid impacts in the beef industry reduced the normal markets for many breeders
•New site in Regina, acquired from a competitor in November 2020, permits easier access of repro technologies by clients in SK (already 40% of BVG business) and MB
• BVG continues to house a significant number of Semex beef sires
WEF Recap
Manitoba dairyman, past WestGen director and current Chair of WestGen’s Endowment Fund, Michael Andres reported that the fund has paid out $2,285,060.92, since its inception.
He further highlighted that $583,373.90 has gone towards supporting the next generation of cattle producers through various scholarships and youth development programs. Andres referred to the M. Bovis project being conducted at Kwantlen Polytechnic University as an example of the leading-edge research supported substantially by WEF with potentially significant and very direct benefits to producers. This project has now secured 5-year NSERC funding.
Sales Report
Paul Meyer, WestGen’s Sales Manager, opened his report with, “In a pandemic year, the last thing one expects is to enjoy banner sales.” The 6.1% increase in doses sold from 2019 is significant when one considers the competitive mature market conditions, layered with the unsettling/ unpredictable influence of Covid through the year. “Any gains in a mature market are hard fought and we shouldn’t take them for granted,” he noted.
One aspect highlighted by Meyer is the evolution of traditional semen products (conventional and young sire) to Genomax and proven, to the current advanced products (sexed conventional/proven and Beef on Dairy). Over this period of change, revenues per farm have remained static, requiring a value-added approach using the genetic products and ‘suite of tools’ to create a profitable ‘genetic plan.’ He further suggested that projections indicate sexed and Beef on Dairy will "rival conventional doses sold by 2025." Meyer credited the motivated, dedicated sales team and a strong admin team for "making us look good." Especially as women are still relatively uncommon in the ag sales field, Meyer noted with pride the two skilled female genetic advisors on the WestGen team. Meyer was particularly pleased with the sales results suggesting, “It would have been an easy year to drop the ball and blame COVID.”
• 6% doses increase in 2020
• 26% doses increase since 2013
• Sexed semen doses up almost 37% over 2019
• Beef on Dairy doses more than doubled over 2019
• Covid curtailed travels drastically, resulting in decreased Directors’ costs
• Stronger markets in 2020 generated better investment returns
• Overall, 2020 financials were strong across the companies
• Since 2012, operating income has shown a steady increase, reaching $1.3M in 2020, supported by a record sales year just shy of $19M
• Net assets were up from the previous year, reaching $39M
• The 2021 Budget predicted a modest net income growth
Mike Duncan of Harrison Mills, BC was acclaimed for another term
as a Director at Large.
SPRING 2021 ❁ BC HOLSTEIN NEWS 19 Rapid Adaptation the Key to
Thriving through COVID
EBITDA $337,741 $64,206
               EBITDA $2,583,020
Annual Sales
2019 2020
OperaAng Income
*Numbers Exclude Semex
 Sexed Semen Trend
         2017 2018 2019 2020
*% Growth Year Over Year
    Beef on Dairy Trend
   2017 2018 2019 2020
• US, UK, Australia and Argentina were strongest subsidiaries
• Semex has experienced revenue growth of >$100M since 1998
• While semen sales still represent some 81% of revenues, the global marketplace is changing and other services such as embryo services, heat detection, genetic testing, tanks and equipment are all growth areas
• Sexed semen (43% of total semen) and beef (10%) are both growth areas
Cryogen – Highlights
• N2 supply to medical community for over 20 years • 2014 became a focused entity
• Covid caused a sudden disruption to doctor offices
• In spite of Covid challenges, achieved budget in 2020, due to innovative initiatives to continue supplying N2 under extraordinary strict regulations
• Growth continues in the domestic and US market
Bow Valley Genetics – Highlights
• Joined the Group of Companies in 2018
• Revenue has steadily grown from 2016 (near $2M) to almost $4M in 2020
• Brooks location utilizes Boviteq technology for their fully- functioning IVF lab, extending their typically-seasonal ET business

   17   18   19   20   21