In February of 2002, Addison Bowman was signed by the Boston Red Sox Organization into the minor league system after a successful history of playing collegiate baseball. In college, Addison was a short-stop and third-baseman and then switched to a catcher and outfield player once he made it into professional baseball. A graduate of Virginia Tech in Agricultural Economics and today an ANC Independent Consultant, Addison relates many of his accomplishments to the value of teamwork.
“It is a team game, but you want to do your part to make the team successful,” he says of his baseball experiences. Addison says it is no different on-farm and in nutritional consulting.
Addison grew up on a poultry and beef cattle farm in Virginia. Beef cows were one of Addison’s biggest interests, and he has had some of the most fun improving his beef herd throughout the years. Agriculture was a large part of Addison’s life growing up, as was playing baseball.
In 2003, Addison was released from the Boston Red Sox Organization and returned to his home poultry farm, as he did not know what he wanted to do after his career in baseball. Around that time, farmers around the area were forming a cooperative called the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, providing a good opportunity for Addison to join his father in the poultry business. Since his return, Addison has worked full-time at the poultry farm and also owns 50 beef cows, mostly Angus. In addition, Addison runs 100 acres of cash crops and manages his independent nutritional consulting business with Agri-Nutrition Consulting LLC (ANC).
Addison started consulting with ANC after a trip to Wisconsin in 2010. “I saw the opportunity to help people, especially younger farmers,” he states. Conversations with good friends already involved with ANC convinced Addison to join the nutritional consulting world. Addison’s passion for his beef cows translated into a passion for dairy cattle nutrition. Once he started consulting, he saw some quick results and improvements on his customers’ farms.
While growing his nutritional consulting business, Addison is also busy improving his beef herd through breeding for good genetics and docile cattle, and eventually, he aims to own between 100 and 120 beef cows. Working with his dad on the poultry farm rounds out his work. “I like being diversified,” he says. Addison is joined in his endeavors by his wife, Tiffany and two young children, Brooks, 5, and Azlyn, 3.
Residing in a small community with many farms, word of mouth helped grow much of Addison’s business. Today, Addison consults mostly because he wants to help dairy producers and aims to work with farmers to improve their operations, increase profitability, and improve farm management techniques to make farming more enjoyable for them.
Galen and Conrad Showalter work with Addison on their dairy operation. When Addison started consulting for them, their cows were milking in the low to mid 50 pounds per day range. Within three months, their cows were milking 70 pounds per day. “We have less cystic cows with the ANC program, and we have done a much better job with dry cows. We have had virtually no DA’s,” adds the Showalter family.
Addison believes many people can provide farmers with a solid diet, but what makes the difference is the other aspects of nutritional consulting that will help farmers improve their whole operation. Paying attention and providing accurate rations are imperative to any consulting business, he says. Further, Addison is always looking beyond the milk cows because it sets farmers up for success down the road. A true focus for Addison is the pre-fresh cows and the dry cows. “Nutrition is important, but it is Going Beyond Nutrition that determines a lot of people’s success.” Addison’s dedication to his customers and desire to help farmers improve make him a great asset to any operation he is a part of. Going Beyond Nutrition helps Addison achieve tremendous results like he saw on the Showalter farm.
Addison’s emphasis on teamwork is another ingredient in his consulting success. “It takes a teamwork approach all the way around,” he says. Addison has a great network of people to talk to: customers, ANC staff and other industry partners. He mentions the importance of employees, veterinarians, semen suppliers and other farm support personnel in making a farm successful. Addison cites working with Dr. Scott Bascom, Director of Technical Services for ANC, and Drew Johnson, Director of Field Technical Services for ANC, as huge assets to help him as a consultant. In working with ANC, Addison says he is provided with support, answers and confidence in his consulting work. “I’m not perfect, but I’m on a pretty good team,” he continues.
Despite successes and a solid team, “You always have challenges,” he admits. One of Addison’s first learning experiences when he started with ANC was the need to learn how to operate more efficiently as a consultant. For example, Addison says he was worrying too much about tasks the ANC office was already doing for him, a worry he should not have had and one he does not have today. He adds communication was another skill and important aspect of his work he improved.
Another challenge presented itself in the form of an opportunity with a customer. Stan and Wes Showalter had been treating every fresh cow for milk fever. Addison initially looked at the dry cow and pre-fresh rations to fix the issue. He eliminated free choice hay for the dry cows because it was very high in potassium. “Along with eliminating free choice dry hay, we cut back brewers grain as we felt like too much brewers grain during the dry period would hinder intakes at freshening from a lack of gut fill during the dry period,” Addison explains. “We still fed dry hay, (we) just tried to manage our potassium issues better.” Balancing DCAD was another goal achieved by adjusting the rate of certain products in the ration. He also implemented routine forage sampling because previously, dry cow forages were only sampled sporadically. Instant success was not expected, but eventually the Showalters were no longer treating fresh cows for milk fever, because of the changes to the ration and the management strategies Addison had suggested. Herd health overall was much improved. In addition, milk fat increased from 3.5 percent up to 4.0 percent while maintaining milk production at 80 pounds per cow per day.
Addison and the farmers he works with make improvements like these through a variety of ideas and actions, however there are two common denominators to Addison’s work on each farm: gaining trust and being honest. He often uses the phrase, “If these were my cows, this is what I would do,” with customers. Providing timely responses to concerns and doing his best are high priorities. Addison gains customers’ trust by showing them their issues matter to him. “I do have their best interest at heart when I make decisions,” he states.
With a bright future ahead of him, Addison has much to look forward to. His passion and charisma are contagious. Addison’s dedication, team-oriented work ethic and honesty set him and his customers up for success. Whether on the farm or the field, Addison’s goal is always to hit the ball over the fence.