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Getting to Know Dr. Karen Luchterhand


What is your official title at Novus®?
Ruminant Technical Service Manager and C.O.W.S.® Program Manager

How long have you been with Novus®?
3 years

What is your previous training?
Before I came to Novus®, I worked for the University of Wisconsin-Extension as a regional Dairy & Livestock Specialist. I worked with local farmers and developed programming in areas relevant to their current and future needs. I received my doctorate and master degrees from the University of Minnesota in dairy cattle welfare in three housing types and transition cow management and behavior, which tied in nicely to the Novus® C.O.W.S.® program. My dedication to the dairy industry arose from growing up on a small dairy farm and working for neighboring dairy farmers.

In your role what is the most interesting thing you do?

Right now, I’m being pulled in a lot of different directions, and it keeps things interesting! Other Novus® world areas are interested in having their own C.O.W.S.® program and will need training to keep our services consistent throughout the world. At the same time, we are working on moving our data from over 1300 US and Canada C.O.W.S.® assessments into a new database, while simultaneously working to streamline our on-farm data collection. We anticipate reduced turnaround time and improved customer satisfaction as a result of these efforts. I’m working with people from non-farm backgrounds who are designing creative solutions for data housing and user interfaces as well as with coworkers in other parts of the world in order to ensure our format for C.O.W.S.® will meet their customer needs. There is never a boring moment.

What is your favorite Novus® product?
My favorite product is MINTREX® D. My cattle and horses are on it, and I have seen improvement in my horses’ hooves from being on the product. I like having methionine, minerals, biotin, and selenium all wrapped in one package.

What accomplishment or moment in your career are you most proud of?
A dairy producer informed me of the improvements brought forth from a C.O.W.S.® assessment, which made me feel like I was really able to make a difference.

How do you work with customers to address their needs and overcome challenges they face?
I try to listen and ask questions to clarify the problem and work from there. It may require pulling in others or taking a step back to look at the big picture.

When you are not promoting Novus® products and formulating rations, what do you like to do?
I like to do anything that has me moving. Running with my dog Dante and horseback riding with friends are two of my favorite things to do. My husband and I now have some of our beef cattle on our property and have spent a lot of our weekends this past summer putting up fencing and prepping for a shed that we plan to build soon.

If you had to choose only one book for your library, what would it be?

The book I go back to is on horse training, Downunder Horsemanship by Clinton Anderson. I’ve incorporated these lessons while working and handling cattle. It’s all about pressure, release and maybe more importantly, the timing of applying or releasing pressure to get the animal to learn what you want it to do.

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