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  Hard to be humbling

At its recent annual meeting, Eastern Breeders Inc. called its financial results for last year "humbling".

We think the artificial insemination cooperative is being a little too humble. The members must agree, because those gathered at Kemptville headquarters for the get-together had no complaints about the way the outfit is being managed.

Yes, it's true that sire numbers, production and distribution, as well as domestic and international sales of bull semen and related services, all experienced a decline in 2009.

The bottom line was altered to the tune of $9.8 million in revenues last year compared to $10.5 million in 2008. On the positive side of the ledger, expenses were down last year to $8.2 million compared to close to $8.4 million. Meanwhile, the budget balance is sitting pretty at $14.6 million.

These numbers were compiled during the midst of a global economic recession when traditional buyers stayed away and competitors based in countries with wildly fluctuating milk prices raided EBI's customer base.

Humbling! To keep revenue losses to a minimum while successfully cutting costs to make up some of the difference is managerial genius, something to brag about rather than apologize for.

EBI managers got the improved efficiency ball rolling last year by shrinking the governance structure to 56 delegates including 10 directors, and by constructing a streamlined $1 million, state-of-the-art complex for up-and-coming sires, replacing two inefficient antiquated barns.

And the EBI business attitude remains aggressive, even combative. While the global drop in AI industry fortunes required an adjustment, "it's certainly not scary", general manager Ann Louise Carson said. "In fact, it's quite motivating to be among leaders who'll be shaping the future of this great industry."

If this is humbling, EBI and other businesses could use more of the same.



Eastern Ontario AgriNews is published on the third Monday of each month. The printed version is distributed free by postal mail to farms in Eastern Ontario, Canada.

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