As a kid growing up in an Iowa town of 500 people, Randy Rosenboom had three jobs: baling hay, walking beans and cleaning out barns. But the town also happened to be in Sioux County, one of the largest livestock areas in the country, so Rosenboom eventually started working with his dad at a small feed operation – which helped spark his interest in animal science.
Two college degrees later, he was the in-house beef nutritionist at a nearby feed company, working on product formulation and conducting on-farm research, a job he held for 18 years. When that company was sold to a much larger corporation, Rosenboom decided Kent Nutrition Group (KNG) “was a better fit.”
“One thing that drew me to Kent was that it was still a family-owned business,” he says. “I admired that.”
Rosenboom has been a commercial account manager with Kent for the past 21 years, focusing less on feed products and more on livestock feeding operations. His territory covers five northwest Iowa counties and southwest Minnesota into the Twin Cities. His clients know him simply as “Boomer,” a lifelong nickname he uses on emails and phone greetings. As a rule, he tries to meet with two dealers and arrange up to eight customer stops per day.
“We’ll talk about products, sure, but they already know I have products that work,” Rosenboom says. “What I try to do is keep producers informed on the latest management practices, because a lot of the advice we give them is just as valuable as the feed we give them.”
Much of that advice falls around market volatility, which Rosenboom says is a growing challenge for producers. Managing risk is an ongoing topic. He assists with record keeping and financial projections, as well as nutrition issues.
“You have to be much more adept these days at risk management, because the cattle you buy today might not look profitable in three days,” he says. “I keep them apprised of market gains and I run projections for them. And then we implement strategies together on how to keep their operation strong and performing well.”
In that way, Rosenboom says he functions much like a full-service consultant for beef producers, many of whom have “a lot more going on” with their operations – between crops and livestock, maybe hog farms too.
“What it comes down to is service,” he says. “If I can’t bring value to the dealers, they shouldn’t buy feed from me.”
Boomer and his wife, Heather, have six children, a poodle named Peda and a profane parrot named Luna. They live near Estherville, Iowa, where they do a lot of wood cutting, hunting and gardening.