60 second interview: Dairy innovation and feed industry communication

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In an ongoing series about feed industry careers, we caught up with Troy Wistuba, director of dairy technical solutions at Purina to talk about his new position, how he arrived where is he today and his thoughts on the world of feed manufacturing.

FeedNavigator: How did you get into the industry? And what has your background been?

Troy Wistuba: I grew up on a mixed crop and livestock farm in northeast Kansas. Throughout my childhood, I was involved in every aspect of the farm from putting up forages to breeding cows and being involved in 4-H. In addition, I worked cattle every weekend at a sale barn and hauled cattle for a local cattle ranch.

While earning my master’s degree in nutrition at Kansas State University, I became an extension assistant and managed the Kansas Bull Test, the longest running bull test in the US.

While I was working on my PhD in ruminant nutrition from the University of Arkansas, I took a graduate sabbatical to manage custom silage harvest crews in Australia. During my time as a professor, I managed all aspects of livestock production at Morehead State University farm, including shrimp, tilapia, registered angus cows, ewes and farrow to finish sows. After eight years there, I moved to St. Louis to work as the global ruminant research manager for Novus International Inc.

Most recently, I worked as a senior dairy technical manager for Phibro Animal Health Inc.

FeedNavigator: Tell us about your current role.

Troy Wistuba: In my current role, I am responsible for providing oversight and leadership to Purina’s Dairy Technical Solutions team. While bringing insights back to research and development, we also collaborate with the marketing team to develop and/or improve our products and programs.

FeedNavigator: Is there a typical day for you?

Troy Wistuba: There is quite a bit of variety in my job day to day. However, the focus of my typical day revolves around cultivating mutual applications in both research and the field.

FeedNavigator: What do you like most about your job?

Troy Wistuba: In my new position, I am excited to help producers unlock the potential in every animal. As part of the Purina Animal Nutrition team, I’ll move the industry forward by helping deliver innovative technology, products and programs for dairy producers.

FeedNavigator: What's the hardest thing about your job?

Troy Wistuba: Communicating the right message to the right people can be a challenge. 

FeedNavigator: What advice would you give people interested in a job in your field?

Troy Wistuba: Think diversity.

Throughout my professional career, and even historically, I’ve never been too proud or too afraid to do or try a different job. While all of my employment has always been in agriculture, I have worked across several different species (cattle, equine, companion), production sectors (meats, milk, agronomy) and geographies. I think this diversity provides me a different perspective when problem-solving.

FeedNavigator: Is there is anything you would do over in your career?

Troy Wistuba: I value every opportunity that I’ve had in my career. While some opportunities were more successful than others, I have probably learned more from the bad ones than the good ones. 

FeedNavigator: What is the biggest challenge facing the feed industry today?

Troy Wistuba: Given that feed is the largest and most important component to ensuring safe, abundant and affordable food, I believe misinformation is one of the industry’s largest challenges. I could talk about rainfall, global warming, arable land, etc., however, misinformation encompasses almost every aspect of the farm to fork production cycle.

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