“The mix of passion for cows with the curiosity of people is what I enjoy the most.”

Sara Wiklert Peterson, Head of Sales, in charge of the three priority export markets for VikingGenetics: United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. She is a member of the Management team and the chief manager at VG Skara, Sweden. Sara was also in charge of the Export Manager group to global markets and a pioneer in the development of the crossbreed system, ProCROSS. 
Her laugh is contagious and her leadership evident. Sara Wiklert Petersson arrived first at Svenska Avel (before VikingGenetics was formed) as a young-curios-redhead girl willing to start her summer internship in 1996. She did another summer work in 1998 before she started to work in 2000. Her first work was in Breeding Department of the Svenska Avel. 

Sara is married and has two girls; she was born and raised in a red cattle dairy, but as a” horse-girl,” she was participating in competitions and interested in breeding horses. Her parents did and still, run an operation of stud cattle Charolais and Angus. Her girls are also interested in horses. “From horse-girl I became a pony- mamma,” she laughs. 

It was natural for Sara to look for a career where she could be in contact with animals. “When I enter the university, I was more interested in horses, but after a year I realized that cows are far more interesting than horses,” she describes. “Then I started to study genetics, and I found it very interesting but when I did my thesis I didn´t dare to write in in genetic, so I wrote my thesis in dairy cow nutrition, it was extremely boring!”, she jokes. She has a Master of Sciencie in Agricuture form the Agricultural University of Uppsala (SLU) in Sweden. 

To see and evaluate all the possible angles of a situation, the funny one included, it´s inherited from her father, she tells. She started in Export while it was Svensk Avel (2001-2008), before VG export department was formed. “All of a sudden, I was alone in the Export Dept because my boss was sick, and it was challenging, but then you get pretty much in dept with the work very fast, with a lot of responsibility very early”, she says. 

“Do what you enjoy.” 

Hard work and passion for what she likes to do leads to spending many hours on Airports, hotels, and airplanes. Sara is away from her office in Sweden for traveling almost a third part of the year, but she emphasizes she is enjoying the mix of meeting people with her passion for animals. “It is important to do what you enjoy doing.” 

 Her source of energy comes from her contact with colleagues, friends, and customers around the world and from her devotion for sales, “it is so measurable, competitive and you can see results!”, she adds. 

She is a proud VikingGenetics´ ambassador. “It´s easy to sell a product that gives results; when you go to Italy, and you see cows, and they are daughters of one of our bulls, and you know is something good, and the customers are happy. It is extremely few times when you find someone that is not happy with the results, and if it´s happening, then you find them saying, "yeah, I should have started this earlier, or started 100%, why I didn´t? Yes, that kind of complaints is nice to hear". 

Long-term relationships

In 2002, Sara started to travel more to California to meet the nowadays pioneers of ProCROSS. ”I like this kind of sales we do here because you build a very long relationship with your customers, it´s not a quick-fix, I enjoy the opportunity of being part of big projects, and the best example is ProCROSS,” she says. 

The first time she was In California was in 2002, and by 2003 the first Swedish red heifers were starting to milk. “I got to see the changes in those herds and being part of that development even today is amazing. I can see they developed, the growth and the advice that we have taken care of”.  

Having seen the development of the different markets, she considers that the global market Is “extremely competitive” but VikingGenetics has an advantage when it comes to quality: “We are still breeding for health, that´s even more right today than before; It has not been like that all the time.” 
About the race of our competitors to enhance their health profile, she thinks they have not taken health traits into account for so long, but VG must continue innovating.   

 “Even If competitors have more focus on health, it still not enough to make a turn. However, we are humble and see that our competitors can do a lot of good things and that they are so much bigger in scale than we are. We need to continue to be creative in finding the next thing and the next, and the next, because otherwise, we will be behind. So, that´s important!” she considers. 

Another advantage, VikingGenetics has when competing in the Export markets has a lot to do with the lower use of antibiotics and the high-quality animal welfare, two of the biggest challenges farming in general faces all around the globe. 
“I think that is where our profile can support because we have an ability to sustainable farming no matter if it´s dairy cattle, I do not think that the consumers of tomorrow will accept the antibiotic level that is used in the animal production and unnecessary suffer from the animals either,” Sara remarks. 

She believes that VikingGenetics can make a difference in the milk production industry and the challenge for a better environment around the world with Viking bulls that soon will be able to breed for feed efficiency and lower methane gas emissions. 

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