Business Profile: COBA/Select Sires


COLUMBUS — The economy might be in a funk and businesses are struggling, but at COBA/Select Sires records are being broken — in a good way.

In 2008, the company achieved all-time record sales for the 12th consecutive year in terms of units of semen sold by selling 1,696,136 units, which was an 8.2 percent increase over 2007.

COBA/Select Sires was honored as “One of the 10 Best Employers in Ohio in 2008” by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the only agricultural organization to receive such recognition.

“As a cooperative, our first and highest priority is to help our member-owner customers,” said Bernie Heisner, the company’s general manager. “We really try to listen closely to our farmer directors and delegates and explore any creative ideas on ways we can better help our members achieve their goals.”

COBA was started in 1946 as a result of a merger of the Northeast Ohio Breeding Association, Cortland, Ohio; and the Western Ohio Breeding Association, Celina, Ohio.

In 1965, COBA was a founding member of Select Sires which has grown to become the Artificial Insemination organization with the largest market share in the U.S. and the most influential Holstein sires in the world.

According to Heisner, milk prices were decent for a good part of 2008. COBA/Select Sires customers were having excellent results with their sexed semen product and by year end, sexed semen accounted for 11 percent of COBA’s total units of semen sold.

Also, following the release of the August 2008 USDA Sire Summaries, Select Sires had one of its greatest graduating classes of newly proven sires through its Program for Genetic Advancement young sire sampling system.

The sires 7H8165 Million, 7H8190 Sanchez and 7H8221 Alexander immediately attracted high interest throughout the world and COBA/Select Sires members made maximum use of these three top Holstein Sires in their herds.

“ Since COBA/Select Sires is financially strong and stable, this farmer-owned and controlled cooperative is going to do all we can to cut semen prices and assist our dairy farmer members during this most difficult of economic times,” said Heisner.

The last five years have brought some of the most exciting advancements the A.I. industry has experienced in decades, and Select Sires has been a leader in embracing and responsibly marketing these progressive new opportunities to benefit the cooperative’s owner-customers.

The results of mapping the bovine genome was a major undertaking for several years and the results of North American A.I. companies, like Select Sires, and USDA came to fruition in January 2009.

It was with the January 2009 proofs that USDA included genomic information to enhance Holstein and Jersey sire proofs on more than 20 specific traits.

“While genomic information will continue to be refined, it is truly an exciting time to be in the dairy genetics business,” said Heisner.

“It is most satisfying that through cooperation, hard work and intelligence that the United States has truly demonstrated and established its leadership position in the world in dairy genetic matters.”

The co-op has 4,000 member-owners and employs 90 workers full time and five part time.

The office, located at 1224 Alton Darby Creek Road in Columbus, is open 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The Web site,, is available 24 hours a day.

For more information, call 614-878-5333 or e-mail

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  1. I recently went through an AI class at Ross Correctional Institution (RCI Dairy) with David Watts and thought it was a great class. Dave was very informative in his class and didn’t beat around the bush when asked a question. Dave was very professional and I felt when the class was over that I had a good chance of success with AI in our herd. I thank C.O.B.A Select Sires for the class and the knowledge-proffesionalism. Look forward to seeing you in the AI field.
    David Tumbleson (RCI Dairy)


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