CowSignals Master Trainer
Director/owner of the CowSignals® Training Company
Veterinarian and Cowmunicator.
I love cows and I like farmers a lot! Let your cows live happily and twice as long! Listen to the cow, she's got know-how! I put all my energy, enthousiasm and power in making cows, farmers and advisors more happy! And together we work on a more sustainable world. So, dairy farmers, advisors and trainers from the world: keep up the good work and thank you for joining cowsignals.
Hope to see you soon,
Kind regards, Joep Driessen
Cow Els is reading our cowsignals book
+31 (0)6-54 26 73 53
- Born on 16 November 1964 from Dutch parents on a dairy farm in Ettelbrück, Luxembourg
- Raised on a sheep farm in Holland
- First bussiness on the age of 14 as sheep shearer
- Military service in the medical corps
- Tourguide for farmer studiegroups around Europe and America
- Teacher in ice-skating,skiing,snowboarding,dancing and sailing
- Qualified as a vet at the university of Utrecht in 1994
- Two years in dairy practice as a vet
- Half year on 14.000 cow dairy farm in Saudi-Arabia
- Founded Vetvice together with Jan Hulsen in 1997
- First CowSignals workshop in 1999
- Founded CowSignals Training Company in 2007
- Start of Certified Trainer Course
- Developed PeopleSignals action model to motivate farmers and advisors
- Opening of CowSignals Training Center in Bergharen, The Netherlands in 2010
- Active with cowsignals training in 55 countries in 2013
- 250 Certified CowSignals Trainers trained in 33 countries in 2013
- Launch of online Video training program: V-learning & V-coaching to reach the world in 2014
- Happily together with my wife Annelies Pernot and our 3 kids Teuntje, Puck and Pep
My story - how I became a CowSignals trainer
I was raised on a sheep farm in Holland. My parents taught me first-hand what it was like to be a farmer. I learned what it meant to make your income from animals and what hard work it is. It’s also what made me care for animals a lot. So for me, it was a logical choice to study veterinary medicine.
In 1995 I started working as a vet in a mixed practice. Most of the time it was very fulfilling to be helping animals for a living. However, it was also very difficult to see the problems with cow health: cases of digital dermatitis, mastitis and ketosis to name just a few. I also saw a lot of farmers working really hard, dealing with these problems the best they could and genuinely caring for the cows. The hardest part was knowing that the problems I saw could often be prevented with just a few changes and not being able to really do something about that as a veterinarian.
Talking to one of my friends from college, Jan Hulsen, it turned out I wasn’t the only one who was getting frustrated treating cows who didn’t need to get sick in the first place. That moment we decided to start working on prevention rather than medication. This was the start of the Vetvice company, later also resulting in CowSignals.
Jan and I started translating all information gathered through science into practical advice for farmers. Also, we started looking at the top 1% farmers in the world: what were they doing, that the others didn’t? Their results were incredible:
- Their cows lived to an average of 5 lactations instead of the estimated worldwide average of 2,5
- They barely had any lame cows where on other farms it would be 30% of the herd, or even as high as 60%
- Where the Dutch average for mastitis has now decreased to 26%, they even get below 5 treated cases each year per 100 cows
We decided to take their best practices and combine that with the scientific knowledge we already had. All this translated in to the first CowSignals workshop in 1999.
Another challenge we faced was communication. As a vet I had already tried to advise farmers on what they could do differently. As I mentioned, I saw a lot of disease that could have been prevented with just a few little changes. I thought they may like it if I just told them these changes, however it turned out people don’t always appreciate very direct advice they didn’t ask for. So, I also explored the fields of communication and advisory skills. This taught me how to work together with the farmer, to really listen to him and help him reach his goals. It turned out they appreciated the advice that way! This developed into a second training subject: PeopleSignals.
Now, we have a very successful training company that offers 12 different training subjects to farmers in live training and the first 5 subjects in video courses. Not only do we train farmers, but we try to get the entire dairy industry involved. 400 vets, feed salesman, barn designers, dairy processors and others are educated as a certified CowSignals trainer or advisor. They are now training and advising their clients, farmers and colleagues in more than 50 different countries and spreading the knowledge. Jan has taken it upon himself to provide our knowledge also in books. He already published 17 different books in 35 languages.
We continue to work to increase the impact we have with our educating. Our goal is to reach all farmers and cows around the world. By preventing disease, we can double the productive lifetime of cows: 5 lactations instead of 2,5. Also, we can give farmers more working pleasure and income. Thirdly, we can diminish methane production by 32% in the dairy industry. By spreading the knowledge we can create a win-win-win situation for cows, farmers and the planet.