There is a reason windshields are larger than rear view mirrors. Windshields are for moving forward, not backward. Our family has had many laughs at my driving skills because I have a history of banging into objects when I back up – mostly poles, garbage bins, fences, and walls. I think every practice vehicle I have driven had at least one dent in the rear bumper. They think my rear view mirror should be bigger.
A few months ago when I was writing about a million pigs on the road every day, for this journal, I started thinking about how many miles I have driven during my veterinary career. I calculated that I have driven over 1.3 million miles throughout the western corn belt practicing veterinary medicine. That is a lot of windshield time!
Veterinarians do a lot of moving forward, and especially swine veterinarians. Our American Association of Swine Veterinarians is a forward-looking, forward-moving organization of which I am proud to be a member. This is my last message as president of AASV and I would like to emphasize forward thinking.
None of us have a crystal ball for predicting the future, but I have been humbly impressed with the collective wisdom, forward thinking, and decisions that I have witnessed during my tenure as a board member and officer.
It is important to use the rear view mirror occasionally to see where we have been, the mistakes that have been made, and to avoid repeating them. History holds lessons for the future. Looking forward through my windshield, here are some things that I think will happen.
Our Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP) will receive the accreditation it deserves and be accepted in Medline. The JSHAP will continue to be a key element of communication among our members and a pillar of our organization.
We will continue to have a capable, efficient central office and staff as another pillar of our organization.
We will continue to attract the best and brightest young veterinarians in the country because of their interest in population medicine and the inclusiveness that we offer them.
Senior members who have benefitted from their membership, and have become successful, will continue to give back to AASV their time and talent, and assist in maintaining our collective wisdom.
Our AASV Foundation will grow stronger and its influence will expand.
Swine veterinarians will continue to embrace technology. Technology of communication will connect our office with the barn, and even with individual animals. Think how we are already “texting” images from the barn to our office. Other data are not far behind. Electronic animal tracking will become more sophisticated, and individual gestation stalls will become obsolete. Information sharing of herd status among veterinarians will be fast and simple, yet hopefully still confidential.
We will see amazing advancements in diagnostics and detection of pathogens. I am anxious to see what lies ahead for improvements in vaccine technology. I expect to see the day when area porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus elimination is successful through advancements in both of these technologies and perhaps even with gene-deletion technology.
We will have members who are board certified in the new American College of Animal Welfare.
We will maintain our leadership role in the North American swine industry, and continue to hold a position of public trust for the welfare of pigs and the safety of our food supply.
These are some of the things I expect to see in the near future. Who knows what really lies ahead, but looking through the windshield to see what is coming next should be an exciting journey. As my family knows, I am not very good at going backward, so join with me and your organization as we keep moving forward!
It has been a sincere pleasure serving as president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.
-- Ron Brodersen, DVM AASV President