Thank you! Being asked to serve as an AASV officer is an honor and presents an opportunity for me to give back to the organization that has given so much to me. I’m proud to say that I have been to every AASV-AASP meeting since I was a vet student in 1982. Obviously the knowledge gained, contacts made, and the camaraderie with colleagues is very important to me. Part of the AASV mission statement is to “create opportunities that inspire personal and professional growth and interaction.” This AASV mission has been more than fulfilled during my membership.
Past. The farmer work ethic was a way of life growing up on a diversified crop and livestock farm near St James, Minnesota. My father and mother kept their six kids busy with our farrow-to-finish swine operation, beef cow-calf herd, feedlots, laying hens, and fieldwork. Inspired by my veterinarian uncle, FFA instructor, and our local vets, I had always wanted to be a veterinarian since high school.
After receiving a BS in Animal Science, my swine focus intensified while managing a farm where Dr Jim Dick visited weekly. He introduced to me Dr Al Leman, who hired me to work with Drs Brad Thacker and Han Soo Joo while in vet school. Externships with Dr Roy Schultz, Drs Connie Schmidt, and Wayne Freese solidified my decision to become a swine practitioner. All of these mentors are great past and present leaders in the AASV.
With a DVM degree in 1984, I was likely the first vet student to go into a “swine exclusive practice” right out of school to work for Drs Rod Johnson and Tony Scheiber. There were very few swine-only practices, and the swine industry as we know it today was in its infancy. Today’s 1289 AASV members consist of 47% practitioners, and 26% are exclusively swine vets.
Present. Currently, I’m a partner with Dr Adam Mueller in Swine Services Unlimited, Inc, a swine research and consulting practice in Rice, Minnesota. Our business focus is consulting with loyal, progressive pork-producer clients, some of whom we’ve seen each month for over 35 years! Swine Services Unlimited, Inc, is also a contract research organization conducting swine disease trials for many of those corporate sponsor companies who support the AASV. This research has allowed me to author or co-author many scientific papers and open doors for international consulting opportunities to gain a global industry perspective.
Deb Bryant, my wife, is also a veterinarian, and we have two wonderful grown “children.” We have a hobby-farm menagerie with horses, goats, chickens, dogs, and cats (no pigs, of course). My many hobbies include scientific and non-fictional reading, bird hunting, bird watching (different from those I hunt), hiking and canoeing in northern Minnesota, and all things sports and nature.
Professional memberships include the AVMA and MVMA since graduation. I’ve been on the AASV Board of Directors, and I am currently on the AASV Foundation Board and chair the Foundations Research Project Selection Committee. We have been awarding $60,000 annually to worthy members’ research projects. These monies come from membership donations from the Leman Fellow, Heritage Fellow, and Legacy Fellow. Thank you all for your past and future foundation donations. The AASV committees provide specific direction to the board of directors, and I am currently active on the Operation Main Street (OMS) Committee. This is another excellent way to advocate our profession and industry to others – please consider OMS.
Future. Some of the challenges the AASV is and will be facing are global and domestic pathogen biosecurity, antibiotic usage and the ONE HEALTH Initiative, animal welfare issues, vet student debt and starting salaries, and industry transparency and professionalism through science to maintain consumer confidence. These challenges are really just opportunities for the AASV members, staff, and leadership for continued progress. As always, we will continue to be industry and global leaders in science-based advancements in working with our clients to provide safe, nutritious, and affordable pork for the world.