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Annual Meeting Report

Swine veterinarians combine sun, fun, and scientific sessions

Report of the 2003 Annual Meeting

Veterinarians involved in swine medicine and related swine indus-tries found plenty of relevant, timely continuing education at the 34th AASV Annual Meeting held in Orlando, Florida, March 8 through 11, the first meeting ever held in a warm-weather city. The warm-weather locale drew 796 veterinary registrants, including 65 students, from the United States, Canada, and 16 other countries.

In choosing this year's theme, "Using science to enhance the food supply," Incoming President and Program Chair Dr Rick Sibbel reminds swine veterinarians of their role in safeguarding and protecting our nation's food supply.

In keeping with the meeting theme, Dr Scott Brooks, Yum! Brands, Inc, discussed the growing opportunities for veterinarians in the food service industry. He stated that although veterinarians are broadly suited to address key food safety and consumer issues, they should pursue continuing education outside the traditional veterinary programs to better understand core food safety issues of the food industry.

Dr Dana Scott of the Department of Defense told attendees that the most important level of response in agricultural biosecurity is the local one. "The amount of economic damage caused by introduction of a pathogen is directly related to the time it takes to detect its presence," he said. The key to early detection, Dr Scott emphasized, is to always have an index of suspicion.

Shifting to the role of the swine veterinarian in society, Dr Lonnie J. King, dean of the veterinary college at Michigan State University, presented the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture, "As the future catches you." Dr King said, "The great excitement about the future is that we still can shape it." He stated that veterinarians are on a treadmill that is going faster and faster, but running faster is only worthwhile if you are going in the right direction.

Dr. Lonnie King presenting the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture
Dr Lonnie King presenting the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture

Dr King discussed the boundless opportunities for swine veterinarians to provide value-added services to clients. He encouraged veterinarians to abandon the concept of a "one-vision wonder raising hogs more efficiently and faster." Instead, he suggested that veterinarians acquire new skills, shifting from technicians to true knowledge workers. Adopting new strategies to add value to clients will define additional areas of competitive advantage, he stated.

Organizational matters

The AASV Board of Directors convened during the annual meeting. Dr Lisa Tokach, President, presided over the half-day session. A number of issues were
discussed and the board passed the following motions:

  • To improve communications via the AASV Web site.
  • To approve the "AASV Health, Hygiene and Sanitation Guidelines for Boar Studs Providing Semen to the Domestic Market."
  • To establish a working relationship with the USDA to develop a facilities plan in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.
  • To provide financial support to prepare a request for proposal to examine issues related to the recruitment and selection of veterinary students, as well as retention of recent graduates in food animal practice.
  • To financially support an educational outreach program for veterinary students.
  • To plan a meeting to address swine welfare issues.


This year ushered in a new format for the annual awards ceremony. A reception took the place of the annual banquet to allow more interaction among attendees. The highlight of the reception was the presentation of awards to those who have made significant contributions to the association and the swine industry. Dr Rick Tubbs, 1998 president of the AASV, presented the awards.

Dr Ron Brodersen, Hartington, Nebraska, was named Swine Practitioner of the Year, the association's highest honor. The award is given annually to a private practitioner who has demonstrated exceptional service to clients. In receiving the award, Dr Brodersen expressed his thanks to his wife and family, and to the mentors in his life, including his father, "who taught me about animal husbandry." Dr Brodersen's wife, Joan, remarked that after being in practice for 23 years, her husband still looks forward to going to work every morning.

Dr. Ron Brodersen, Swine Practitioner of the Year
Dr Ron Brodersen, Swine Practitioner of the Year

The Howard Dunne Memorial Award was presented to Dr Robert Friendship, Guelph, Ontario, for his outstanding service to the AASV and the swine industry. "I'm truly appreciative of the award," Dr Friendship stated. "Many more veterinarians deserve it more than I do, but no one is more appreciative than I for the award." Dr Friendship is a professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. He is the immediate past president of the Ontario Association of Swine Practitioners.

Dr. Bob Friendship, recipient of the Howard Dunne Memorial Award
Dr Bob Friendship, recipient of the Howard Dunne Memorial Award

Dr Tim Trayer, Denver, Pennsylvania, received the Meritorious Service Award for consistently contributing his time and service to the association's members, officers, and staff. He was cited for his service on a number of AASV committees and as the AASV delegate to the AVMA. In accepting the award, Dr Trayer expressed gratitude to his father for instilling his Quaker value of service, to his encouraging professors at Wilmington College and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, to his supportive swine practitioners, and to Deb, his wife of 30 years, who "truly is my mentor." Dr Trayer is a partner in an eight-person veterinary practice that focuses primarily on swine and dairy production medicine.

Dr. Tim Trayer, recipient of the Meritorious Service Award
Dr Tim Trayer, recipient of the Meritorious Service Award

Student seminar and scholarships

Fifteen students, representing nine universities, presented research and case reports at the student seminar sponsored by Alpharma Animal Health.

Jason Kelly was awarded a $5000 scholarship by the AASV Foundation for best presentation at the student seminar. Kelly is a fourth-year veterinary student at Purdue University. His presentation was titled "Weekly growth and carcass response to feeding ractopamine (Paylean")." Alpharma Animal Health provided the financial support for this award.

Seven veterinary students were also recognized by the AASV Foundation for their student presentations, with $2000 scholarships provided by Eli Lilly and Company on behalf of Elanco Animal Health: Dana Beckler, University of Minnesota; Molita Birchen, University of Illinois; Heather Gunn, University of Guelph; Erin Johnson, University of Illinois; Keith Kinsley, University of Minnesota; Adam Moeser, North Carolina State University; and Raphael Vanderstichel, University of Prince Edward Island.


Several honored guests spoke to attendees during the luncheon sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica.

Dr Joe Howell, AVMA president, thanked AASV members who serve on AVMA councils and committees. While speaking about issues impacting veterinarians, Dr Howell said, "The AVMA will stand in support of the food animal segment of the profession."

Dr Patty Scharko, president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, talked about the mutual support between the AABP and AASV, inviting Dr Tokach to join her at the podium as two "sister associations."

Drs. Lisa Tokach (AASV President) and Patty Scharko (AABP President)
Dr Lisa Tokach with Dr Patty Scharko, president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners

Dr John Korslund, a pork producer member of the NPB Swine Health Committee and an AASV member, updated attendees on producer activities at the NPB.

Dr K. T. Wright gave a report of the AASV Foundation, stating that the current market value of the endowed fund is $228,000.

Preconference seminars

A cornerstone of the AASV educational mission has been its high-quality seminars, designed to keep swine veterinarians on the frontier of swine health and production. Once again, the AASV lived up to expectations, with 12 half-day preconference seminars.

Three seminars dealt with "bugs and drugs." Participants could choose from sessions on applied pharmacology, prevention and control of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, or foreign animal disease education, surveillance, and diagnosis.

Several seminars focused on providing practitioners with the knowledge and tools that would enable them to add value to their clients' operations. Specific information was presented on advances in boar stud management, practical approaches to nutritional problems, elements of proper ventilation in swine facilities, components of swine welfare assessment, and issues related to parity-specific management. Two seminars provided practical skills for efficient and cost-effective farm visits.

Rounding out the preconference program were sessions on professional and personal development. Veterinary students and recent graduates learned some secrets of career success from established veterinarians. Established veterinarians learned the basics of estate planning.

Industrial partners and technical tables

A total of 54 concurrent industrial partner presentations were made as part of the preconference activities. Representatives of commercial companies staffed 53 technical tables.

New officers

With the ceremonial "passing of the gavel," Dr Rick Sibbel, Ankeny, Iowa, accepted the 2003-2004 presidency of the AASV. He succeeds Dr Lisa Tokach, Abilene, Kansas, who is now Immediate Past President. Dr John Waddell, Sutton, Nebraska, ascended to President-Elect. In the closest election in recent AASV history, Dr Tom Gillespie, Rensselaer, Indiana, was elected Vice President.

AASV 2003 officers
AASV 2003 officers, left to right: Dr Thomas Gillespie, Vice President; Dr Lisa Tokach, Past President; Dr John Waddell, President-Elect; and Dr Rick Sibbel, President

Next meeting

In 2004, the AASV will meet March 6 to 9 in Des Moines, Iowa.