I am honored by the nomination for vice president of the AASV. The organization has been a crucial part of driving education and excellence for swine veterinarians for many years. Strong leadership has been an important reason for this success. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of the leadership team moving forward. My family and practice partners are in full support of my bid to be part of the leadership of AASV.
I was raised on a 100-sow farrow-to-finish and 300-acre grain farm in northwest Iowa. Growing up, I learned to love the farming life, but being a veterinarian was always my goal. I was very active in 4-H and FFA and earned a State FFA Degree. Livestock projects (both cattle and swine) were the focus. My cow-calf interests have become my hobby away from the pig industry, a good distraction to help put perspective back in life.
I attended Iowa State University to achieve a BS in animal science and went on to follow my dream to become a DVM, also at Iowa State University. Two important events happened during veterinary school: I was introduced to the AASV organization, and I met my future wife, Eva. Both events changed my track in life. It was an AASV annual meeting I attended as a student that introduced me to a different type of veterinary medicine (swine-specific). My wife and I have two girls, Morgan and Taryn, who are active in everything from saxophone to basketball to 4-H. They keep us on a very busy schedule. We live on a farm just outside of Carthage, Illinois.
Upon graduation in 1997, my first job took me to northeast Iowa to be a second veterinarian in a swine-exclusive practice. It was a great place to learn and live. After a year, I ventured out on my own and started my own swine practice. Being a solo practitioner helped build appreciation for good clients and an understanding family. Looking back, I started my business in the summer of 1998 – do you remember where the hog market was? Things worked out well, but a few years later I came to a crossroads: my company needed to grow, and a technical service job was offered to me by a pharmaceutical company. I went to work for Schering-Plough Animal Health as a Swine Technical Service Manager for 3 years. While working for Schering, I was fortunate to be able to work around the world in Europe, Asia, and South America. This introduced me to the global perspective of the swine industry as well as background into the manufacturing industry. As the business changed, opportunities to change jobs also presented themselves. That brought me to Carthage Veterinary Service, Ltd, in Carthage, Illinois, for the last 9 years, where I am a partner today. Our practice offers a variety of consulting services, mainly in the central United States, but also around the world. We have eight swine-exclusive veterinarians and five veterinarians in mixed-animal practice. My role has grown to service both our growing private consultation clients and oversight of the health programs for our managed multiplication and boar-stud operations.
Over the last 3 years, I have been a District 5 director for AASV. Being part of the board of directors, I can appreciate that AASV must be a strong voice of leadership for the swine industry and the veterinary profession. We have many amazing members in the organization who always showcase their talents at our annual meeting. I challenge myself more each year after seeing others push the envelope further.
I also recently joined the Public Policy Advocacy Program of the National Pork Producers Council in Washington, DC. The pork producers have a great staff, show great respect for AASV, and see that we are a very important part of the swine industry. One of the strongest take-home messages from the program is that we must speak up and be heard. Our technical and practical experience as veterinarians should guide public policy, but it won’t if we do not speak up. The political arena is always going to play a role in our business, so it is important to understand and be part of the process.
The organization must stay true to its base mission “to increase the knowledge of swine veterinarians.” There are many facets on how to accomplish this. My role will be to look for the strong individuals within our organization to work together, understand our needs and opportunities, and identify needs within our knowledge base. A key component to long-term success is the programs put in place to foster mentoring and training of young veterinarians. Being a mentor allows you to pass along knowledge, but also learn yourself. Students today have access to more data and science than most of us older veterinarians, and thus provide a good mutual learning experience.
My vision for AASV – a swine industry organization that can provide the best access to science-based knowledge, leadership in the face of new disease challenges, and dynamic response to public and political challenges.
I am proud to be a member of the AASV and would be honored to be the next vice president. I will draw upon my experience and my peers to lead the organization forward. I would appreciate your support. Thank you.
-- Doug Groth