AASV posts findings of membership survey

MarketSense, Inc, recently conducted a survey of the AASV membership at the request of the association’s board of directors. The objective of the survey was to gauge members’ satisfaction with the activities and direction of the association. Dave Soorholtz, company president, presented the results of the survey to the board during the AASV’s recent strategic planning session. The results of the survey and MarketSense’s interpretation of the findings have been posted for your review at https://www.aasv.org/documents/AASVQuantitativeReport11514FINAL.pdf.

The objectives of the survey were to

  •  Assess AASV members’ perceptions of the organization and the services-programs that it provides,
  •  Assess member attitudes toward proposed changes-enhancements in AASV programming,
  •  Identify opportunities for new programming-services that members feel AASV should offer in the future, and
  •  Establish AASV members’ key issues and needs in their businesses.

A total of 236 members responded to the survey and appeared to be fairly representative of the membership demographics of the association as a whole.

The AASV resources-services rated most beneficial included the Journal of Swine Health and Production, AASV e-Letter, AASV Annual Meeting, and the AASV Membership Directory. JSHAP and the e-Letter were used by 96% of the respondents.

The respondents rated the association’s performance on key programs as quite high. All of the advocacy areas except “Trade” and “Practice/Business Management” were rated highly for both importance and AASV’s performance. The AASV performs highest on “Animal Health,” “Antimicrobial Use,” “Pork Safety,” “Education of Colleagues,” and “Animal Welfare.”

The association has been considering adding an additional staff person and posed a series of survey questions designed to gauge the level of membership support for such a move. Over half of respondents highly agree that additional programming and staffing is needed to address emerging diseases. Additionally, over 60% of respondents highly agree that the additional programming-staffing will benefit the swine industry. However, only 39% of respondents agree that the additional programming-staffing will help prevent or mitigate future outbreaks. Members requested more information regarding the overall strategy and objectives, funding, and responsibilities of the position.

Thanks to MarketSense, Inc, for conducting the survey and to everyone who took the time to respond. Your feedback is vital as we continually strive to improve the association’s benefits and services for the betterment of our membership.

NPPC names assistant director of science and technology

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has named Dr Daniel Kovich as assistant director of science and technology, focusing on food and feed safety and animal handling issues. Kovich, who began his duties November 17, 2014, will be located in NPPC’s Washington, DC office, reporting to NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr Liz Wagstrom.

Kovich comes to NPPC from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where he managed state animal welfare and control programs, including animal control officer training and technical support, animal care inspection services, emergency animal sheltering, and regulatory enforcement activity. He previously was staff veterinarian for animal health and welfare in the department’s Office of Veterinary Services and served as a foreign animal disease diagnostician.

Prior to working for the state of Virginia, Kovich served in the US Public Health Service – attaining the rank of lieutenant – where he was detailed to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service as a supervisory public health veterinarian. He also worked as a research assistant for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Animal Health and Food Safety and for Iowa State University’s Department of Animal Science.

Kovich received a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State University and earned a master’s degree in public health and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota.

AASV promotes swine veterinary careers at National FFA Convention

In an ongoing project of the AASV Student Recruitment Committee, AASV members represented and promoted the swine veterinary profession at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The AASV has manned a booth at the convention each year since 2008 in an effort to inform a youthful, agriculture-friendly population about opportunities for careers in swine medicine.

Student Recruitment Committee member Dr Todd Wolff coordinated the staffing of the AASV booth. He and AASV’s executive director, Dr Tom Burkgren, were joined by Drs Natalie Baker, Deanne Day, and Bethany Heitkamp to represent the association at the 3-day event. During that time, the group visited with hundreds of high school and college students and their instructors, and distributed posters and information about swine diseases, production practices, biosecurity guidelines, and suggested courses for students interested in veterinary school.

“Vets on Call” videos showing swine veterinarians at work helped attract attention to the AASV booth. The AASV’s “advisor packet” of educational resources for ag educators proved very popular, as the supply of 250 packets was exhausted before the end of the second day, and many advisors signed up to receive information by e-mail.

The AASV representatives were pleased with the interest shown and questions asked by FFA attendees. For a personal reflection on this outreach activity, be sure to read this issue’s Executive Director’s message (page 7).

AASV approves mission statement and 2015 budget

The AASV Board of Directors and the committee chairpersons held their annual strategic planning session on September 29, 2014, in Perry, Iowa, prior to the board of directors’ meeting on September 30, with AASV President Dr Michelle Sprague presiding. The complete minutes of the meeting are available on the AASV Web site at https://www.aasv.org/aasv/board.htm. A summary of some of the items discussed and action taken follows.


The board approved a revision of the AASV Mission Statement to the following:

“It is the mission of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians to

  •  Increase the knowledge of swine veterinarians,
  •  Protect and promote the health and well-being of pigs,
  •  Advocate science-based approaches to veterinary, industry, and public health issues,
  •  Promote the development and availability of resources that enhance the effectiveness of professional activities,
  •  Create opportunities that inspire personal and professional growth and interaction, and
  •  Mentor students, encouraging lifelong careers as swine veterinarians.”

The previous statement had not been reviewed in over a decade, and the board members felt the current wording better expressed the association’s focus.

In other business, the board took the following actions:

1.  Voted to hold the board of directors’ spring meeting separately from the AASV Annual Meeting. The next board meeting will be held Monday, March 30, 2015, in Perry, Iowa.

2.  Approved the “Basic Guidelines of Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials in Pork Production,” as revised and submitted by the AASV Pharmaceutical Issues Committee, and granted permission for the co-labeling of the guidelines by AASV and AVMA.  The revised guidelines can be reviewed on the AASV website at https://www.aasv.org/documents/2014_JUG.pdf.

3.  Affirmed the current annual meeting policy of reserving Saturday through Tuesday noon for AASV meeting program activities, and requesting that affiliated events take place outside that time frame.

2015 budget

Dr George Charbonneau presented the budget committee’s recommendations and proposed budget for 2015. The board approved the proposed budget and passed the following budget-related changes:

  •  2015 membership dues are increased to $220
  •  2015 annual meeting registration fees are increased:
    • Members, pre-registration, $345
    • Members, at the meeting, $380
    • Non-member veterinarians, $475
  • Tech Table fee for 2016 annual meeting is increased to $2200
  • Rent for AASV office is increased to $25,200 annually ($2100 monthly).

Looking for a scientific paper? Texas A&M will “Get it for you”

An agreement with the Texas A&M University Medical Sciences Library (MSL) allows AASV members to utilize the MSL’s “Get it for Me” document retrieval service. Using the service, AASV members may request literature searches, and the MSL staff will conduct the search using databases appropriate to the topic and available to the library. Search results will be delivered within 2 business days, free of charge. Additionally, members may request copies of journal articles and book chapters available within the library’s extensive collection. Requested items will be provided free of charge within 2 business days.

The Get it for Me service is available to all AASV members except students and those with academic appointments, since they already have access to university library resources. Members must register in order to access the service. To register for the free service, follow the step-by-step instructions available at http://guides.library.tamu.edu/aasv.

2015 AASV Annual Meeting goes magical – Electronic proceedings and a mobile app!

At its 2013 fall meeting, the AASV Board of Directors voted to discontinue printing the annual meeting proceedings books starting in 2015. Therefore, in keeping with the theme of the Magic Kingdom and the high-tech world of Harry Potter, we’re going electronic this year in Orlando. There will be no printed proceedings at the meeting this year – no big book, no seminar booklets. This change was not made lightly. The inefficiencies and costs associated with printing and distributing these publications, however, helped rationalize the final decision.

All of the proceedings (including seminar papers) will be available for members to download from the AASV Web site prior to (and during) the conference. They will be available in several formats:

1.  Single pdf of the proceedings of the regular meeting sessions with linked table of contents; separate pdfs for seminar booklets.

2.  Mobile-optimized offline Web app to provide access to papers (similar to what we’ve had previously on the CD ROM).

3.  Individual files as part of the Swine Information Library, as in the past.

There will also be an option on the meeting registration form to purchase a USB drive containing all of the proceedings (including seminars) for a small additional fee.

If members wish to have printed proceedings, they should plan to download the files and print them out before they come to the conference.

We will also have a mobile app for our meeting this year, in addition to print copies of the program booklet. The mobile app will contain, among other things, the complete meeting schedule with links to the location, papers and speaker information for each presentation, exhibitor listing, maps of the meeting and exhibitor areas, the opportunity to create a personalized schedule of presentations to attend, and a “to do” list. The app will be available in iOS, Android, and HTML5 formats, and meeting attendees may download it from the app stores prior to the conference (we’ll send out an e-mail with details when it’s available).

Hogg Scholarship applications due February 1

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians Foundation is pleased to offer the Hogg Scholarship, established to honor the memory of longtime AASV member and swine industry leader Dr Alex Hogg. Applications for the $10,000 scholarship will be accepted until February 1, 2015, and the scholarship recipient will be announced on Sunday, March 1, during the Foundation Luncheon at the AASV 2015 Annual Meeting in Orlando.

The intent of the scholarship is to assist a swine veterinarian in his or her efforts to return to school for graduate education (resulting in a master’s degree or higher) in an academic field of study related to swine health and production.

Dr Alex Hogg’s career serves as the ideal model for successful applicants. After 20 years in mixed animal practice, Dr Hogg pursued a master’s degree in veterinary pathology. He subsequently became Nebraska swine extension veterinarian and professor at the University of Nebraska. Upon “retirement,” Dr Hogg capped off his career with his work for MVP Laboratories. Always an enthusiastic learner, at age 75 he graduated from the Executive Veterinary Program offered at the University of Illinois.

The scholarship application requirements are outlined below, and on the AASV website at http://www.aasv.org/foundation/hoggscholarship.htm.

Hogg Scholarship application requirements

Applicants for the Hogg Scholarship shall have

  •  Five or more years of experience as a swine veterinarian, either in a private practice or in an integrated production setting, and
  •  Five or more years of continuous membership in the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Applicants are required to submit the following for consideration as a Hogg Scholar:

  •  Current curriculum vitae,
  •  Letter of intent detailing his or her plans for graduate education and future plans for participation and employment within the swine industry, and
  •  Two letters of reference from AASV members attesting to the applicant’s qualifications to be a Hogg Scholar.

Applications and requests for information may be addressed to AASV Foundation, 830 26th Street, Perry, IA 50220-2328; Tel: 515-465-5255; E-mail: aasv@aasv.org.