I did not intend to be a swine veterinarian. I planned to be a general mixed-animal practicing veterinarian. When I got to Canistota, South Dakota, the practice didn’t have a swine-focused guy. I received a call from one farm that had severe coccidiosis and 106 aluminum farrowing crates all in the same room. Many attempts had already been made at getting rid of the coccidiosis. I was blessed in that the farm owners were ready to try anything to cure the disease. We bought a steam cleaner and some leather chaps for the crew. Within two rounds around the farrowing room, coccidiosis was gone. Then they called their swine-producing friends who started calling me. They, in turn, called their friends. Pretty soon I had no time for any other kind of vet call. I am sure glad that happened.
Now I “do what I do” mainly because of the non-financial rewards of practicing swine veterinary medicine. The personal client relationships invigorate me. Sioux Nation Ag Center is an awesome place to work. The team there rocks. I really have enjoyed watching this company evolve. We have some really good pig people. Also, the pigs themselves and the veterinary medical tasks needed by them are fascinating. Folks say health is king in swine production. I see that often. As I watch production and welfare practices continue to improve rapidly, I am totally blessed to be working in our industry. “Precision ag” in the swine-production farm is a term I saw Dennis DiPietre use recently. This concept is so true.
I can’t even fathom the thought of retirement, even though I am about in my “5th or 6th parity.” I may be just out of my prime. I figured that part out when I tried to jump up onto the second level of a transport trailer during a recent audit and hit the thing and fell right on my butt. I used to be able to jump that high easily. I would like to get to parity 9 but know I must continue to excel in practice. These parity zeros and parity ones coming up are REALLY good now. We hired two recently (Dr Jon Ertl and Dr Luke Baldwin).
The swine producers over the years have been so good to work with. Some are now my best friends. My Hutterite producers are really no different than my non-Hutterite folks. I enjoy the God-centered culture and family-centered lifestyle they embrace. I hope I get to continue to work with all of our producers well into my 9th parity.
Learning, along with all you folks, continues to lead me in a professionally rewarding life. Thanks to so many, many of you.
Monte Fuhrman, DVM
Sioux Nation Ag Center