Pork PRODUCER PARTNERS SMactivities
The Austin Veterinary Clinic, Austin, Minnesota, is our featured Pork Producer Partner clinic for this issue. Dr. Steve Olson (University of Minnesota, 1982) and his associates, Drs. John Stevenson (Iowa State University, 1973) and Lowell Meyer (Iowa State University, 1978), handle the large animal portion of this busy five-person mixed practice.
Dr. Olson's focus is primarily swine and he has been actively involved in PQA educational efforts with area swine producers since the program's inception in 1989. His initial PQA educational efforts revolved around his Pork Challenge producers, a core group of his key swine clients that meets periodically to share ideas. In the years since, he has cooperated with the local pork producer association and extension agent to organize a series of PQA educational meetings for local swine producers. According to Dr. Olson, "my better clients have always supported the PQA program. They recognize that following the PQA directives is good for the industry and good for them, too."
Hormel's recent announcement that as of January 1, 1999, all producers who ship pork to its facilities must be PQA Level III-certified has stimulated a new wave of interest in PQA by producers in Dr. Olson's practice area. To respond to this need, he spearheaded a cooperative PQA educational effort with the local pork producer association and county extension agents in March 1998, which culminated in two highly successful meetings, each attended by 50-60 producers. In addition, Dr. Olson has conducted PQA training for all of the Hormel feed sales personnel.
During my interview with Dr. Olson for this article, he related an excellent example of how his educational efforts have paid off in helping to ensure his clients produce a safe, high-quality pork product for consumers. He recently conducted PQA training for a large producer and three farms that contract-farrow for that producer. Prior to the training meeting, the producer had required that the farms buy their own syringes and needles. To reduce expenses, the farm workers would often reuse needles, increasing the potential for broken needles and abscesses. Because of Dr. Olson's educational efforts, the producer has since changed his policy and now provides the syringes and needles for these farms.
The AASP and NPPC salute Dr. Steve Olson for his PQA promotional efforts. Congratulations and thank you.
--contributed by Dr. Teddi Wolff
AASP Public Relations Committee