Dr. Rick Tubbs, current President of the AASP, reported in March 1998 in his President's Message that he left a swine extension position at the University of Missouri-Columbia to become a swine practitioner in the real world. No sooner had he nailed out his shingle to the practice and settled into the hard life of blood testing sows, filling out health papers, and touring packing plants before dawn to retrieve tissues from clients' animals than his new partner in the practice departed for industry. Did he worry? If he did, it was not apparent to me. Instead, he used his knowledge, skills, and business acumen to change with the shifting sands around him. He charted his swine practice in new directions and focused on the needs of his clients. He responded to the changes in a positive manner and was successful.
In addition, Dr. Tubbs was the Vice-President of the AASP and the Chairman of the Scientific Program Planning Committee, which planned and delivered the successful 1998 AASP Annual Meeting. He did what many of his predecessors have done before him in this industry and organization: he responded to change by seeking new ways to deliver swine veterinary services, information, knowledge about swine diseases, diagnostics, treatment, control, production practices, production standards and benchmarks, and economic data about the business of producing pork.
I believe that Dr. Tubbs demonstrated the essence of a swine practitioner's ability to change with a changing environment. Change in the swine industry is certain. The mission of the AASP remains the same: pork producers need valid, credible, scientific information. Disease diagnosis, treatment, and control are old topics that are still relevant to what we do. Some new topics have been added to the list: e.g., artificial insemination, multisite commingling production systems, xenotransplantation, postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, and updates on the control of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.
Pork producers are currently facing major economic challenges. The structure of the United States pork industry continues to change, and the rate of change is accelerating. This change will affect members of the AASP. And the issues that confront the swine industry and swine practitioners are becoming more complex, such as:
It is both a challenge and an honor to serve the membership of the AASP. Part of this challenge will be answered by the Scientific Program Planning Committee, which has assembled the best and brightest speakers for the 1999 AASP Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.
Please do not limit your involvement in the AASP to attending the Annual Meeting, however. The AASP is what our members make it. Participate in the organization in the manner that best complements your abilities and interests. The AASP can and will rise to the challenges of the future, but only on the strength of the membership and their commitment to and participation in the organization and the industry.
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This page last updated April 19, 2012.