Dan Thomson, Jones professor of veterinary medicine, director of the Beef Cattle Institute and assistant dean of outreach for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, has been honored as the 2015 National Beef Quality Assurance Educator of the Year.

Selected by a committee of representatives from universities, state beef councils and affiliated groups, the National Beef Quality Assurance Educator award recognizes key cattle industry influencers who promote Beef Quality Assurance Program principles on a daily basis. Started in 2009, the award is sponsored in part by the Beef Checkoff Program with additional financial support provided by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.

As a practicing veterinarian and an educator, Thomson has worked to deliver the Beef Quality Assurance Program message to beef producers throughout Kansas and the U.S. through hundreds of personal presentations to ranchers, cattle feeders, beef processors, retailers and restaurateurs as a means of ensuring the production of wholesome, sustainable beef.

Thomson has overseen and managed the development of a system for delivering online Beef Quality Assurance training and certification at http://www.animalcaretraining.org. Through this digital, Web-based medium, Thomson has contributed to the increase in industry awareness, acceptance and adoption of the Beef Quality Assurance Program as the training tool of choice for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of beef and the health and welfare of beef animals. This online training is especially effective in areas of the U.S. where logistics, geographic isolation or lack of resources have made in-person Beef Quality Assurance Program training difficult.

Thomson also has been involved in development of other new tools for dissemination of Beef Quality Assurance Program training, including the Beef Quality Assurance self-assessment guides for cow/calf, stocker and feedlot producers.

"Dr. Dan Thomson is a leader amongst leaders and is devoted not only to redefining his profession as a veterinarian, but also to improving the reputation of beef cattle industry through the training offered via the Beef Cattle Institute, one producer, one chef, one extension agent and one retailer at a time," said Bruce Feinberg, global animal health and welfare officer for McDonald's Corp. "I can't think of anyone more deserving of the National Beef Quality Assurance Educator Award."

Cargill's Mike Siemens, leader in animal welfare and husbandry, said Thomson's commitment to the Beef Quality Assurance Program has produced important results.

"As a fortunate peer of Dr. Thomson, I can absolutely say that he has made a significant difference and continues to do so in a very meaningful way," Siemens said. "Almost everything that he has done in his professional career has been for the betterment of the beef industry and in lockstep with the mission that has been set forth in the national Beef Quality Assurance Program efforts."

"Dan Thomson is an amazing educator. Whether he is working with students in agriculture or veterinary medicine, livestock producers, professors, corporate executives, cowboys, schoolchildren or the general public, he has an amazing ability to communicate," said Ralph C. Richardson, dean of College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. "He is equally comfortable with face-to-face interactions or online electronic media training. His passion is contagious."

As director of the Beef Cattle Institute, or BCI, Thomson oversees its mission to provide educational tools and outreach opportunities through online resources and annual issues meetings that engage and support a welfare-centered, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible beef industry to produce safe and wholesome beef products. Sponsors of the Beef Cattle Institute include Bayer Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., Elanco, Merial and Novartis. More information on the institute is available at http://www.beefcattleinstitute.org.