This month, Bovine Veterinarian celebrates its 20th anniversary. Back in 1993, a visionary group of editors and marketers at Vance Publishing recognized an opportunity. The company already published a magazine for beef producers — then called Drovers Journal — and a magazine for dairy producers — Dairy Herd Management. The subscription lists for those magazines included veterinarians who serve the dairy and beef industry, and there were no lay publications directly targetingthat influential audience.

So Bovine Veterinarian was born, to be mailed to veterinarians and other professionals along with Drovers and Dairy Herd Management. The inaugural issue launched in September 1993.

The company hired Geni Wren to serve as editor, and over the next 20  years, she developed an amazing network among the veterinary community, and built the Bovine Veterinarian brand to what it is today. Geni left the editor position in the spring of this year to be the communications director at the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP). For more about Geni, read “Building a brand” in this issue.

Also for this issue, we’ve developed two articles to help commemorate our 20th anniversary. One recognizes 20 influential dairy and beef veterinarians from the past 20 years. The other, which comes from Geni Wren and AABP, summarizes 20 major impacts, both positive and negative, on bovine veterinary medicine over those same 20 years.

While we’re reflecting on history, does it seem like we’ve been discussing and debating animal traceability for a long time? Back in 2002, I participated in a diverse committee, organized by USDA and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, intended to develop a framework for a national animal-traceability system.

The program was focused entirely on animal health, with a goal of rapid containment of infectious-disease outbreaks in U.S. livestock herds. The process resulted  in the U.S. Animal IdentificationPlan, or USAIP, which later evolved into USDA’s National Animal Identification System, or NAIS. That plan ran into considerable opposition in the country, along with economic and logistical barriers, and eventually was scrapped.

Now, though, we have a system in place, as USDA’s Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rules took effect in March 2013.

Veterinarians will be closely involved as covered cattle generally will need an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (ICVI) to cross state lines, and buyers and sellers in both states will need to retain ICVI records. Other forms of documentation can substitute for the ICVI, if the shipping and receiving states agree on standards. The ICVI, however, remains as the “gold standard” for ADT documentation and will be accepted across the system.

But while USDA’s ADT rules are fairly clear, harmonization between states and tribes will be critical for the program’s success and feasibility for producers and veterinarians. For more on the ADT program, read “ADT: Coming into focus” in this issue.