For the first time in the almost 20-year history of Bovine Veterinarian, Geni Wren’s name does not appear as a byline in this issue. As many of you know, Geni stepped down as editor and took a position with the American Association of Bovine Practitioners earlier this spring. In taking over the editor position at Bovine Veterinarian, I know I have some big boots to fill. (Geni’s boots actually are quite small, but you know what I mean.) The transition, however, has been smooth so far and I’ve had some great support from beef and dairy veterinarians as sources and advisors. Prior to taking this position, I spent nearly 20 years covering beef production for our companion brand, Drovers /CattleNetwork.

Now, in shifting to Bovine Veterinarian, I look forward to serving the veterinary community and learning more about the issues affecting your businesses. I’ll be calling on many of you asking you to share your expertise on specific topics. I’ll also be asking for guidance on the types of information we should provide and how we should provide it. Even if I don’t ask, please feel free to send me your suggestions. We also encourage a dialog within the magazine and online, and welcome contributions from veterinarians and other professionals, so drop me an email or give me a call if you have something to contribute. I’ve observed over the years that beef and dairy veterinarians, in spite of their busy schedules, tend to be generous with their time and especially with their knowledge. I’ve sat in on countless seminars and presentations in which veterinarians freely and expertly shared what they have learned with producers or their fellow veterinarians, often for no compensation other than travel expenses and a free meal or two.

It’s not surprising that veterinarians are the most trusted and respected influencers among beef and dairy producers. In their 2008 cow-calf survey, the National Animal Health Monitoring System asked producers about the importance of sources of general information to operating the cow-calf operation. Fifty-three percent of respondents listed veterinarians as “very important,” compared with other producers in second place at 24 percent and Extension service, vo-ag or university sources next at 21 percent. Dairy producers have similar opinions.

A University of Arkansas study reported in the Journal of Dairy Science asked top dairy producers around the country about the level of influence of various sources, with 0 meaning never any influence and 5 meaning frequent influence. Veterinarians topped the list, averaging 4.2, with other producers and private consultants tied for second at 3.4 on the five-point scale. I’m excited to work with such a respected and influential group.

I’m a different person from Geni Wren. (Who isn’t, right?) The writing style and overall feel of this magazine and our associated media will change somewhat. We might make some other changes as well. I’m determined, though, to keep some things the same, including a commitment to the editorial excellence this magazine has attained and a passion for the beef and dairy businesses, the cattle and the people who care for them.