For one week in mid-September, downtown Milwaukee, Wis., became the epicenter of bovine veterinary knowledge as the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) hosted its annual conference and pre-conference seminars. The location proved positive for attendance, attracting 1,893 registrants including 1,369 veterinarians and students from 16 countries along with hundreds of allied-industry exhibitors and guests.

Learning and camaraderie in MilwaukeeIn addition to providing educational opportunities across a range of beef and dairy topics, the conference offers a chance to recognize excellence among veterinarians and veterinary students.

During the annual business meeting and awards lunch, AABP honored Dr. Tom Latta, with the Hansford County Veterinary Hospital in Spearman, Texas, with the highly coveted Bovine Practitioner of the Year award, which is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

Six other bovine veterinarians received awards during the event.

• The Merial Excellence in Preventative Medicine Awards, initiated in 1982, recognize one dairy veterinarian and one beef veterinarian each year. This year’s dairy award went to Dr. Scott Tripp, with DHI Provo in Utah. The beef award honored Dr. Randall Spare, with the Ashland Veterinary Clinic in Ashland, Kan.

• The AABP Award of Excellence recognizes the contributions of veterinarians who serve in academia, government and industry. This year’s award went to Dr. Ken Nordlund, a dairy specialist at the University of Wisconsin.

• The Zoetis Distinguished Service Award went to Dr. Bob Van Saun, a professor of veterinary medi cine at Penn State University.

• The James A. Jarrett Award for Young Leaders went to Dr. Ben Wileman, with Epitopix LLC in Willmar, Minn.

• The Merck Mentor of the Year Award went to Dr. Bob BonDurant, a professor of food-animal reproduction in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis.

Also during the conference, AABP held its Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame banquet and inducted Dr. Don Williams of Colorado Springs, Colo., and the late Dr. Elmer Woelffer of Oconomowoc, Wis. (For more on the hall of fame inductees, see page 20 of this issue.)

AABP and corporate sponsors also invested in the future of the profession by awarding over $250,000 in scholarships to veterinary students and graduate veterinarians during the conference. These awards, funded by AABP members, AABP partners and the AABP Foundation, include the Amstutz Scholarships, Merck Animal Health Student Recognition Awards, AABP Foundation-Zoetis Scholarships, AABP Foundation- Cargill Scholarships, Student Case/ Research Presentation Competition, AABP Research Assistantship Grants, AABP Research Summaries Graduate Student Awards and the AgriLabs Dr. Bruce Wren CE Awards.

Learning and camaraderie in Milwaukee

The conference also helped restock funds for future scholarships, with live and silent auctions, a first-ever raffle, member donations and an inaugural 5K Stampede fun run raising over $60,000 for the Amstutz Scholarship Fund.

AABP’s live and silent auctions included 90 items donated by members, veterinary student organizations, industry partners and friends of AABP. The auctions doubled the money raised from last year. A new event, the 5K Stampede on a trail in downtown Milwaukee along Lake Michigan, attracted 175 runners, including one dressed as a cow and some students adorned with cow ears and ear tags. Novartis and Charleston|Orwig sponsored the run which brought in $4,000 to the fund.

Dr. Jim Floyd, chairman of the AABP Amstutz Scholarship Committee, said, “We had excellent success fundraising this year through individual AABP members asking for donations from members, industry and allied businesses. Last year’s proceeds were about $27,000, so we more than doubled our fundraising for the Amstutz Scholarship Fund this year.”

 

Members also took time to plan for the future of AABP. “Now more than ever, it’s important for our profession to be versatile and provide a diverse array of services to their clients,” said immediate past president Nigel Cook, BVSc, MRCVS, University of Wisconsin.

Cook noted that in the past year, AABP has made progress developing guidelines for its membership on a variety of topics including euthanasia, the handling of non-ambulatory cattle, implementation of the veterinary-client-patient relationship, mitigation of painful procedures and more. The organization also added to its staff, offered free online access to continuing education, provided free access to journal articles through the Texas A&M Medical Services Library and adopted new mission and vision statements emphasizing the profession’s role in the production of safe food from cattle that are well cared for.

Dan Grooms, DVM, PhD, Michigan State University, took the helm as AABP’s 50th president. “The 46th annual AABP meeting in Milwaukee was built around the theme of finding opportunities in the face of new challenges,” he said. “How we adapt and change to ongoing challenges is really what is important if we as a profession want to continue to thrive and be relevant, and I believe that we will adapt and we will remain a vital part of the food supply industry.”

The 2014 AABP conference will be held Sept. 18-20 in Albuquerque, N.M. More information is available on the AABP website, AABP.org.