A new award honoring a lifetime of achievement in bovine veterinary medicine has been bestowed on two of the most deserving veterinarians in the industry. Dan Upson, DVM, PhD, Manhattan, Kan., and Harold Amstutz, DVM, West Lafayette, Ind., received the inaugural Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame (CPVHoF) award for beef and dairy, respectively.

Upson and Amstutz first Hall-of-Famers Honored at the recent 44th American Association of Bovine Practitioners conference in St. Louis, Upson and Amstutz were both present to receive the awards and the congratulations of over 700 bovine veterinarians and
veterinary students at a banquet sponsored by Merck Animal Health. 

The Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame was established to celebrate the rich traditions of American cattle production veterinary medicine by honoring the exceptional men and women who have made lasting contributions to their profession. Inductees are true pioneers whose achievements span their entire careers. The award is sponsored by the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, Merck Animal Health, Osborn & Barr Communications and Bovine Veterinarian magazine.

The inductees were selected from among their peers, and all AABP and AVC members had the opportunity to vote for one beef and one dairy veterinarian from a list of three beef and three dairy veterinarians selected by a nominating committee.

Upson and Amstutz first Hall-of-Famers Upson laid pharmacology groundwork
2011 CPVHoF beef inductee, Dan Upson, is best known for his commitment to helping ranchers produce safe, wholesome beef through residue avoidance and providing practitioners with knowledge and guidance for the prudent use of antimicrobials in beef cattle production medicine. He helped lay the groundwork for regulations in drug compounding, extralabel drug use in food animals, and for veterinary prescription drug distributors. His Handbook of Clinical Veterinary Pharmacology is in its fourth edition and is widely used throughout the field of veterinary medicine.

“Receiving this award is overwhelming,” Upson says. “Cattle production veterinary medicine has been my
life’s work, and I am very grateful for this honor.”

A native of Hutchinson, Kan., Dr. Upson received his bachelor’s, Master’s and veterinary medical degrees from Kansas State University. He established a private practice in Pretty Prairie, Kan., for seven years and then had a 35-year tenure at K-State, teaching pharmacology and serving as a section leader in veterinary extension. He also enjoyed working as a Big 8 football official for college football games. He now is professor emeritus in pharmacology at K-State.

Upson is a past president of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and the Kansas State Alumni Association board of directors. He also served on the AVC board of directors for three terms. Upson and his wife, Stephanie, live in Manhattan, Kan., and have three children: Connie, Ron and Elizabeth.

Upson redefined clinical pharmacology
“For food animals, Dr. Upson is the one who put the ‘clinical’ in clinical pharmacology,” says former student and longtime friend Mike Apley, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVCP, Kansas State University. “He was the pioneer in taking the science of pharmacology and applying it to clinical applications by food animal practitioners. And in his work, he wanted nothing else but to help all of us get it right. “

Upson taught Apley in veterinary school, was his major professor for his PhD, and also taught Apley’s father in vet school. “Dan brought a heightened awareness of the consequences of our therapeutic and preventive choices in food animals by placing an emphasis on avoiding residues through correct withdrawal times,” Apley explains. “He was also a constant voice for adhering to the basic principles of prudent drug use. Dan was part of the pioneering group that brought us the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act and also has worked in the area of education on compounding.”

Apley was one of about 20 students that went through the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine as the son or daughter of a parent whom Dr. Upson also taught in veterinary school. “If you sum up vet students in class, practicing veterinarians at meetings, undergraduates in his incredibly popular anatomy and physiology and food animal pharmacology courses, and producers at meetings, you come up with thousands of people over five decades that have gone forward to be pillars of the beef industry,” Apley notes.

Apley says this is a well-deserved honor for Upson. “Dan has forged hundreds of relationships within the veterinary profession and beef cattle industry. He has served as a resource and as a mentor in these relationships with the result being improved standards for drug use in food animals. Above and beyond facts and regimens, Dan’s imprint on the industry has been that we should always think about what we are doing with food-animal drugs, with consideration of both the animal and the consumer before we act. He is best presented as an emotion, an attitude, a passion for doing what is right as we produce the food that feeds this nation and this world.”

Amstutz’s decades of participation
The 2011 dairy inductee for the CPVHoF, Harold Amstutz, is well known for pioneering and supporting both national and international organizations for bovine veterinarians. He held several leadership positions throughout his career, including roles as president of the World Association for Buiatrics and the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. He also was chairman of the organizing committee and inaugural president of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1972 and served AABP in various capacities, including 23 years as the organization’s first executive vice president.

“At 92 years of age, this is an extraordinary honor,” Amstutz says. “Receiving this award from among such a prestigious group of nominees means so much to me.”

Born near Barrs Mill, Ohio, Amstutz received his bachelor’s and veterinary medical degrees from The Ohio State University. He had a private veterinary practice in Orrville, Ohio, before becoming an instructor of veterinary medicine at The Ohio State University, where he later became chairman of the Department of Veterinary Medicine. He moved on to become head of the Department of Veterinary Clinics at Purdue University and served as the section head of large animal medicine. His research focused on calf diseases, bovine respiratory disease, dehorning, bovine lameness and stray voltage.

Amstutz is a professor emeritus of veterinary clinical sciences at Purdue University and consults with dairy producers, veterinarians and insurance companies across North America. He and his wife, Mabelle Jo, live in West Lafayette, Ind., and have four children: Suzanne, Cynthia, Patricia and David.

Amstutz made a lasting impression
Keith Sterner, DVM, Sterner Veterinary Clinic, Ionia, Mich., presented the CPVHoF award to Amstutz at the banquet. Sterner says his relationship with Amstutz began a bit by default because of his dad’s (the late Ed Sterner, DVM) active participation in and involvement with AABP. “Dad and Mom were personal friends with Harold and Jo Amstuz,” Sterner says. “Dad encouraged my participation in AABP and thus introduced me to Harold. It has turned into a 37-year friendship so far.”

Sterner says the 92-year old Amstutz has brought two major things to the cattle industry. “First, is his legacy of continuing education through the AABP and all of its various member information venues. He has been the glue that kept everything together through its critical formative years, and he saw to it that the organization built itself on a firm financial foundation that gave its members extraordinary value for their membership.
Second, he has provided a legacy for ensuring future generations of bovine veterinarians through his initiation of the scholarship fund named after him. He has always been concerned with the next generation and helping to
provide for them.” The Amstutz Scholarship fund, through AABP, awarded nine $7,500 scholarships to veterinary students at the 2011 meeting.

“I can’t think of a single person who is more deserving of being one of the inaugural inductees than Harold,” Sterner adds. “He epitomizes leader in every sense of the word. His role as leader was not just lip service, he has lived that role every single day of his adult life, both in deed and by example. He is truly a gentleman and a scholar who has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the profession and the industry.”

Amstutz and Upson were presented with Cattle Production Veterinary Medicine Hall of Fame plaques, and additional plaques will be provided to their former universities.