Dr. Fred Gingrich is a practicing dairy veterinarian in Ashland Ohio for the past twenty years. His interests include reproduction, nutrition, milk quality and facility design.  He is also the president-elect of the American Association of Bovine Practioners.

If you could take urban consumers to visit a farm or ranch, what are the first things you would show them or tell them?

I would show them the amount of work and dedication that dairy farmers have towards their chosen profession.  I would show them all of the little details that farmers do to make cows more comfortable such as deep bedding in sand freestalls, fans, sprinklers, clean calving pens, and blankets for calves in the winter.  I would show them the nutritionally balanced diet cows receive and how it is mixed on the farm.  Spending some time in the parlor to show consumers how milk is harvested, how cows that are treated are marked and their milk is dumped, and how procedures are followed to make milk a safe and nutritious product.

What are some of the most satisfying aspects of your work as a veterinarian?

Working with cattle is the most satisfying part of my job.  I became a veterinarian because I wanted to help animals and that is what I get to do everyday on dairy farms.  We help cows by preventing disease and treating animals that get sick to return them to health and alleviate their suffering.  I also enjoy working with farmers and having the same level of enthusiasm for my job as I did when I started twenty years ago....perhaps even more enthusiasm.  Finally, the job perks are great too....working outside on a beautiful spring morning, delivering a live newborn calf, fixing a cow that has a problem and helping farmers achieve their goals.  It is a great job!

Find Dr. Gingrich on Twitter at @phishcowdoc and Ashland Dairy and Veterinary Services on Facebook.

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