During its Spring Conference in Texas last week, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants honored charter member David Bechtol, DVM, with its annual Outstanding Service Award. Sponsored by Merck Animal Health, the award is presented to any current or past AVC member for outstanding contributions to the AVC. 

Dr. Bechtol, widely regarded as a pioneer in feedyard consulting and research. Bechtol, a native Texan, graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor Degree of Science in 1964 and received his DVM degree in 1965. Before attending college, he served in the United States Marine Corp.

As founder and president of Palo Duro Consulting Research and Feedlot and Agri-Research Center, Inc. in Canyon, Texas, Bechtol has been one of the leading feedyard consultants and researchers over the past four decades.  Palo Duro Consulting, according to its mission statement, aims to serve as a link for research, education and problem solving between its research facility and the pharmaceutical, biological, feed additive and food animal industries, and to promote proper use of livestock products and provide the consuming public with a wholesome and economical supply of food.

Bechtol is a charter member of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC), served as the academy’s first president in 1972 and 1973 and was selected as AVC Consultant of the Year in 1986. He was the first veterinarian to receive the Certified Angus Beef Industry Achievement Award at the Feeding Quality Forum in 2013 and was inducted into the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame in 2015. Along with numerous industry associations, boards and councils, Dr. Bechtol has also served as adjunct professor in the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at Texas A&M University.

Bechtol has published numerous research papers in scientific journals, along with reference publications for veterinarians and cattle feeders including “Beef Production Medicine,” “Necropsy Techniques for Feedlot Personnel,” “Cattle Disease Guide” and “Cattle Treatment Guide.”  Those resources are available on his company’s website at paloduro-consulting.com.

Bechtol also is an accomplished photographer, an interest that began with using photographs as diagnostic and educational tools in veterinary medicine. During a 1985 consulting trip to South Africa, he became interested in wildlife photography, and he now specializes in that art form, focusing on animals and landscapes in the southwestern United States and internationally. His work has been selected for display in several prestigious shows and galleries.