EVP, long a premier credential for elite swine practitioners, will soon be available for beef veterinarians. The inaugural “EVP in Beef Health Management” unites the expertise of the University of Illinois in post-graduate education with the expertise at Kansas State University in beef cattle production and health management.

Enrollment is now open for the course that begins in April 2017. The program will meet on Kansas State University’s new Olathe campus.

EVP template for success

“For 25 years the Executive Veterinary Program at Illinois has been developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that veterinarians need to succeed in today’s agriculture,” said Dr. Jim Lowe, who is coordinating the EVP Beef course. Lowe is an associate professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois and an international consultant in both the swine and the beef industries.

EVP in Swine Health Management launched in 1991. It followed a unique model: enroll a cohort of progressive practitioners and bring in dynamic teachers to deliver highly relevant content in an environment that challenges participants while fostering a culture of trust. The program consists of 10 two-day modules spread over 18 months.

Participants in EVP Swine, which has been offered six times, have come from 16 states and three countries. The 222 graduates include 18 presidents of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), 15 winners of the AASV Practitioner of the Year award, and four of the nine recipients of the AASV Young Veterinarian of the Year Award. Lowe earned the EVP Swine credential in 2000.

New EVP beef collaboration

“We’re excited to bring the EVP model to beef veterinarians, drawing on the deep knowledge of beef production and health management available in the veterinary faculty at Kansas State University,” he said.

Lowe established the topics and speakers for the new program in collaboration with Dr. Dan Thomson, the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology at Kansas State University.

“This program can become a key factor in how veterinarians master the challenges that face the beef industry over the next 20 years,” said Thomson, who is the global co-leader for McDonald’s Beef Health and Welfare committee and serves on the Animal Welfare Advisory Board of the Food Marketing Institute.

Thomson will be a featured speaker in EVP Beef, along with Mike Apley and Chris Reinhardt, also with Kansas State; Guy Loneragan, of Texas Tech University; and Tom Noffsinger, an independent feedlot consultant with over 32 years in beef cattle practice. Among the topics to be covered are “Improving Outcomes Through Clinical Reasoning,” “Human Impacts on Disease Occurrence and Detection,” and “Understanding Our Customers and the Food Supply Chain of the 21st Century.”

EVP creates skills and networking ppportunities

Thomson was instrumental in bringing about the collaboration between the two veterinary colleges. He was an invited speaker at the sixth offering of EVP Swine, which concluded in April 2016. The 40 participants in that program included veterinarians who were responsible for the care of 40 percent of all pigs marketed in the U.S. and who serviced 70 percent of the genetics sold in North America. Thomson anticipates that same quantity and quality of industry leaders for EVP Beef.

“I was impressed by the way the EVP participants spoke about the impact the program was having on their careers,” he recalled. “I told the program leaders at Illinois that beef veterinarians need the skills and networking opportunities EVP created just as much as swine vets do.”

Lowe agrees. “Today’s food animal veterinarians need not only a robust understanding of medicine but also leadership, systems management, communication, and data analysis skills,” he said. “These are things you don’t learn in veterinary school.”

Space in EVP Beef is limited to 40 participants. To learn more, visit evp.illinois.edu or email ope@vetmed.illinois.edu.