March 2018 President’s Letter

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Published on: April 10, 2018

Let me begin by thanking Dr. Mark James for his leadership and guidance this past year as president of our association. I would also like to thank Dr. John Schneller as an the outgoing board member for his service on the board. I would like to welcome and congratulate the newly elected board members: Dr. William Croushore and Dr. Jeremy VanBoening.

I especially thank Charles Looney, PhD, for his efforts in putting together a conference that was second to none in Orlando this past year. Thanks to our membership, the conference was well attended, the venue was beautiful, and the weather was fantastic.

I would also like to thank all of the volunteers who serve and who have served on the AETA’s various committees. It is the work of the committees that is the backbone of the organization.

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AETA Education Committee Update

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Published on: April 10, 2018

Happy spring (I am writing this as the snow falls) from the Education Committee of AETA. Although I worked the two months of February and March, they seem a blur; influenza and the accompanying ailments following an immunosuppressive virus made me unenthusiastic about getting after the update for the newsletter. As of this date, we have started getting busy with spring work and setting up donors and recipients for show season, and so on. A few things have crossed my mind regarding ET that I will lay out.

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My IVF incubator is late….now what?

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Published on: April 10, 2018

By Jon Schmidt (Trans Ova Genetics)

An unfortunate reality with IVF is the occasional need to utilize commercial shipping companies in the transportation of oocytes to and embryos from the IVF lab.  Many of us who work with IVF shipments have experienced a delayed, lost, or cold incubator.  These are unfortunate events that can be catastrophic to results and end in frustrated lab staff, transfer teams, and clients.  Below are a few suggestions on how to handle incubators that are compromised in transit while embryos are going back to the practitioner or client’s farm.

d0 = OPU day
d1 = fertilization day
d7 = normal transfer day

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AETA Practice Tip: Placing CIDR

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Published on: April 10, 2018

By Tyler Dohlman (Iowa State University)

For most of us practitioners, CIDR have become a staple in our reproductive programs and will continue to be as long as they are effective. Whether they are used on donors or recipients or in artificial insemination protocols, they allow us to manipulate the estrous cycle for various needs. However, everyone has had a time when the number of CIDR put in does not match the number found when it comes time to retrieve them. This scenario can happen in a few instances: (1) we did not actually place a CIDR in the first place or (2) they fell out or were pulled out prior. CIDR, in general, should not come out sporadically, and if they do, it is usually because of poor or haphazard placement. Therefore, the latter scenario in which they are getting pulled out is more likely. In our experience, heifers are the problem child group. Heifers, curious in nature, and especially Holsteins, are all too accustomed to making our lives much more difficult by helping us pull CIDR out before our protocol says.

To mitigate this issue, I was taught at some point in my career to clip the blue attached string short. However, I usually forget to grab scissors or a knife to do such modifications to the CIDR at placement. Conveniently enough, I was taught a different modification to hide that all-too-enticing blue string. The modification is simple and easy, and rarely, if ever, do we lose CIDR in those curious Holstein heifers anymore.

If you have ever looked at a CIDR, there is a hole the same size as the blue string on the base of the CIDR. All you have to do is flip the blue string in the hole before placing the CIDR in the applicator. This hides the blue string and conveniently creates a looped handle for removal. In our hands, this modification has worked on our farms with heifers. Clients are less adaptive to this new method because they cannot see the blue string to confirm the CIDR is still in place, but the persuasive nature in me explains that if a CIDR were to fall out prior to protocol, it could prevent an ET or AI pregnancy. Caution: we commonly do this in cows also, and sometimes the blue string handle is in just a little too far and is out of reach. Then trans-rectal palpation guidance is needed to push the CIDR closure to the vulvar opening for retrieval.

On that note, I hope this helps someone and that you never lose another CIDR.

December 2017 President’s Letter

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Published on: December 27, 2017

What a great conference in Orlando! Good weather, comfortable and spacious accommodations, and a host of excellent speakers made this meeting one of the best ever. Furthermore, as I look through the over 100 surveys received, it appears that you felt the same way. The feedback you provide is crucial to providing educational and applicable future meetings of value to those in attendance. Keep up the good work!

We also have good news related to the facility inspections for Chinese export. This long anticipated procedure is now underway! Although starting late in the year, this process is in very capable hands and should move right along. And, I have been assured that no approved facility will have their status expire while awaiting inspection. Many thanks to all those involved who worked very hard to make this happen.

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8 Questions You May Have About Cryopreserving Bovine In Vivo–Derived Embryos

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Published on: December 27, 2017

John F. Hasler
Jfhasler05@msn.com
John.hasler@vetoqinol.com
Cell: 970-222-5302

Dr. Pat Comyn, the new chair of the AETA Education Committee, asked me to write a short piece clarifying some issues concerning the cryopreservation of bovine embryos for inclusion in the December issue of A Closer Look. The AETA has come a long way since our humble beginnings in 1983, and our 2017 membership now totals 556, including a large increase in the number of new members. The following facts and suggestions will be of most interest to our new and less experienced members. Not only are there many variables involved in successfully freezing and thawing bovine embryos, there also are many variations on most of the steps that do not notably detract from success rates. Having worked with many ET practitioners in 17 different states and a number of foreign countries, I have a pretty good idea of what works well and what does not. The following points are either based on published data that I deem to be replicable or based on my own experience and observations. Please feel free to contact me should you want advice or clarification.

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VitaFerm Article: Preparing Cows for Embryo Transfer

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Published on: December 27, 2017

Prepare Cows for Embryo Transfer

Embryo transfer (E.T.) is an important tool to propagate outstanding genetic influence within the herd, with the potential to produce multiple offspring of the same mating in the same year. Because of the time, labor and expense involved in creating these genetics, we reached out to Trans Ova Genetics, a leader in reproductive technologies, to provide useful information to prepare your cows for a successful E.T. program.

According to Trans Ova, successful E.T. programs require intensive management and attention to detail. The results you achieve are highly variable and the level of success is based on your ability to manage all aspects of the operation.

Get Your Recips Ready

Preparing recipient cows for their role of carrying and growing the embryo is not a lot different than preparing cows to be bred naturally. You want to keep them in a low-stress environment, be consistent in daily management practices, give all vaccinations prior to estrus and make sure their nutrition program is supplemented with high levels of trace minerals like copper, zinc and manganese that impact reproductive success.

“Nutrition is without a doubt one of the most important areas of donor and recipient management,” said Jon Schmidt, DVM and Chief Operations Officer at Trans Ova. “First of all, I believe the nutritional management of your cattle needs to be a year-long process. Attention should be placed on meeting their demands for the entire season including gestation and lactation.”

The most critical and demanding time however, includes the month before calving through the first three to four months after calving. This is the most stressful and nutritionally demanding time to allow that cow to produce a healthy calf via colostrum production, begin lactation to raise that calf and become pregnant.

Reproduction is not an essential process in survivability of that cow, and consequently suffers first if nutritional needs are not met. Maintenance and milk production will partition available energy supplies with reproduction suffering at their expense. Therefore, it is critical to meet their requirements. Ensure cows are fed a high-quality mineral especially one that optimizes zinc, selenium and copper as they are critical for successful embryo transfer outcomes. Avoid rations that are high in distiller’s byproducts or sulfur-containing forages. Avoid diets high in Urea.

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New Directors Elected to the AETA Board of Directors

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Published on: December 27, 2017

At the 2017 AETA & CETA/ACTE Joint Annual Convention, two new directors were elected to the AETA Board of Directors. Their terms will start on January 1st, 2018. William Croushore, DVM, and Jeremy VanBoening, DVM, are the two new representatives:

Dr. Bill Croushore attended veterinary school at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (Virginia Tech), graduating in 1997.  Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Croushore attended Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and graduated in 1992.  He practiced pharmacy in southwest Virginia until he was accepted into veterinary school in 1993.  Dr. Croushore was raised in Ruffsdale, Westmoreland County in southwest Pennsylvania.
Dr. Croushore’s professional interests include embryo transfer, pushing the limits of on farm OPU, herd health management and bovine surgery.  Dr. Croushore has been AETA Certified since 2012.  He has been an accredited OPU partner for Boviteq since 2014.

Dr. Croushore holds membership in the following professional organizations:  American Veterinary Medical Association, Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Society for Theriogenology, American Embryo Transfer Association and the International Embryo Transfer Society. In addition, Dr. Croushore is the treasurer for the Somerset County Holstein Association and is a member of the Berlin-Brothersvalley School District Ag Advisory Committee.

Dr. Croushore writes a weekly column in the Somerset Daily American entitled “The View from the Back 40” and a monthly column in Farm, Field and Garden.  He is also a regular contributor to Pinzgauer Journal and also the Keystone Cattleman.

He enjoys time with his family, hunting the often elusive whitetail deer, fishing and home brewing beer.  Dr. Croushore is married to his wife of 22 years, Sheila and the proud father of Nolan and Bena.  He attends St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church where he teaches 8th grade CCD class.

 

Jeremy VanBoening received his BS degree from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Animal Science in 1998 and his DVM from Kansas State University in 2002. He practiced in South Dakota one year before purchasing a 2 doctor practice in Alma, NE in 2003.  The practice has grown and changed over the years and currently has 5 doctors and 12 support staff. In 2010 Republican Valley Genetics was founded to provide ET services for the clinic and is the focus of Dr. VanBoening today. RVG provides in house and on farm ET services as well as serves as a satellite center for IVF services with Trans Ova Genetics.

Jeremy has served on several professional boards and committees including the Nebraska Cattlemen, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association.  These associations have allowed him experience with domestic and international trade, policy making both at the state and federal level, sustainability in the beef industry and bovine veterinarian practice, as well as the opportunity for contacts throughout the industry.  Professional memberships include AETA, IETS, AABP, AVC, AVMA, and NVMA.

Jeremy and his wife Erin have one son William who is 10 years old.  In addition to the RVAC and RVG they run 400 beef cows comprised of a commercial cow-calf and a growing recipient herd.  He feels it would be an honor to serve the organization that gave him the knowledge and confidence to begin and grow the embryo transfer business.

 

The Role of Trace Minerals in Beef Cattle Fertility

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Published on: December 27, 2017

Ratzburg, Cole, The Role of Trace Minerals in Beef Cattle Fertility, M.S., Department of Animal Science, August 2017.

The most important economic factor influenced by trace mineral deficiencies is impaired reproductive performance in both the male and female. Copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn) have been shown to improve fertility in male and female beef cattle due to their roles in vitamin synthesis, hormone production, enzyme activity, collagen formation, tissue synthesis, oxygen transport, energy production, and other physiological processes related to growth, reproduction, and health. A new form of trace minerals called hydroxy minerals, which is a hydrolyzed inorganic metal complex, has been shown to have a greater bioavailability than sulfate minerals and similar bioavailability compared with the organic trace minerals. The idea that hydroxy trace minerals could be more available to beef cattle led us to hypothesize that use of hydroxy forms of Cu, Zn, and Mn could improve fertility in male and female beef cattle that are transitioning into the pubertal phase. The objectives of the two studies were to determine whether the use of hydroxy trace minerals could improve fertility parameters related to both the male and female beef cow. Peripubertal bulls were supplemented with hydroxy forms of Cu or Zn or Cu and Zn or no Cu and Zn in an 83-day mineral trial to determine whether there were differences in liver, blood plasma, and semen mineral concentrations and subsequently breeding soundness exam parameters, sperm morphology, and flow cytometer analysis. Results showed the use of Cu and Zn had benefits for fertility; there was improvements in flow cytometer parameters and sperm morphology. Heifers were supplemented with sulfate and hydroxy forms of Cu, Zn, and Mn to determine whether the different forms of trace minerals could affect feed intake parameters such as average daily gain, dry matter intake, residual feed intake, and feed-to-gain ratio and the fertility parameters: percent cycling and percent conception. Results indicated that there were no differences in feed intake parameters between treatments, but there was a positive benefit observed with the hydroxy trace minerals on conception percentage.

 

Upcoming: Newsletter Tags

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Published on: December 27, 2017

AETA Members,

With another year of AETA’s quarterly newsletter, A Closer Look, coming to a close, the education committee has been reflecting on the wealth of knowledge that can be found in earlier editions of the newsletter.

To make it easier to search the electronic archives of A Closer Look, the education committee will be adding tags to previous newsletter articles. In doing so, members can better use the AETA site’s existing search engine to find information on topics that may relate to them.

The newsletter article tags will be an ongoing process, so keep checking back!

Sincerely,

The AETA Education Committee

Articles of Interest

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Published on: December 27, 2017

Comparison of pregnancy outcomes using either an Ovsynch or a Cosynch protocol for the first timed AI with liquid or frozen semen in lactating dairy cows

 

Holding immature bovine oocytes in a commercial embryo holding medium: High developmental competence for up to 10 h at room temperature

 

Flunixin meglumine improves pregnancy rate in embryo recipient beef cows with an excitable temperament

 

Reproductive performance of lactating dairy cows after inducing ovulation using hCG in a five-day progesterone-based fixed-time AI protocol

 

Lupeol supplementation improves the developmental competence of bovine embryos in vitro

 

Effect of initial GnRH and time of insemination on reproductive performance in cyclic and acyclic beef heifers subjected to a 5-d Co-synch plus progesterone protocol

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AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Michael Campbell

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Published on: December 27, 2017

I would like to start by expressing my gratitude for the honor of being selected as a scholarship recipient. I graduated with my BS in animal science in 2015 thinking that was all the schooling I would do. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with an AETA-certified veterinarian flushing cattle and developed a strong passion for reproduction. This led to the decision to return to school to pursue a MS in reproductive physiology and hopefully go to vet school following completion. I am currently in my first semester of my MS and am working full time at an assisted reproduction facility in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I applied for the scholarship in hopes that I would be able to listen to experts in their respective fields discuss current research and findings. However, what I experienced was much more. Although the science sessions were very interesting and informative, the most influential aspect of the conference was the networking available. I met and spoke with many practitioners that were very kind and willing to spend time speaking with me and offering advice for my future endeavors. By far, my favorite part of the conference was the student mentor lunch session. Being able to sit down with professionals who were recently in our shoes was invaluable. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Prososki, Dr. Schmitt, and Dr. Swenson for spending the amount of time they did with us at the mentor lunch. The advice I received in that hour and a half was more significant than I could have ever imagined. The experiences and discussions I had at the conference have already had an effect on my academics, steering my master’s research in the direction of cryopreservation and complications during the freezing process, specifically the point at which embryos can be plunged and still maintain viability in the event of freezer failure. I would again like to express my gratitude to AETA and all the practitioners who were willing to speak with me throughout the conference for making me feel welcome and offering genuine advice to me and my fellow scholarship recipients.

Thank you,

Michael Campbell
Oklahoma State University

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Danielle Cucuzella

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Published on: December 27, 2017

My objective for attending the 2017 joint annual meeting was simple, to gain knowledge in an area of study that is all too often overlooked in veterinary curricula. Attending the meeting allowed me to both gain valuable knowledge in the field of embryo transfer and network with like professionals. Because of my attendance, I was able to solidify my knowledge of the practice of embryo transfer and to network with an otherwise small community of practitioners. I met several mentors, whom I am still in contact with and are helping me plan clinical rotations in the field of embryo transfer and possible career options after graduation.

The knowledge I gained also offered me the opportunity to expand my school’s young but growing curriculum in the area of theriogenology. Since returning to school, I have begun planning to incorporate two wet labs, open to all veterinary students. These labs include a semen analysis lab and an interactive embryo flush basics workshop thanks to the help of existing AETA members. Attending the meeting gave me insight into the tools I will need to return to my hometown in rural Arizona and open the first practice catering exclusively to production animals in the area. These are valuable skills needed in my hometown, which is currently classified as a “critical need” location by the USDA.

Most importantly, participating in the meeting served as one more grand stepping stone on my journey of becoming a production animal veterinarian and helping to feed my fellow countryman. I was honored to have the opportunity to participate in such a coveted event. Thank you for your time and dedication to this field.

Sincerely,

Danielle Cucuzella
Midwestern University

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Jordan Fairman

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Published on: December 27, 2017

My objectives for attending the 2017 American Embryo Transfer Association conference were to learn about current research in this field in the industry, learn how other professionals are using reproductive technologies in their practices, and network. The meeting provided more than enough opportunities to reach those objectives plus a little fun in Orlando, Florida.

Attending this meeting was an invaluable experience for me. It opened my eyes to the future ways that farms will be managed, implementing reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and genomic testing. I especially thought using genomic testing to determine the lower end cows was a very interesting approach to using this technique. It is now apparent how important it will be to inform farmers that genomic testing can be used not only to pick out the most elite cattle, but also to make management decisions to cull the lower end animals. In addition, learning about current research on why there are low pregnancy rates in embryo recipients was very interesting. It made me realize that we have made great progress in using assisted reproductive technologies to concentrate superior genetics and decrease generation interval times, but there is also a lot of room to optimize these procedures, such as by increasing the number of recipients that become pregnant. Many factors could be affecting these numbers such as parity, age, concentration of progesterone in circulation, and the competency of the oocytes being fertilized and transferred into recipients, and I now realize that there is still a lot of work to be done to optimize these procedures. This leaves a lot of opportunity for the future of the IVF and ET cattle industry and emphasizes the need to keep up with the results of the most recent research. Another beneficial aspect of the meeting was learning how different practitioners practice different IVF and ET techniques. As students, we can learn about challenges that current professionals have overcome, how they improved their efficiency, and little tricks that make the whole process easier. This advice is helpful to students who are beginning their careers and learning the best techniques.

The topics discussed at this meeting will be very important to the industry in the future of IVF and ET technologies. For example, I think it will become increasingly more common in the industry to use genomic evaluation to make management decisions such as choosing which cattle to use for IVF/ET or deciding which cattle have lower potentials and should be culled. To me, this test seems the most applicable to all farmers; however, genomic testing is not always the most economical decision. Thus, it will be important to be able to distinguish when using this technique is appropriate versus when it is not economically feasible.

As veterinarians, or future veterinarians, it is in our best interest to be well rounded in the industry in which we are practicing. All of the presentations at this meeting will help us explain to future clients topics such as what is going on after we collect the oocyte, why the pregnancy rates with IVF are not optimal yet, what potential problems can arise with calves produced from IVF, and where we are with genome editing and how it can be applied to the cattle industry. Veterinarians serve essentially as translators of current scientific research into a language that can be understood by clients; we show them how research can be applied to their businesses., Veterinarians also provide insight to researchers regarding what is done out in the industry and what can feasibly be done on the farm. The veterinarian’s role is extremely important in communication between clients living in the industry and specialists conducting research in the laboratory.

It is helpful for me to see how what I am learning in school will be applied in the future. Sometimes that insight is lost in all the books and lectures, so it really provides a great connection and learning experience. I would like to thank AETA for giving me the opportunity to attend the meeting. It was an incredible learning experience, and I am looking forward to attending more meetings in the future.

Sincerely,

Jordan Fairman
University of Pennsylvania

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Bruce Frederick

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Published on: December 27, 2017

First, I would like to thank the AETA and its members for the invitation to their annual conference and meeting. I had always wanted to attend, but my academic schedule would not allow. As I look back, the meeting is easily the most pivotal experience in my academic career. I look forward to next year’s meeting and those to follow.

When I learned that I had received the scholarship, the first thing I thought of was, “how is this going to go, and what am I going to get out of it?” The one thing that kept resonating was I wanted a mentally stimulating conversation about embryo transfer and advanced reproductive technologies. I have always had questions as to why things a certain way or what’s next? Other than pestering my mentor, I did not have a way to find all the answers. It was amazing to sit through the discussions and presentations and be able to put more of the puzzle together. I learned so much but left Orlando wanting to know more.

I had always heard that some of the most interesting discussions take place outside of the conference. I was privileged to meet so many great people that shared the same passion that I do. I am grateful for all of the people who spent time telling me their story, offering advice, or inviting me out to see how they flush cows.

My academic schedule permits me to spend my entire spring semester on externships that are related to embryo transfer. Through conversations with various members, I was able to schedule externships from coast to coast and many places in between. I feel fortunate that I get to watch different veterinarians do business, which will help me to eventually develop my own way. My goals are to find my place in this industry and feed my family doing something that fascinates me. I want to get certified and start flushing cows and transferring eggs as soon as possible. Flushing cows is something I knew I wanted to do since high school, and I can say with confidence that I am more excited now than ever. Once again, I appreciate the opportunity to attend the 2017 AETA and CETA/ACTE joint annual convention and hope to see you all in 2018.

Sincerely,

Bruce Frederick
The Ohio State University

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Meggan Freeland

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Published on: December 27, 2017

I would like to thank the American Embryo Transfer Association for supporting student education and granting such great opportunities for aspiring veterinary and graduate students. I was honored to be given the opportunity to attend the annual AETA convention meeting. I am a third-year veterinary student at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine with a passion for food animal medicine and reproductive sciences. Before returning to veterinary school, I worked as an AI technician for Alta Genetics. One of the main reasons I chose to further my education in veterinary medicine after entering the workforce was to be able to perform more advanced reproductive techniques in cattle and small ruminants. Unfortunately, in the veterinary curriculum we have limited exposure to ET and IVF practices, so opportunities like the AETA convention are extremely valuable. In the future, my dream career would be to work in a specialty reproduction clinic or with a reproduction technology company or to bring more advanced reproductive techniques to a clinical production animal veterinary practice. I believe that in working in clinical practice, I will be better prepared to help producers bring more advanced reproduction protocols to their farm. This way they can improve their herd genetics at an accelerated rate while producing replacement animals from their genetically superior stock. They can also improve reproduction and ultimately production of their livestock and animal products.

I am very grateful to the AETA for allowing students to attend such an invaluable conference. My objectives for the meeting were to take away as much information from the informational sessions and seminars as possible, and to network with the industry’s leading professionals. I met so many practitioners and heard about a wide variety of practice management strategies and techniques. I established new career goals and explored future externship options. The student mentor meeting was one of the highlights of the conference. I found it very helpful to ask questions about veterinarian’s career paths and what to expect as I apply for careers after veterinary school. There are so many people involved in the embryo transfer industry, and I was excited to learn how each person got their start in the industry and how they have continued to improve their practices.

I enjoyed the preconference seminar and its focus on genomics and how they could be practically applied to commercial farms. I thought this was a great way to start the conference and set the stage for why techniques such as ET and IVF are so important. The student–technician sessions were well organized and very helpful for beginning students like myself to understand advanced techniques such as IVF and all the steps of the process. I also learned a lot from the semen handling and evaluation session. Working as an AI technician, I thought I knew a lot on this topic, but I acquired new techniques and appreciated the explanations for certain practices. It was also great to listen to practitioners talk about practice tips and “tricks of the trade” they have found helpful along the way. As a veterinary student I found the topics of pregnancy loss to be of interest for me. I think it is important to learn about the studies performed in this area and to be able to better serve producers who want to reduce the frequency of this occurrence in their herd. My favorite lecture focused on the topic of gene editing and cattle breeding. Dr. Van Eenennaam’s presentation presented our future obligation as veterinarians concerning consumer education. Gene editing has so much potential to improve global nutrition and health care. Her video embracing the accomplishments we have made in this century was very inspiring, especially for those of young generations like myself, to carry on research and genetic improvements for more efficient production practices to feed our ever-growing world.

I would like to thank the AETA, student scholarship selection committee, conference planning committee, and all donors and sponsors who made the AETA scholarships possible. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I am very excited for my future as a veterinarian and to continue my education in the embryo transfer industry.

Sincerely,

Meggan Freeland
Class of 2019
Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Zane Gouker

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Published on: December 27, 2017

First, I would like to thank AETA for giving me the opportunity to attend the 2017 annual meeting. I was not only able to learn a ton, but I was also able to connect with other members of the organization as well as speakers and vendors. It was an honor to be invited to an event held by a great organization and learn from such knowledgeable individuals.

Before attending the 2017 AETA annual meeting I knew a fair amount about embryo transfer, but after attending the conference my knowledge in the discipline has exponentially increased. My preconference objectives were to learn more about improving genetics while using the newest technologies available.

Attendance at the meeting expanded my knowledge on several topics. I learned an abundance of information. There were two sessions that were particularly helpful: Student/Technician Sessions I and II. These two sessions gave me valuable insight into things that I have done and how I can improve myself. The knowledge I gained from these specific sessions as well as others has given me a better understanding of the field. I was lacking information and experience with in vitro embryo transfer (IVF), and I can confidently say that after attending the meeting, I am better educated. I was also thoroughly impressed to learn about all the science advancements that the industry has made with regard to detecting early pregnancy, genomic tests, and others.

The topics discussed at the conference were well worth my time in advancing my education. I have not and probably will not learn this much detail during my time in veterinary school. I will use my new understanding of the field to my advantage; I now can grasp how the technologies can be used as well as what the future looks like in the cattle industry. When I graduate from veterinarian school, I will have a big advantage when compared with my peers in the embryo transfer field. I plan to continue to learn more about developments in this field. I believe there is no limit as to where the industry can end up in the future. As a future veterinarian, I look forward to continuing what others have advanced in the past and continuing to build a better system within the dairy and beef industries.

Last, I want to thank all the members who were extremely receptive to helping me (and the other students). I was able to make connections with veterinarians who are in the field every day and who welcomed me to come and learn from them. Finding opportunities in this field can be difficult, but all the members were very receptive. I look forward to continuing to make connections within the AETA network.

Sincerely,

Zane Gouker
Michigan State University

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Camille Ogletree

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Published on: December 27, 2017

I would like to thank AETA for such a wonderful 2017 convention in Orlando, Florida. From the moment I arrived, I felt instantly welcomed by a great community of veterinarians. Throughout my veterinary school career, I have been interested in embryo transfer and advanced reproductive techniques in cattle, horses, and small ruminants. It can be challenging as a student to get hands-on experience with the clinical aspect of IVF. Through this organization, I was able to learn many practice tips from the lectures and from meeting veterinarians and industry members during breaks and socials. The preconference was extremely informative, and I learned a great deal about what we are trying to accomplish genetically and just how we can continue to improve our beef and dairy industries in the future. This not only helps me understand our goals as practitioners better, but it allows me to better communicate my goals for a beef or dairy farm I may be working with and assists me in working with the producer to improve the genetics of his herd. The IVF workshop was very thorough and left me much more confident about offering IVF in the future at my practice.

I walked away from the conference feeling excited about ET and IVF and using what I learned fully in the years to come as a practitioner. Through the AETA, I was able to meet incredible practitioners who I know will become great colleagues in the near future. Several veterinarians offered me a visit for an externship or interview for a job opening, and I could not have made these connections without this student scholarship program. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I look forward to being a lifelong member of AETA.

Sincerely,

Camille Ogletree
Auburn University

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Cole Ratzburg

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Published on: December 27, 2017

First, I would like to thank AETA for the scholarship that allowed me to attend the annual conference. After hearing about this conference from other practitioners within my state, I decided to apply for the scholarship. I am glad that I did because it was a great experience to meet people who are very passionate about the embryo transfer (ET) industry.

Before attending the conference, I first wanted to learn more about the advancements in male fertility because my master’s thesis was focused on trace minerals’ effects on male fertility. There were two presentations on male fertility, and both were very informative of the new advancements in male fertility. The semen studs and scientists are still continuing to find new ways to determine fertility in males instead of the conventional methods. As with any conference, I wanted to learn as much as possible from the other members, along with getting as many new contacts as I could. An added bonus was the practice tips from various experienced practitioners. Before coming to Orlando, I had very little knowledge of IVF and what was actually going on throughout the process to create a successful pregnancy. I thought that there were very good presentations throughout the conference, and by the end of the weekend, I had a better understanding of the entire process. My last goal in attending was to learn about the new technologies available for reproduction. There are many new ideas that are currently being researched, and hopefully, within the next couple years we will see new advancements within the industry.

It was truly a great experience, and I am very excited to use the new ideas from the conference as I start my own embryo transfer business. I again want to thank AETA for providing me the opportunity to attend the conference, and hopefully, this is the first of many conferences that I will attend.

Sincerely,

Cole Ratzburg
University of Wyoming

AETA 2017 Scholarship Winner Report: Cody Sacquitne

Categories: Annual Meeting
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Published on: December 27, 2017

It was a great honor to receive the 2017 AETA Annual Convention Scholarship. I truly appreciate all the work that goes into the scholarship and the support from AETA members. This opportunity allowed me to expand my knowledge a great deal and meet new people that I will be able to collaborate with the rest of my life. Overall, the scholarship is a great benefit to all student members, and I feel it will continue to help many great students in the future.

Going into the convention, I had a mild amount of experience in many of the areas that were discussed, so I was not sure what to expect. After starting out with the preconference seminar on genomics, I realized how much I did not know. Each area we discussed advanced my knowledge even more. One of the presentations during that preconference session that I found most interesting was from Dr. Patrick Blondin. I never knew completely how the SNP of genomics work, and his explanation helped me understand. The most intriguing part, however, was the concept of transcriptomics and epigenetics. Some may say that this is messing with areas that we should not, but I think it is fascinating how small of a level we can look at to work on and improve animal production through reproduction across the world.

The convention speakers went from very complex to rather basic, but each topic had its own place. My objective was to learn more about how I could use advanced reproductive technologies and related information more when I finish school in a couple years. The area I found to be most helpful was talking about the use of the technologies on commercial farms. There were many different speakers hitting different angles and points in this area. My plan is not to do exclusively embryo transfer work, but I feel I will be able to incorporate a combination of different avenues into farms one day. There is so much room for advancement with the use of ET and genomics in dairy, as well as beef, where it has only just started hitting the surface.

Overall, I really appreciated the opportunities available for students. The convention as a whole was very informative, from the preconference session to the student sessions and everything else we were able to participate in. Additionally, I was able to meet some new people, as well as refresh relationships with people I had met before. I always appreciate these networking opportunities with veterinarians, students, and the companies we may be working with in the future. In the end, I am very excited for what the future holds for the industry as well as myself. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity.

Sincerely,

Cody Sacquitne
Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2019

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