September 2017 President’s Letter

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Published on: September 26, 2017

Growing up as the vet’s kid must be a very unique experience. I know my wife Emily and I have had our children grow up with us every step of the way in the truck running farm calls. A good example of this happened a while back when we were called to calving problem at a large dairy. The calf was coming backwards and I thought I might have a teaching moment for my kids. So, we hooked up the chains and my eight year old daughter Caylee helped pull the calf. Once the calf was on the ground, I put a sleeve back on and told Caylee that I was going to reach back into the cow and asked her if she could think of any reason I would want to do that since the calf was already out. She thought about it for a few moments and asked, “To see if there is another calf?” I said, “That’s right!” So I reached in and there was a second calf coming backwards. So, we hooked up the chains and pulled the second calf. Once again, I put on a sleeve and told Caylee I was going to reach back into the cow and asked her now that the twins were out, could she think of any reason that I would reach back in. She thought for just a moment and asked, “To see if there is another calf?” And I said, “Exactly!” And what a teaching moment it was because there was a third calf coming backwards. I couldn’t help but think that I was 35 years old before I saw my first set of triplets born and that my daughter was getting to see it at eight! So, we hooked up the chains and pulled the third calf. And at that point I asked, “What do you want me to do?” Caylee quickly replied, “Put a sleeve on and reach back in!”

I am fortunate enough to have my family joining me at the annual conference in Orlando. It not only should be a great family experience, but the venue should provide us with plenty of space, the weather should be good, and the content of the meeting itself should be world-class. From the innovation workshop to the general sessions and student opportunities, the outstanding food, and the many local attractions, you won’t want to miss this one! Special thanks to Charles Looney, PhD and John Prososki, DVM for putting together this one of a kind meeting!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Cattlenetwork.com has reported there are 1.2 million head of cattle affected in the 54 counties in the path of this storm. I used to live in Texas and one of the things I often respected was their driving spirit of local unity. Although there are many challenges ahead for those in that area, I am confident that through their willingness to help each other and any support received from outside the region, they will prevail over the devastation. We have provided links on our home page to support the relief effort. You may also want to visit the National Cattleman’s Beef Association website and view the list of Relief Resources.

The 2017 Chinese inspection dates have yet to be finalized. I do want you to know there is a tremendous amount of effort going on behind the scenes and we are all hopeful to finalize the plans soon. I suggest that all those participating stay prepared to make this happen in short order of notification.

I would also like to mention that the Membership Committee is working on new banners to display at the AETA trade booth. I would encourage those of you in the membership that would like to share your outstanding photos of embryos, cattle, students, or other pictures that might be good, to email them to myself, Christy Young, DVM, or Morgan Montgomery at the headquarters. Who better than our members to provide visual representation of our organization?

The interest in certification continues to be high and we have many young practitioners interested in becoming certified. The committee has certified 10 individual this year already and that doesn’t include those applying for testing this fall. Since the beginning of the intentional association improvements just a few years back, I think we have really made some enhancements to education, certification, and the membership. Keep up the good work everyone! If you’re not involved and want to be, you may contact me directly or Morgan at the headquarters. Additionally, any of the board or committee members can provide information on how you can help.

One last note on internet safety. Those that cruise the internet looking to trick someone have always given us some trouble with fictitious emails misrepresenting themselves as board members or past presidents, etc. And we have recognized this problem and managed it well. However, it seems lately the emails have become more convincing. The most recent occurrence prompted many individuals to contact me directly to find out what it was all about. These individuals obtain email addresses and credentials from our website and use that info to misrepresent themselves. Therefore, we have removed the contact information for the board and committee members from the website. This information will still be available in the directory and upon request from headquarters.

So, back to growing up the vet’s kid. I once read a study that determined that if you read to your children at night before bed, you give them an “unfair advantage over other children.” I always thought it was interesting how they worded that statement, “unfair advantage over other children.” I can’t help but think that children growing up on the farm or the vet’s kid have a similar advantage. There is so much education they receive just growing up in that environment. This, to me, seems very important and it is getting lost in our society through several generations now. So, I encourage you to take the time to help educate some kids in your communities and give those kids a chance to ride along with the vet. We have a lot of information to share, not only about our work but, about life in general as well. Emily and I have made a point to try to share our livestock and knowledge with our community and the public. Today’s world really needs it more now than ever. This is how we get the public to think critically and better understand animal agriculture. Once they are adults, it is too late, as they are usually fixed in their thoughts. And as we move forward with trying to bring around the education of the public, you can bet I’ll continue reading to my kids every night.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mark F. James, DVM
2017 AETA President

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