AETA President’s Report – Summer 2021

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Published on: August 18, 2021

The challenge of a long winter is finally over. It seems, however, that as one challenge winds down, others arise. As the significance of the pandemic subsides, other challenges manifest, such as labor shortages and hiccups in the commodity markets. Consolidation of farms creates both a disruption to the status quo and opportunity at the same time. Warm temperatures bring the flush of spring pasture and also the rear ends of recipient cows capable of filling your pocket with a slimy effluent. We take the good with the bad.

To say the past year has been a challenge would be stating the obvious.  Despite the progress made in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still unresolved issues, one of which is international travel.  The AETA Board, along with CETA, tried to navigate this storm, but we were unable to proceed with an in-person convention due to the uncertainty surrounding the opening of the US-Canada border.  As a result, both AETA and CETA elected to forgo an in-person convention for 2021 in favor of another virtual meeting.  The meeting format will be similar to that in 2020 but will be hosted by CETA with the help of FASS and AETA.  The program that CETA is assembling is coming together, and we have a preliminary speakers list posted on the AETA website.

The AETA also faces the challenge of recruiting and retaining new members. The AETA Certification “brand” is something in which all certified members should take pride. The AETA-certified practitioner status is not only a source of pride, but also a designation that ensures competency. Unfortunately, many cattlemen do not appreciate or understand the significance of the AETA certification or the educational opportunities available to both certified and non-certified members through our association. We feel that for the AETA to remain relevant and grow, the AETA brand and certification have to grow.

We have had success in offering continuing education opportunities to professionals and, along with that, complimentary membership for a year. The student scholarship program has also helped with recruiting new members, but there is more that we can do.

Many of our clients are large players in the embryo transfer field, and we feel they would benefit from AETA regular membership. On more and more farms, on-farm labor is used to transfer embryos, both fresh and cryopreserved. The educational opportunities and networking opportunities offered by the AETA could elevate both professionals and their clients. Breed associations such as Holstein and American Angus could also benefit from associate membership.

The true significance of AETA certification has yet to be discovered by the mainstream of the embryo transfer world. This process needs to happen, yet it will only happen slowly and deliberately. We recently had stickers printed with the AETA Certified logo that will be distributed to certified members. These stickers can and should be placed anywhere that it would cause a client to ask about what AETA certification is. Finally, we also need to continue to increase our exposure to the veterinary and animal science communities.

One of the most recent challenges we met were the new European Union (EU) import regulations on both conventional and IVP embryos. Ashley Swenson and the entire Government Liaison Committee in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) navigated these troubled waters like true professionals, providing clarity and taking a strong stand on behalf of US embryo transfer professionals and producers alike. While the changes in the paperwork requirements will take a little time to get used to, the transition to the new regulations has happened already. Unfortunately, it appears as though the number of sires available to be used in the production of IVF embryos eligible for EU export will decrease as a result of the new regulations.

Challenges will continue; they always do. Challenges become opportunities when met head on. Stay safe, be well, and keep the green effluent away from your pockets.

Dr. Bill Croushore – AETA President

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