AETA 2012 Scholarship Winner: Joel M. Anderson

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Published on: December 21, 2012

The plains of Winnipeg didn’t bring to mind cattle country, but served as a great site for the 2012 CETA/ACTE and AETA Joint Annual Convention.  Thank you so much to the AETA and the Membership Committee for selecting me as a scholarship recipient.  The meeting was a great intermission from clinics and a unique opportunity to travel to the geographical center of Canada.  I would like to commend all involved on a fun and well executed meeting.

My journey to Winnipeg and my interest in applied reproductive strategies began with a passion to work in the beef cattle industry that stems from our family farm.  Bovine veterinary medicine has changed with the ever-evolving landscape of production agriculture.  I grew up working with our local veterinarian and enjoyed the large animal calls; however, in just the few years it has been since I graduated high school, higher corn prices have led to the removal of fences and cattle around my hometown.  I realized it would take drive and creativity to work in the beef cattle industry. I chose to investigate other areas of beef production, and found my passion for the embryo transfer industry.

I was urged to apply for the scholarship from a number of active members of the AETA.  The mentorship experience I’ve received throughout my college career allowed me to travel the country and gain a greater understanding of the impact embryo transfer has on the cattle industry.  I was drawn to attend the annual meeting to get the chance to meet and learn from more experts of both the AETA and CETA.  I enjoyed visiting with folks from all areas and hearing their perspective on getting more pregnancies for their clients.  The chance to visit and talk about cattle was enough of a draw to Canada, but the program of meetings covered a wide array of timely topics and far exceeded my expectations.

I arrived in Canada just in time to attend the ET 201 Seminar.  Dr. John Hasler and Dr. John P. Verstegen provided interesting discussion on superovulation products that may lead to alternative programs for producers.  Folliculogenesis is the center of the embryo transfer industry and the ability to gain more embryos with less human error will continue to drive research in this area.  Dr. Jon Schmidt detailed the proper handling of IVF embryos in the field.  IVF technology has made its mark in the on-farm transfer business and manipulation of these embryos will be vital to meet client needs.  The seminar concluded with presentations on superovulation schedules and recipient management.  The variation in ways to get embryos from cows will always amaze me, but the most important aspect of any successful program is live calves on the ground.

The program continued with quality speakers who touched on aspects beyond retrieving and transferring embryos.  The topics incorporated a wide-angle view to the success of the future of the cattle industry.  Animal health was discussed by looking at BVD, semen quality, nutrition and postpartum uterine disease.  This reaffirmed the adage of looking at the entire cow, and brought to mind that I shouldn’t focus only on embryos in the dish.  Genomics continues to be a buzz word and will have an impact on the future of animal agriculture and my future relationships with clients.  The Practitioners Forum was the highlight of the sessions.  Discussion filled the meeting room as the presenters provided insight into their areas of interest.  The many “tricks” these practitioners presented sparked my curiosity to always be on the lookout for a new way to complete a task.

The camaraderie and fervor that accompanied the discussions was unique from any other conference I have attended.  The collegiality of the AETA and CETA was overwhelming at the meeting.  The AETA has taken an approach to allow practitioners to visit with one another for continuing education credit.  I believe this will be a valuable tool to moving the industry forward.  The topics presented will impact my provided ideas to draw on once in practice.  The science is vital, but the relationships I made and strengthened during my trip will prove to be an integral part of my future as an embryo transfer veterinarian.  The future of not only the AETA, but also animal agriculture resides in our ability to work together.

Thank you so much to the AETA for your investment in my education.  It was a great trip to Winnipeg and made the trek back to Columbus, Ohio for clinics very difficult.  The scholarship program selected a great group of individuals this year.  I was honored to attend with Jason Anton, Eric Rooker, and Jason Zwilling.  Thanks so much for your support as an organization and I look forward to seeing you in Reno.

Joel M. Anderson

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