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BeefWatch Health Highlights

May 2021

Dr. Halden Clark demonstrates rope techniques on a model cow.

Dr. Halden Clark demonstrates rope techniques on the model cow.

VM1 students spent a week at GPVEC for their Foundations of Veterinary Medicine class. The learning objectives for the hands-on week included introducing students to the different food animal industries and how veterinarians serve each area. The days were split between lectures and lab exercises, including a visit to Beaver’s Dairy in Carleton, NE.

“Cow Camp” topics ranged from feeds and feeding, knots and ropes, meat science, VFD/AMDUCA labeling, and interpreting Excel data. In addition, all students were trained to become BQA certified. Our goal was to expose future veterinarians to all aspects of food animal medicine and possibly spark an interest in students who have not considered the livestock industry in the past.

One student commented that we successfully converted her back to an omnivore from vegetarian. Now that’s a compliment!

A special thanks to Jesse Fulton, Mike Wallace, Beaver’s Dairy and the USMARC feedlot, swine, and lambing crew.

Students gather at a table to look at a cut of meat and determine its quality and grade.

Students use knowledge gained at Cow Camp to discuss the quality and grade of a cut of meat.

Happy to help

By Dr. Lindsay Waechter-Mead

As veterinarians, we are genetically programed to be helpers. Compassion, hard work, and a touch of stubbornness are also common denominators among colleagues. Each of us has a story of the time we took too long to fix the breech calf or refused to give up on the parvo puppy. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of those stories end with “I should have asked for help.”

Who is on your list of helpers? In practice, my list consisted of veterinary school friends, co-workers, and previous mentors. Veterinary extension was not on my radar, and to my defense, there was not much information available to me as a busy practice owner.

Extension has been around for over 100 years. The 1862 Morrill Act created land-grant universities in each state to bring agricultural education to all people. Then, in 1887, the Hatch Act established research farms in each land-grant institution to provide scientific-based answers to the questions being raised from rural populations. But there needed to be a way to get that information out to the public. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created the Cooperative Extension Service. The purpose was to “extend” the research information to America’s rural citizens to continually improve agricultural practices.

Several areas of interest are covered in the Cooperative Extension web, including Veterinary Extension. According to a JAVMA article there were fewer than a dozen extension veterinarians in the 1930s, but the number increased to 122 by 1999. The AVMA passed a policy on “Support for Veterinary Extension Services” in 2011 stating: “The AVMA recognizes the vital role of veterinary extension services in protecting the health and well-being of food animals and in contributing to public health and enhanced international competitiveness and supports optimal funding for veterinary extension services.”

The University of Nebraska has several Extension Veterinarians, including five at GPVEC. One of our duties include extending current animal health research information to Nebraska practitioners. We focus on individual and herd-based cases, site visits, and continuing education programing. In addition to animal health, other topics include biosecurity, animal welfare, One Health/Public Health, emergency preparedness, and food safety. Having split appointments in teaching and research allows us to use cases to educate veterinary students as well as find new answers to problems in the field with research trials.

While we do not claim to have all the answers, we do have the time and resources to help you find solutions. Our first question to any producer who calls is “who is your veterinarian?” It is crucial that we maintain the veterinary-client-patient relationship. Our two goals are to help Nebraska veterinarians be successful at practicing outstanding medicine and ensure Nebraskans continue to produce a high quality, safe product while maintaining profitability.

The next time you find yourself in the middle of a “I should have asked for help” story, give us a call. We are happy to talk. After all, it’s in our DNA.

Upcoming events

June 7-11
Feedlot Production Management

June 14-16
NVMA Summer Conference, Norfolk.


BeefWatch Health Highlights is produced by the faculty and staff at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center and edited by Dr. Lindsay Waechter-Mead.

Copyright (C) 2021 Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center. All rights reserved.

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