Dr. Randy G. Jones has long felt a need to take responsibility for addressing concerns of the veterinary profession.
"I feel that it's a responsibility we have as veterinarians to be involved in things that affect our profession," Dr. Jones said. "And the best way to affect those things is to be organized and united, and that comes from organized veterinary medicine."
As the new president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, Dr. Jones wants to promote membership in the AASV, AVMA, state VMAs, and local VMAs. And he wants the AASV to continue efforts toward eliminating porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome and improving food safety and swine well-being.
Dr. Randy G. Jones
Dr. Jones became president March 8, taking over from Dr. Paul D. Ruen of Fairmont, Minn., who is now immediate past president. Dr. Tara S. Donovan of Richland Center, Wis., is president-elect, and Dr. Matthew S. Anderson of Algona, Iowa, is vice president.
After graduating from North Carolina State University in 1985, Dr. Jones spent about 10 years in mixed animal practice. He then founded a swine medicine practice, Livestock Veterinary Services, in Kinston, N.C.
Dr. Jones was president of the North Carolina VMA in 2000, and he represented the southeastern U.S. on the AASV board of directors before he was elected as AASV vice president in 2010. He sees membership and participation in veterinary organizations as a way for the nation's small number of swine veterinarians to influence decisions affecting their practices. And he expects the membership will be important in PRRS elimination and regional control projects, which are intended to improve PRRS control through increased understanding of the virus and the points where it can reach swine.
Although foreign disease outbreaks remain a constant threat, Dr. Jones said PRRS accounts for most of the swine industry's losses. He expects regional control programs will help neighbors work together to control the disease, and he hopes the large amount of money dedicated to PRRS research will also provide help.
"PRRS is still the disease we struggle with, that frustrates us, that frustrates researchers," Dr. Jones said. "Nobody has the answer."
Dr. Jones also expects that swine veterinarians will continue working to improve pork production and balance behavioral, economic, and ecologic considerations.
"We have the welfare of the animal at heart," Dr. Jones said.
Although swine owners can now easily find instructions on how to perform many of the practices that Dr. Jones performed on farms 25 years ago, he thinks veterinarians are still needed for the information and services they provide.
"What they can't get off the Internet is our expertise and knowledge of protocols, medications, and things like that," Dr. Jones said. "Our ability to go on the farm, to make a diagnosis, and to properly use antibiotics and other things that are at our disposal—that's something they can't get off the Internet."