AABP president wants association to be indispensable

Dr. Glenn Rogers wants to help veterinarians, students adapt with cattle industries
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Just as veterinarians try to be indispensable to clients, Dr. Glenn Rogers thinks the American Association of Bovine Practitioners should be indispensable to veterinarians.

Dr. Rogers became AABP president during the organization's meeting Sept. 13-15 in Phoenix. He thinks the association can help members show the value of veterinarians' services.

Dr. Rogers
Dr. Glenn Rogers (Courtesy of Dr. Rogers)

Veterinarians improve animal health and welfare, farm profits, and farmer quality of life, Dr. Rogers said. The veterinarians who help manage farm operations and understand their clients' goals and challenges can offer more services and distinguish themselves from nonveterinarians who offer competing services.

Bovine practice and the AABP face challenges, he said.

The U.S. is losing small and mid-size dairies to low milk prices and industry consolidation. Veterinarians need to adapt as production changes and so do client and industry needs. Educational debt is high. Adjusting to rural life can be difficult, and veterinarians in cattle practice can encounter gender bias.

A recent AABP survey of graduating seniors indicated 17 percent of respondents thought gender bias hurt their efforts to get jobs. Dr. Rogers said the organization needs to study and remove obstacles to success, including gender bias.

As for adapting to rural life, Dr. Rogers said AABP leaders can advocate that veterinary students spend time on farms and ranches before graduation, and can help show young veterinarians the opportunities they have not only in practice but also in ancillary businesses, such as owning cattle.

Dr. Rogers said the AABP should keep working to attract veterinary students and recent graduates. The second AABP Recent Graduate Conference, Feb. 7-9, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio, will give veterinarians less than seven years out of school an education on clinical skills and business management.

Dr. Rogers said the AABP also plans to continue training young veterinarians at workshops on practice sustainability at least through 2020, with lessons on business management issues.

Dr. Rogers said the theme for this year's meeting, "Becoming Indispensable," originated with a lesson given 35 years earlier by Dr. William D. Speer of DeWitt, Iowa, to Dr. W. Mark Hilton, who was one of this year's conference organizers. Dr. Hilton was a new veterinarian when Dr. Speer told him their goal was to become indispensable to clients by providing the best care. That requires ongoing education and a team of experts.

Volunteer leader

Dr. Rogers was a high school sophomore when he decided he wanted to become a veterinarian. He was involved in 4-H and the Future Farmers of America, and he showed steers and lambs. His local veterinarian, Dr. John Hays, and his FFA adviser, Dr. Marvin Cepica, influenced his decision.

Dr. Rogers loved the animals and people on ranches and wanted to work with cattle.

He attended his first AABP meeting in 1979 in San Antonio, when he was the president of the student chapter at Texas A&M University. His mentors and heroes had dedicated their lives to serving agriculture, and he would name his son, Ben, after one of them: Dr. Ben D. Harrington.

He would become director of the Texas VMA for 10 years, an officer in the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice, district director for the AABP, and chair of the AABP Foundation. He was honored in 2016 to receive a call from the nominating committee chair who encouraged him to run for vice president, an elected position through which the office holder agrees to become president-elect and president in subsequent years.

Servant leader

Dr. Gerald Stokka, associate professor of livestock stewardship at North Dakota State University, has known Dr. Rogers since 1990, when both left private practice for graduate education at Kansas State University. Today, they talk about once a week.

"I love him to death, I really do—him and his family," he said.

Dr. Stokka praised Dr. Rogers for his humility, honor, Christian faith, and respect for others. He described him as a servant leader whom Dr. Stokka admires and respects.

Dr. Stokka said that Dr. Rogers understands that cattle practitioners still see every animal brought to them—including dogs, cats, and horses—yet their roles on farms have evolved into providing management advice and maintaining food safety, along with long-standing duties to guard against foreign animal disease. They take responsibility for stewardship of animals, people, and the land, which Dr. Stokka expects Dr. Rogers will help demonstrate.

Dr. Rogers said he loves the AABP, being around other veterinarians who have similar experiences, and bovine medicine in general. By being president, he hopes to give back to the organization that has helped him through his career in private practice, academia, and industry.

This year's other officers include Dr. Calvin Booker, Okotoks, Alberta, president-elect; Carie Telgen, Greenwich, New York, vice president; and Dr. Mike D. Apley, Olsburg, Kansas, immediate past president.