American Association of Swine Veterinarians – March 4-7, 2023
The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) held its 54th annual meeting from March 4-7 in Aurora, Colorado.
The meeting drew more than 900 attendees, including veterinarians, veterinary students, and exhibitors. The theme was “Be There.” On offer were 11 pre-conference seminars, two general sessions, three breakout sessions, a research session, three sessions from industry partners, a student seminar, and a poster session.
Veterinarians and students learned about monitoring and diagnostics for the virus that causes porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, pen gestation, antimicrobial stewardship and sustainability, pig survivability, boar stud health and biosecurity, data integration to support real-time decisionmaking, new technologies, and an introduction to understanding the swine business. Speakers described next-generation challenges for which swine veterinarians should be prepared, spoke on shared challenges with the egg industry, and offered suggestions for the swine industry.
Dr. Egan Brockhoff, veterinary counselor for the Canadian Pork Council, delivered the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture, titled “Be There: Be the Leader for the Pig, the Client, the Customer.” Dr. Attila Farkas, a veterinarian at Carthage Veterinary Service Ltd., presented the Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture, titled “Seizing Opportunity Within Swine Veterinary Medicine.”
The association held its annual business meeting and an awards presentation, and the association’s foundation held its annual fundraising auction.
Swine Practitioner of the Year
Dr. Tara Donovan (Kansas State ’98), Richland Center, Wisconsin, won this award, given to a swine practitioner for proficiency and effectiveness in delivering veterinary service. Dr. Donovan is vice president of health management for Hanor Co., a pork producer. She oversees preventive health programs, pharmaceutical management and compliance, training of animal caregivers, and on-farm swine health practices. A past president of the AASV, Dr. Donovan has served as the association’s delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates and on several of AASV committees. She is Wisconsin’s delegate to the U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan.
Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year
Dr. Jessica Davenport (Georgia ’17), Columbia, Missouri, won this award, given to an AASV member for exemplary service and proficiency within five years of graduation. Dr. Davenport is a staff veterinarian for JBS Live Pork, where she is responsible for the health of more than 60,000 sows, gilt multiplication, and nursery and grow-finish pigs. She also partners with the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine’s food animal production rotation to provide veterinary students with exposure to swine medicine and production and on-farm experiential learning opportunities. Dr. Davenport is Missouri’s delegate to the U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan, chairs the AASV Communications Committee, and is a member of the association’s Pig Welfare Committee.
Meritorious Service Award
David Brown, Kingston, Rhode Island, won this award, given for outstanding service to the association. Brown serves as the webmaster and information technology specialist for the AASV. He has played an important role in several facets of the membership interface, including the Journal of Swine Health and Production. Brown is also a part-time faculty member of the University of Rhode Island, where he teaches software engineering.
Outstanding Swine Academic of the Year
Dr. Gary Althouse (Iowa State ’94), New London, Pennsylvania, won this award, given to an AASV member employed in academia who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service to the swine veterinary profession. A diplomate and a past president of the American College of Theriogenologists, Dr. Althouse is a professor of reproduction and swine health and associate dean of sustainable agriculture and veterinary practices at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also the chair of animal reproduction and founder and director of the Reference Andrology Laboratory at Penn Vet. Dr. Althouse has served on several committees of the AASV, International Pig Veterinary Society, and International Conference on Boar Semen Preservation. He is a past president of the Society for Theriogenology.
Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year
Dr. Lisa Becton (North Carolina State ’94), Garner, North Carolina, won this award, recognizing veterinarians for proficiency and effectiveness in delivering veterinary service to companies and clients and for tireless service to the AASV and swine industry. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Dr. Becton is director of swine health at the National Pork Board. As director, she oversees the producer and veterinary task force for swine health research, develops and delivers resources related to domestic and foreign diseases of swine, coordinates and promotes surveillance activities and techniques for depopulation and disposal, and collaborates with external organizations on key areas identified by producers as priorities for swine health. Dr. Becton is a member of the AASV Transboundary and Emerging Diseases Committee, the AASV Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Task Force, and the United States Animal Health Association’s Committee on Swine. She is also a member of the AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, serving twice as chair.
Howard Dunne Memorial Award
Dr. Joseph Connor (Illinois ’76), Carthage, Illinois, won this award given to an AASV member who has made important contributions and provided outstanding service to the association and to the swine industry. A past president of the AASV, Dr. Connor is the founder of Carthage Veterinary Service Ltd. He is a member of the association’s Transboundary and Emerging Diseases Committee and the AASV Foundation’s Investment Committee.
AASV Foundation Awards
Hogg Scholarship ($10,000): Drs. Claire LeFevre (Wisconsin ’17), Carthage, Illinois, and Emily Mahan-Riggs, (North Carolina State ’17), Angier, North Carolina; Dr. Conrad and Judy Schmidt Family Student Debt Relief Endowment Scholarship ($5,000): Drs. Katie Beckman (Purdue ’19), Audubon, Iowa; Alyssa Betlach (Minnesota ’18), St. Peter, Minnesota; and Daniel Brown (Illinois ’20), Holland, Michigan. In addition, the foundation awarded $100,000 toward four research proposals and $25,000 in scholarships to 15 veterinary students.
Also at the meeting, the AASV awarded $4,000 in scholarships to 15 veterinary students via the Veterinary Student Poster Competition, sponsored by United Animal Health, and Braden Steidley, a third-year student at Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine was awarded the David A. Schoneweis Scholarship ($1,000).
Dr. Mike Senn, AASV president, reported on the association's membership and activities. Several of the association’s committees collaborated to offer professional development on physical, mental, financial, and social health, and 15 committees met to discuss important issues in swine health, public health, animal wellbeing, and membership services.
Drs. William Hollis, Carthage, Illinois, president; Angela Baysinger, Bruning, Nebraska, president-elect; Locke Karriker, Ames, Iowa, vice president; and Michael Senn, Newton, Kansas, immediate past president
A version of this article appears in the June 2023 print issue of JAVMA.