While the need for change and adaptation remain critical, bovine veterinary practice will continue to thrive. That message was clear from discussions, during the recent American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Conference, with two veterinarians who recently purchased established practices.
One of these, Dr. David Brennan from Ashland, Ohio, purchased his practice from Dr. K. Fred Gingrich, who now serves as Executive Vice President of AABP. Brennan stresses that the role of rural veterinarians has changed, with more emphasis on consultation services including designing and monitoring protocols, analyzing performance data, evaluating facilities for cattle health and welfare, nutritional services and others, rather than “fire-engine medicine.”
Brennan says while some areas are under-served, there is no real shortage of food-animal veterinarians. In order to attract young associates, rural practices need to stay up to date and provide opportunities for young veterinarians to practice a full range of skills.
Brennan utilized the USDA’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) to help him get started in rural practice in 2008. After 10 years, he purchased the practice in what he calls a natural progression. The VMLRP, he says, provides a double win, enabling young veterinarians to establish themselves in rural practices where their services are needed while also benefiting those communities.
Dr. Arn Anderson, a beef practitioner based in Bowie, Texas, purchased several practices in north-central Texas, including one in Graham that was originally established by Dr. Glenn Rogers, who and now ranches, and remains active in veterinary medicine, including serving as current President at AABP.
Anderson stresses that rural practice is not obsolete or outdated, but practitioners need to be willing to change and offer what producers need.
Veterinarians need to help their clients make money, and sometimes, Anderson says, opportunities emerge with services clients do not know they need. The veterinarian, with their medical training and exposure to multiple operations and production systems, often can identify ways to reduce costs or increase returns that the producer might never consider. He stresses a need for communication and client education to help create awareness of those opportunities. Use newsletters, producer meetings or other avenues to inform clients of industry trends, emerging technologies and especially, the value your practice can provide beyond traditional clinical services.
For more on “becoming indispensable” from the AABP conference, see these articles on BovineVetOnline.com: