Practicing swine veterinarians make a point to block off some time on their September calendars as soon as the annual Allen D. Leman Swine Conference is announced.
This year’s version, which started last weekend and ran through Tuesday, did not disappoint. Yes, there was a somber tone as this year’s conference was dedicated to the legacy of Bob Morrison whose passing in a May car accident shocked the swine world. Morrison, a student of Leman, had coordinated the Leman Swine Conference for quite a few years.
Though I was honored to have the article that I wrote on Morrison for our 2016 Masters issue reprinted in the official program of this year’s Leman Swine Conference, I would have much rather had Morrison present to oversee and take in the proceedings.
Morrison was never far from the minds of attendees and presenters, as I don’t think a session went by without the mention of Morrison, and the lessons that he taught or the manner in which he instilled the right way to go about caring for hogs.
Trevor Ames, dean of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, says, “Bob showed us how to work together. He was the ultimate lifelong learner.”
Most of the attendees had been directly or indirectly impacted by the teachings of Morrison, and that was quite evident in the quality of session topics and presentations. The conference committee, led by co-program chairs Morrison and Montse Torremorell, had set the tone for the 2017 conference by the time of Morrison’s passing as topics and presenters were already lined up. I recall Morrison saying the last Leman Conference was the best one yet; but the next one would be even better, always feeling that his best work was yet to come.
Leman 2017 did not disappoint as it offered sessions on topics that you would expect, such as foreign animal diseases, diseases not so foreign, sow longevity, antibiotics, veterinary feed directives and a somewhat new philosophy of co-opetition, just to name a few.
You will be seeing coverage of some of the topics that were covered at this year’s Leman Conference in upcoming issues of NHF Daily and National Hog Farmer magazine. Stay tuned.
Bob Morrison was a great man, a great teacher and a great leader. His example will lead his co-workers, colleagues and students as they take swine industry leadership forward. This conference and the swine industry will be fine as long as all involved remember to work under Morrison’s credo: always learn, always teach and always have fun.
Just as Morrison and his team started planning the 2017 Leman Conference before the 2016 conference had concluded, the 2018 version is already in the works with it set for Sept. 15-18. Block out that part of your calendar now. It will be the best one yet.