Johnson recognizes team effort of individual award

Science in Practice Award honors swine practitioners who have shown an exceptional ability to use science in day-to-day practice.

September 21, 2020

5 Min Read
As a partner and veterinarian with Carthage Veterinary Service, Clayton Johnson currently oversees 25,000 sows across seven d
As a partner and veterinarian with Carthage Veterinary Service, Clayton Johnson currently oversees 25,000 sows across seven different sow farms. He also has numerous international consulting duties.Carthage Veterinary Service

As it has been said, it takes a village to raise a child. Clayton Johnson, veterinarian with Carthage Veterinary Services, says his honor of being named this year's winner of the Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award is "a reflection of the wonderful people that I've been fortunate to be surrounded by throughout my life particularly throughout my career, as a veterinarian."

Johnson's remarks were part of a prepared video during the virtual Allen D. Leman Swine Conference Monday morning. Though Johnson was not able to receive the award in the presence of his colleagues and friends during the normal live event, the honor was not lessened. "I'm flattered and honored to be named the 2020 Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award winner."

Though he thought his original journey would take him into human medicine, once he decided on veterinary medicine, he knew he would specialize in pigs.

"When I graduated from veterinary school, it was unusual that you would go straight into specializing in one species, but I was very fortunate that I had some wonderful mentors, not only my dad (Bill), but many different veterinarians who took me under their wing when I was still a student and helped to craft my thought processes; helped to teach me the technical skills that I needed to be a successful pig veterinarian, right out of school," he says. "To John Waddell, Erin Lowe, Larry Firkins, Kent Schwartz, Jim Lowe, Cliff Shipley, Sherri Clark, Jack Herrmann and all the other veterinarians who mentored me during my years in school, I can't thank you enough for helping launch my career."

Again acknowledging those around him, Johnson says winning this award "it's never an individual accomplishment. It's always going to be recognition of a team and the collective work, multiple individuals, and as such, it's appropriate for me to highlight members of my team, who made me who I am, and really are here today, receiving this award right along with me. I want to thank the team that I get to work with at Carthage every day. It's really a wonderful team that challenges me on a regular basis, forces me to think outside the box and also gives me a tremendous system with which to practice veterinary medicine … last, but not least I want to thank my family. I want to start by thanking my wonderful parents. My dad, Bill, mom, Jane, thank you very much for not only putting up with me as a young man, but also really supporting me and encouraging me and reminding me that I was in control of my own destiny. And if I wanted to do something, I had the ability to do it."

Bill Johnson, in the prepared video, says his oldest son "always worked very hard at anything you were passionate about, and you always had a passion for swine. … we're very proud of you. You earned it."

Clayton also thanks brother Henry and sister Torie, "Who obviously had a huge impact on me."

Acknowledging the challenges that the life of a swine veterinarian can have on a family, Clayton thanked his wife, Ali, and children Nina and Jake.

"She supports me not only personally, but also professionally. And that's not easy to do. I know all of you as pig veterinarians out there understand the challenge that your careers have on family," he says. "And I want to thank my wonderful children. … they're an unbelievable source of happiness and inspiration for me."

"Dr. Johnson is an outstanding ambassador for integrating science into the practice of veterinary medicine," says Lucina Galina Pantoja, DVM, PhD and director of pork technical services at Zoetis, sponsor of the award. "We salute his long record of innovation and tireless pursuit of solutions that improve swine health around the world."

Johnson completed his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2008 at the University of Illinois. He joined Carthage Veterinary Services in 2016 following a variety of positions with The Maschhoffs LLC, which doubled its production during Johnson's tenure. He is licensed to practice in five states and is charged with providing leadership to Carthage's 12-member team of swine veterinarians as well as improving the practice's audit processes and data collection efforts.

The Science in Practice award is given each year during the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference. It is the industry's premier award for swine practitioners who have shown an exceptional ability to use science in day-to-day practice.

Past honorees
1994: Steve Henry
1995: Camille Moore
1996: Scott Dee
1997: Roy Schultz
1998: Alberto Stephano
1999: John Harding
2000: Mike Muirhead
2001: Tim Loula
2002: Luciano Roppa
2003: Montserrat Torremorell
2004: Joseph Connor
2005: Darwin Reicks
2006: Paul Schneider
2007: Jim Lowe
2008: Rodger Main
2009: Laura Batista
2010: Paul Yeske
2011: Gordon Spronk
2012: Julie Menard
2013: Lisa Tokach
2014: Luc Dufresne
2015: Jeremy Pittman
2016: Deb Murray
2017: Bob Thompson
2018: Rebecca Robbins
2019: Nathan Winkelman
2020: Clayton Johnson

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