The American Association of Swine Veterinarians held its 54th Annual Meeting in Aurora, Colorado, March 4–7 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. The theme this year, "Be There!", emphasized the importance of being present in each moment. Program chair and AASV President-elect Dr. William Hollis called on all members to Be There. He said, "When we choose to 'Be There' we have made the decision to engage in the debate while also making the choice to respect the needs of others in our association."
The meeting drew 958 total attendees, including 528 paid registrants and 80 veterinary students from 19 universities. The total attendance also included 240 exhibit representatives from 93 companies and organizations and six media representatives. Including the United States, 22 countries were represented. These preliminary numbers are yet to be confirmed.
The meeting participants enjoyed the opportunity to listen to 227 speakers and poster presenters by attending numerous educational sessions, including 11 preconference seminars, two general sessions, three break-out sessions, one research topic session, three industrial partners sessions, the student seminar and a poster session featuring posters from students, researchers and industrial partners.
Preconference seminars included topics about porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus monitoring and diagnostics, pen gestation, antibiotic stewardship and sustainability, pig survivability, boar stud health and biosecurity, data integration to support real-time decision making, new technologies and an introduction to understanding swine business. Several committees collaborated to offer professional development across the categories of physical, mental, financial and social health.
Saturday's PRRS Monitoring and Diagnostics preconference seminar drew the most preregistered attendees. As always, the Swine Medicine for Students preconference seminar was well attended by veterinary students. Sunday afternoon, veterinary students highlighted their research and experience to a large crowd during the student seminar.
The ever-popular practice tips session, named in honor of the late Dr. Max Rodibaugh this year, was voluntarily judged by Drs. Daniel Boykin, Lauren Nagel and Tom Painter, and chaired by Dr. Melissa Billing. Dr. Jim Kober's presentation titled, "Never say 'Why me?" followed by Dr. Terri Specht-Benson, "Teasing boars: Epididymectomy in farrowing house pigs," and Dr. Brent Sexton, "High-volume bronchoalveolar lavage: Long name, quick process for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae exposure."
Dr. Egan Brockhoff, independent contractor serving as the Veterinary Counselor for the Canadian Pork Council, opened the Monday general session with the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture.
During his presentation, titled "Be There: Be the Leader for the Pig, the Client, the Customer," he noted that while leaders come in all forms, they must be engaged. Those who "show up" make decisions and govern those who do not. "Now more than ever, veterinarians within the swine sector are needed to help shape and inform agriculture, food, and trade policy at all levels." He closed with a challenge to the audience: do hard things.
Dr. Attila Farkas, a veterinarian at Carthage Veterinary Service, Ltd., presented the Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture titled "Seizing Opportunity within Swine Veterinary Medicine." After a tribute to Dr. Hogg and the many mentors and experiences that shaped his life, Farkas encouraged attendees to welcome collaboration, embrace change, influence developments and adapt to what the future brings. He asked the audience, "What are you willing to do, learn and try?"
Speakers during the second half of the Monday general session described next generation challenges for which swine veterinarians should be prepared, shared challenges with the egg industry and suggestions for the swine industry.
The Monday afternoon concurrent sessions challenged veterinarians to think critically about biosecurity, evaluate current disease challenges, and consider how to best be prepared for foreign animal diseases. The Tuesday general session facilitated important conversations in porcine epidemic diarrhea virus control and elimination and in nutrition and animal health.
See Feedstuffs 365 and National Hog Farmer coverage from AASV here: