The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has developed the Swine Veterinarian Public Policy Advocates Program designed to train swine veterinarians to represent the pork industry on Capitol Hill.

“Veterinarians are highly respected and regarded, and we need to capitalize on their expertise on public health, animal well-being and food safety issues,” remarks program coordinator Jen Greiner, DVM, and NPPC director of Science and Technology.

“There is value for members of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) to represent their segment of the swine industry and bring their professional expertise to Washington on public policy issues,” adds AASV Executive Director Tom Burkgren, DVM.

“One of the troubling things with the growing call for food safety legislation is a growing ignorance on the part of the public and some politicians as well, when what is needed is common sense and reliance on the science, which shows that the United States still has one of the safest food supplies in the world. Swine veterinarians can credibly relay that message to Congress,” he comments.

The class curriculum contains three sections:

  • Basics in public policy development, key industry issues and the value of and how to engage the media;

  • Roles of the regulatory agencies, politicians and political action committees; and

  • Roles that veterinarians play in the public policy process.

Once graduates complete their three, 1-½-day training sessions in Washington, DC, they will receive policy updates from NPPC, and periodically be called upon to weigh in on important pork industry issues.

Each year, 10-12 swine veterinarians will be selected to complete the training. The first group includes: Angela Baysinger, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., Bruning, NE; Dale Mechler, DVM, Suidae Animal Health, Algona, IA; Marlin Hoogland, DVM, Murphy-Brown, LLC, Orange City, IA; Joel Nerem, DVM, Pipestone Veterinary Clinic, Pipestone, MN; Jim Lowe, DVM, Carthage Veterinary Service, LLC, Albers, IL; Max Rodibaugh, DVM, Swine Health Services, Frankfort, IN; Brad Luewerke, DVM, Swine Vet Services, St. Peter, MN; Cameron Schmitt, DVM, Pipestone Veterinary Clinic, Pipestone, MN; Lisa Tokach, DVM, Abilene Animal Hospital, Abilene, KS; and Rick Tubbs, DVM, Green River Swine Consultation, Woodburn, KY. The program is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health.

To apply, contact Greiner at (202) 347-3600 or