During March, the Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street (OMS) speakers partnered with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV). OMS-trained veterinarians presented lectures during a national symposium for pre-veterinary medical students and spoke to four groups of students at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University in Pullman.

Seven veterinarians also were trained as new OMS speakers during the AASV’s annual meeting March 10-13 in Denver, CO.  Two veterinary students from South Korea sat in on the class to find out more about the program.  

The AASV-OMS partnership began in January 2011 with the intent of having an OMS-trained veterinarian present a fact-based presentation about the pork industry to students at all 28 U.S. schools of veterinary medicine. The goal is to educate the future opinion leaders about modern pork production practices. Overall, 55 OMS presentations have been scheduled at 26 universities and schools of veterinary medicine across the country.

“The program has exceeded our expectations for getting into the schools,” says Amy Woods, DVM, with Advanced Veterinary Services in Wolcott, IN, who serves as chairman of the AASV-OMS program committee. “As we continue to push the program forward, we are placing our top priority on the small animal veterinary students. They will have contact with a lot of pet owners who will look to them as a trusted authority on animal well-being issues. We need to make sure they know our side of the story about swine management and health.”

Harry Snelson, DVM, director of communications for the AASV, says, “OMS provides the resources and a forum to promote an effective outreach opportunity to raise awareness among veterinary students about modern swine production. Whether or not these students go on to practice swine medicine, it is important that they have at least a basic understanding of what's involved in producing safe, healthy, wholesome and economical pork for the domestic and international markets, and the role veterinarians play in that process.”

Hundreds of students who attended the 2012 American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association Symposium March 2-4 at North Carolina State University in Raleigh heard about modern pork production practices and swine health from OMS speakers Gene Nemechek, DVM, with Pfizer Animal Health in Wilson, NC, and Mark Hammer, DVM, with Novartis Animal Health in Greensboro, NC.  Both speakers conducted lecture sessions and participated in a trade show booth that also was staffed by members of the North Carolina State University student chapter of the AASV.

Monty Moss, owner of Moss Farms in Burnettsville, IN, so impressed teachers and students at Washington State University (WSU) with an OMS presentation last March that he was invited back to do four presentations to more than 200 students on March 7 and 8. Moss spoke to students of the Agricultural Animal Club, the student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, a Herd Production Medicine class, and a combined meeting of members from the WSU Pre-Veterinary Club and the University of Idaho Pre-Veterinary Club.

Craig Rowles, DVM, with Elite Pork in Carroll, IA, and Tara Donovan, DVM, with Hanor Company in Spring Green, WI, also have done OMS repeat performances at schools of veterinary medicine.

For more information, contact Ernie Barnes at EBarnes@pork.org or (515) 223-2751.