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Second EVP opens enrolment for cow-calf practitioners

12 February 2020

The University of Illinois, in collaboration with Iowa State University, is accepting registrations for the Executive Veterinary Programme (EVP) in Beef Cattle Health Management.

The early registration deadline is 5 April for the course that starts in July 2020 and concludes in September 2021.

For nearly 30 years, EVP has been recognised as a premier credential for elite swine practitioners. In 2017 the programme was first offered to beef veterinarians.

The new course is specifically tailored for veterinarians who serve cow-calf operations and who are seeking more from their careers.

"A Unique Opportunity"

Dr Dan Thomson, an internationally known leader in beef cattle production and animal welfare, was instrumental in introducing the EVP model to beef practitioners. Thomson was recently named chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State after 15 years on the faculty at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he founded the Beef Cattle Institute.

Thomson is coordinating the 2020 EVP Beef course, along with Drs Jim Lowe and Terry Engelken. Lowe is an associate professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and an international consultant in both the swine and the beef industries. Engelken, also on faculty at Iowa State, has nearly 30 years of experience as a field service clinician, educator, and researcher in bovine health and cow herd profitability.

“The first cohort of beef veterinarians to experience EVP discovered the programme’s powerful combination of world-class instructors and a close-knit group of peers,” said Thomson. “EVP is a unique opportunity to grow and thrive in a supportive learning environment that equips veterinarians with the skills needed to master challenges facing their industry."

Lowe agrees. “Today’s food animal veterinarians need not only a robust understanding of medicine but also leadership, systems management, communication, and data analysis skills,” he said. “These are things you didn’t learn in veterinary school.”

"Like-minded Professionals"

The deep sense of community that develops among EVP classmates provides one of the course’s greatest values, according to graduates.

Dr Wade Taylor, a consultant with Production Animal Consultation based in Oakley, Kansas, puts it this way: “Great interaction with other like-minded professionals.” That, along with “great instruction” are reasons Dr Taylor says he “would highly recommend this programme.”

Dr Cameron Hall acknowledges two primary benefits from completing the EVP Beef course. “First was the connections and friendships I gained. I am in regular contact with several classmates and have developed both personal and professional relationships with them.”

He ranked the connections gained as more valuable to him than the career change he undertook shortly after the course ended, leaving a position as associate veterinarian at a group practice after nearly seven years to start Beef Production Services, in Columbia, Missouri.

“Secondly, I credit EVP with changing my paradigm with regards to my approach to practising beef medicine. I have launched a consulting practice, something I would never have had the courage, knowledge, or confidence to do before EVP.”

"Kick-start Your Practice"

According to Thomson, the EVP format will be especially beneficial for cow-calf practitioners, who often work in isolated conditions.

“By stepping away from your practice every other month to meet with peers, you open your mind to new possibilities,” he said. “It’s a chance to kick-start your practice, to move from focusing on the day-to-day grind of putting in a prolapse to thinking more broadly about the services you offer producers, from conception to consumption.”

Interaction with and access to instructors who are industry leaders also differentiates the EVP course model.

"Top Minds in Beef Medicine"

“I felt it was immensely valuable to rub shoulders with some of the top minds in beef medicine,” said Dr Jake Geis, of Sioux Nation Ag Center in Freeman, South Dakota, another graduate of the 2018 EVP Beef course. “The setting was small enough for me to ask detailed questions to truly understand a topic. And with the calibre of people in the room, there was plenty of opportunity for rebuttal and discussion.”

Dr Bob Taylor, current owner of Lonetree Ranch in Wyoming and former star of Animal Planet’s Emergency Vets reality show based in Denver, Colorado, puts it this way: “The quality, content, and interest shown by the instructors was world class and provided some of the best learning opportunities I have experienced in 50 years as a veterinarian.”

Featured instructors of the upcoming EVP Beef include Thomson and Engelken; Dr Chris Chase, with South Dakota State University; Dr Mike Apley, from Kansas State; and Dr Tom Noffsinger, an independent feedlot consultant with over 32 years in beef cattle practice.

Course Logistics

Through a series of eight two-day modules held every other month, instructors will cover such topics as “Improving Outcomes Through Clinical Reasoning,” “Human Impacts on Disease Occurrence and Detection,” and “Understanding Our Customers and the Food Supply Chain of the 21st Century.”

The Executive Veterinary Program in Beef Cattle Health Management will take place in Olathe, Kansas. The 15-month course leads to a certificate from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Enrolment is capped at 40 to foster group discussion and relationship building.

The cost of tuition is $9,000. Registrations placed by April 5 will receive a $1,000 early registration discount. A deposit is required at the time of registration, with the balance paid in four instalments.

Click here for details about the dates, course content, and instructors, and to register, email ope@vetmed.illinois.edu, or call 217-333-2907.



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