John Maas, DVM, a longtime California beef industry supporter, educator and researcher, was presented with the Gordon K. Van Vleck Award last weekat the annual convention of the California Cattlemen’s Association and California CattleWomen Inc.

As the highest honor awarded by the California Cattlemen’s Association, the Gordon K. Van Vleck award is named for one of CCA’s great past leaders. It is awarded to an individual who is not engaged in beef cattle production as a primary occupation but has made great contribution to the industry.

“I can think of no one more deserving of this award than John Maas,” said Ione Conlan, one of the many California beef producers who nominated Maas for the award. “He is a selfless individual who has given tirelessly to beef producers, who have benefited from his extensive knowledge, kind demeanor and prolific writing and research.”

Maas said he was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, after meeting his future wife, who was raised on a reputable Northern California Hereford ranch, he gained a passion for the ranching way of life and set veterinary medicine as his goal. He graduated from California State University, Chico with degrees in Biology and Chemistry. Maas continued his education at the University of California-Davis, where he became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1973. After spending a number of years in private large animal practice, Maas attended the University of Missouri for a master’s degree in Veterinary Microbiology.

Upon presenting Maas with the award, Conlan said while working as a faculty member at the University of Idaho and Oregon State University, Maas became board certified in both Nutrition and Internal Medicine, thus adding more academic letters after his name than actually in his name.

Maas joined the faculty of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis in 1988 and works in Veterinary Medicine Extension in beef cattle health and food safety. During his time serving California beef producers, Maas has been a founding member of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, serving as president and board chairman; chair of CCA’s Cattle Health Committee; Chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Producer Education Committee; CCA Second Vice President; and board member for NCBA’s Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Board.

In addition to his policy involvement in beef cattle organizations, Maas has testified before legislative bodies to protect cattle producers. He has written hundreds of scholarly articles and veterinary articles for beef publications and has been an integral part of California’s Beef Quality Assurance Program since its inception in the early 1990s.

“Dr. Maas has played an integral role in the California ranching community. His dedication has been felt in the animal health arena as well as the public policy arena. While he has been instrumental in the success of California ranchers, his efforts have also been felt throughout our nation as he has dedicated himself to so many educational causes that have benefited ranchers everywhere,” said CCA President Kevin Kester, a rancher from Parkfield.