4th Int’l BVDV Symposium and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Annual Convention: First let me say that Phoenix is much warmer than Kansas City in January! My first two days were spent at the 4th International BVDV Symposium (see the synopses at www.drovers.com). What a roomful of BVDV experts! The conference covered everything from PI testing, genetics, feedlots, immunology, vaccination and calves, and was split into a scientific session and applied sessions.

I was only at NCBA a short time, but I did catch an afternoon of the Animal Stewardship meeting organized by Dave Sjeklocha, DVM, Haskell County Veterinary Consultants, Sublette, Kan., and chair of the AVC Beef Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee. Dave did an excellent job bringing together representatives from a variety of food animal and industry groups. “We need to tell our side of the story because up until now the animal rights groups have been telling our story and haven’t been getting it right,” said Sjeklocha. “We are a food production industry. We need to get over egos and competitiveness and come together as a unit. Animal rights groups will divide and conquer us if we don’t come together.”

One of the highlights was listening to young South Dakota producers Troy and Stacy Hadrick talk about using your “30-second elevator speech” about your role in the livestock industry (see my editorial column in the March-April 2009 issue). Sjeklocha has also put together a listserve of industry folks who are interested in working together and developing ways to communicate to our industries and the public at large.

Contact Dr. Dave Sjeklocha at drdave@wbsnet.org to get more information on the nomination process to join the Animal Stewardship listserve to join in the discussion with other like-minded individuals.