The assessments and the BQA they’re tied to also create more opportunity for interaction between veterinarians and their clients.

“Lots of vets use BQA as a platform to discuss building protocols for vaccinations and regimens for treatment,” Dr. Griffin says. “Feedlots and ranches seem very willing to pay for quality training and services.”

“BQA and the client-veterinary interaction is more important today than it has ever been,” Dr. Furman says.

As time goes on, all these veterinarians believe the role of veterinarians as educators and trainers will grow.

“Veterinarians have a fair amount of training in animal behavior; they get to look at the operations they serve from an outside perspective and have been tremendously important and active in training employees,” Dr. Griffin says. “When I check up with veterinarians in the feedlots today, they have a very close interaction with cowboys and processing crews (not just the managers).”

Dr. Furman believes training will become more critical as a new generation of owners and managers emerge.

It’s already happening.

The Animal Center is a mixed practice but mostly large animal serving feedlots and primarily 500+ head cow-calf operations. While most of Dr. Furman’s clients still represent ranches that run eight and nine generations deep, others (about 20-25 percent) with a similar pedigree are changing ownership. Some of the new owners are corporate and have a history in the cattle business. Others are well-to-do absentee owners. In either case, the decision making process is less direct than it is dealing with the owner/managers of family ranches.

“As we get new owners, managers and employees in client operations we have to spend more time teaching them BQA basics,” Dr. Furman says. “It comes down to education. BQA is a great opportunity to educate. There is tremendous value. Whether you’re just starting out in the beef industry or are very progressive, you use BQA rules and guidelines as a reminder or as a point of education.”

“We still need to lay the same foundation but spread it wider. Then, as we have this generational turnover we’ll have to keep the foundation from crumbling. Everyone will have to work together.”

Dr. Furman likens the necessity of BQA to that of keeping a saddle atop a horse.

“You’ve got to tighten the cinch to keep the saddle on a horse. BQA is as basic as that cinch is for anyone who wants to manage cattle profitably and sustainably. It’s a must,” Dr. Furman says. “We need to continue to do a good job, do it better, be concerned about how we’re perceived by the public, and we all need to be on the same side.

"We have to make sure we don’t slide backward.”

 

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