A recent appreciation day for Ontario Veterinary College Ruminant Field Services (OVC RFS) clients emphasized their important support of OVC’s teaching programs. The RFS, which services farm clients surrounding the Guelph area, is an integral teaching tool for student veterinarians, who gain valuable hands-on experience in diagnostics and clinical skills working with clients on-farm.
The client day provides an opportunity to thank clients, as well as provide updates on recent research at the University of Guelph and the Ontario Veterinary College, says Dr. Todd Duffield, OVC professor and one of the faculty veterinarians with the OVC RFS.
Clients heard updates on small ruminant, beef, and dairy research, as well as information on a recent instance of bluetongue in Ontario and Dairy Farmers of Canada’s proAction initiative, a national quality assurance program.
Food policy seems to be back in the news again, OVC Dean Jeff Wichtel told the group in his welcoming remarks, pointing out the new federal government has made livestock production one of its priorities with a mandate letter to the new Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food that includes development of a food policy promoting “high quality food, more Canadian food, produced by people like you.”
Consumer perceptions were highlighted in a presentation with UofG’s Dr. Mike von Massow, from the College of Management and Economics. Price, freshness and safety are important requirements for consumers, but there is more concern and consciousness surrounding animal welfare, he said.
Consumers don’t have a clear idea how their food is produced and many have no idea where to get information about the agriculture industry. “We need to do a better job of telling consumers what we’re doing,” he added. “We have an opportunity to engage consumers.”
OVC research updates included: Dr. Charlotte Winder on a dairy calf pilot study working with veterinary clinics to train producers and farm staff to administer pain medication for disbudding and dehorning using in-person and on-line training approaches; Kaley Mackie, MSc student, discussing research into parasites on beef pasture; and Dr. Andrew Peregrine, parasitologist, outlining a new dewormer for the Haemonchus parasite in sheep and tips to avoid creating resistance to the treatment.
Sponsors for the day included Boehringer Ingelheim, Elanco, Merck Animal Health, Merial, and Zoetis.
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