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Dr. B.J. Jones, of Darlington, is one of the veterinarians working to ensure consumers have safe beef on their grill. With over 14,000 beef producers in the state, veterinarians play a key role in the production of safe meat.

"In addition to the four years of veterinary school education, veterinarians attend continuing education seminars each year to further their education and develop new skills," says Dr. Jones.

A recent example of this for Dr. Jones is a workshop he attended on improved record keeping and proper medication use. In dealing with a herd, such details as the use and timing of specific medications can be crucial for both the health of the individual animal, as well as protecting our food supply. With the skills learned at this workshop, Dr. Jones will be able to take new ideas to the beef operations he works with to help improve the practices used on the farm.

The herds Dr. Jones works with have veterinarian client-patient relations (VCPR), which involves visits to the farm to treat individual animals as well as discuss herd health issues and any problems the farm may have. Based on these farm visits, the veterinarian designs custom health protocols and management strategies to improve the animals' well-being.

"Beef producers and veterinarians need to work as a team to help maintain optimal cattle health, which will help ensure a safe meat supply for everyone," says Dr. Jones.

Since a large percent of consumers have never been on a farm or exposed to agriculture, Dr. Jones believes helping them understand the industry is a top priority.

"With the county and state fair season upon us, consumers shouldn't be afraid to stop by a beef producer's display at the fair and ask questions," recommends Dr. Jones, "Producers are very knowledgeable about the products they produce and would be happy to discuss the beef industry with them."

With consumer's needs evolving, the relationship between veterinarians and beef producers will evolve as well.

"Veterinarians must be able to bring information, news and ideas along with solutions to the farm that will allow them to produce safe, high-quality beef that will meet the changing demands of the industry," says Dr. Jones.

As you start that grill up this month, be sure to thank the people that made it possible – beef producers and veterinarians!

To find a WVMA member food animal veterinarian in your area, go to https://wvma.org/findaclinic.

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Guest Saturday, 20 October 2018
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