Evolution of ARPAS Services for Our Members


Kenneth Cummings, Executive Vice President, and Bill Price, Historian

ARPAS (1984) We are now in our 30th year (40th if you count our predecessor organization ARCAS, which was initiated in 1974*). We have grown in membership and vastly expanded the scope of activities and services provided to our members. In our formative years, animal scientists were provided an examination, a professional certification, and a code of ethics. We also established a vehicle for publishing applied research. Over time, many activities have been added to further enhance our members' education, recognition, professional experience, and value, personally and to their profession. A strategic plan was developed in 2001 and updated in 2006 and 2011 to ensure continuing financial security and enhance membership activities. A membership survey, conducted prior to our 2011 plan, identified additional areas for involvement that would enhance our members' visibility and position ARPAS as a more relevant professional certification organization. Not all efforts were deemed feasible or resulted in success, but we listened. Some of the more impactful services and activities added over the years are given below.

Our Journals (1974) The Professional Animal Scientist has been a part of the ARPAS offering since our inception and has continued to grow in size and stature as well. Originally it was called The Animal Scientist, then Animal Industry Today, and finally The Professional Animal Scientist (PAS). It has grown up to become a journal for applied animal science articles. In 2007, the use of Manuscript Central was employed to facilitate the review of journal articles. In 2008, ARPAS contracted with HighWire to allow scientists worldwide to access PAS articles through web-based literature searches. This has helped to attract authors to choose PAS for publication of their research.

ARPAS Newsletter was published intermittently until 2005, usually by the executive vice president (EVP). Since then, the northeast director has been the designated chairperson for the publications committee, and it is now published three times per year.

ARPAS Chapters (1986) Current chapters are California, Colorado/Wyoming/Nebraska, Midwest, Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Arkansas/Oklahoma/Texas (reorganization), Southern Plains, and Washington DC. The earliest chapters were the California (1986) and Washington DC Chapters (1986). Activities vary by chapter and include membership building, educational programs, scholarships, and university seminars to inform students of the value of professional certification.

Board Certification (1995) The board certification and college system was developed to recognize the additional expertise and education of ARPAS members. Five colleges were initially established. This system has further evolved to the American College of Animal Sciences with six discipline areas.

FASS Administrative Support and Publication (1998) ARPAS has utilized the expertise of Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) personnel for many functions since FASS was formed in 1998. Prior to that time, services were provided by the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA). We are very appreciative for the continuing excellent service provided by the staff of FASS.

ARPAS Executive Director/Vice President (1999) Our first EVP, Bill Baumgardt, quickly expanded our outreach and developed our sponsorship program. This greatly improved the financial position of ARPAS. He was followed by Dick Frahm in 2003 and the current EVP in 2008.

Representation on AFIA's Nutrition Council (2001) ARPAS was given a seat on the American Feed Industry's Nutrition Council. Bill Baumgardt was our first representative.

Feed Management Certification (2003) ARPAS established a memorandum of understanding with the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Our role is to facilitate the development of a training program for the feed management component of a Nutrient Management Plan. Members of ARPAS provide the feed management training, and ARPAS provides the examination and certification.

Professional Animal Auditors Certification Organization (2004) ARPAS was one of four founding members of the Professional Animal Auditors Certification Organization (PAACO), established to provide certification of third-party animal welfare auditing programs. Our modest investment in money and people for the founding of PAACO was a success. It has become recognized as the world-standard body for auditor certification and review of production animal auditing programs. Three of our members represent ARPAS on the governing body.

ARPAS Symposium (continuous since 2006) The room has always been too small for this well-attended symposium sponsored by ARPAS at the Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of ASAS and ADSA. It began as a part of our continuing educational effort and continues to be the hallmark of our contribution to the JAM.

Examining Board Chair (2008) Initially this important position was staffed by an appointed chairperson. Because of the workload involved, it was changed to a part-time paid position and the chairperson was added as a member to the Governing Council.

Distinguished Professional Animal Scientist Awards (2008) This award brings recognition to past leaders of ARPAS who have also had a significant impact on animal agriculture. Two or three worthy recipients are recognized annually.

ARPAS Foundation (2008) The ARPAS Foundation serves as a financial resource for educational and developmental activities apart from the ARPAS annual budget. Having a foundation provides members a way to give a lasting gift to ARPAS. The foundation is also providing funding for student exams.

International Activities (2011) ARPAS provided the model for the Nigerian Institute of Animal Sciences to develop a professional certification program. We work within the framework of a MOU and host their representatives at our annual meetings.

Liability Insurance (2012) In response to our members' needs and requests, ARPAS sourced and developed an agreement with the AgriServices Agency to provide an affordable liability and business insurance program for individual ARPAS members. This is especially useful for our members working as independent consultants or in a privately owned business.

An Examination for College Seniors and Graduate Students (2013) This concept was mentioned by Bill Baumgardt, our first executive director, in an ARPAS Newsletter (November, 1999). He stated "Future plans call for making presentations to graduating seniors and graduate students at each Animal Science Department in the region on the value of being a professional animal scientist." In addition, he proposed the idea of giving assessment exams to these students using a composite of questions from the ARPAS database. These ideas are about to be realized as several chapters will be taking this on as a project, and several universities are interested our development of assessment exams.

Online Examinations (2014) Examinations are fundamental to attaining membership in ARPAS. To facilitate testing, a small committee evaluated available software programs providing the security, accuracy, and cost-structure necessary to allow online ARPAS exams. Monitoring of the examination process by a member is still required for security.

Wikipedia (2014) To further enhance the visibility of ARPAS, a page was established in Wikipedia for the "American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists" by our historian.

*The American Registry of Certified Animal Scientists (ARCAS) was founded in 1974 as the initial certification organization and was renamed ARPAS in 1984. Please see the History of ARPAS on our website.