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Published on Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Executive Vice President's Report 2011-2012

Kenneth Cummings, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAN

The 2011-2012 ARPAS year was one filled with excitement, activity and forward progress toward implementing some of the items of change and improvement identified from our 2010 membership survey. Financially, we are healthy and accomplishing our basic mission of certification and continuing education of professional animal scientists. Our members continue to maintain a very high standard of professional and personal ethics.

The 2010 membership survey provided input for Past-President Marit Arana and her committee to develop a relevant strategic plan. It is the responsibility of this Governing Council to further evaluate and implement those changes and improvements important to the continuing success of this organization. Some of those will be discussed at this meeting. Although we can’t accurately predict the future, this plan is our road map for determining our organization’s direction for the next several years.

Of concern is membership growth, which is slowing but not stagnant. Some long-time members have not renewed their membership. Other members and prospective members have raised the concern “What value do I get from my membership in ARPAS?” In this time of change, that is a fair question and I am confident this governing body will provide some definitive answers.

The American College of Animal Sciences (ACAS), led by President Jack Garrett, has continued to meet on a regular basis and evaluate ARPAS members for board certification. All six disciplines are active in identifying “highly qualified” individuals for board certification as well as testing of other qualified applicants. We are again approaching 200 board certified members of ARPAS. 

ARPAS is still an active participant in the Professional Animal Auditors Organization (PAACO). As one of the founders, we are well-represented on the PAACO board by Drs. Terry Mader, Frank Owsley and Ted Friend. With animal welfare issues commanding a lot of national attention, it is important that ARPAS continues its support of PAACO.

We continue to operate under our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). ARPAS provides training and certification of our members to become service providers for the Feed Management Component of Nutrient Management Plans. Several of our members (Drs. Joe Harrison, Randy Shaver and others) have devoted a significant amount of time and talents to this program and over 100 ARPAS members are now certified in Feed Management.

Our MOU with the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science provided for our assistance to establish an ARPAS-type organization in that country. One of our newest member’s, Dr. Adegbola Adesogan, represented us at the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science’s inaugural celebration in May. We are appreciative of his time and effort on behalf of ARPAS. Again we will be hosting a delegation from that country during this meeting.

The ARPAS Foundation, chaired by Past-President Bill Braman, now has an asset base of over $80,000 and a board of directors. Its purpose is to grow the assets of the foundation and utilize the earnings for education activities of members and prospective members. The board is working to identify worthy projects to be funded by the Foundation. We always welcome additional contributions and input for the Foundation.

The annual ARPAS symposium, an integral part of the joint meeting program, has grown in attendance and features world renowned speakers delivering relevant information for our members and guests. Leadership for organizing this year’s symposia was the responsibility of the President-Elect Bill Sanchez. The symposium titled Feed Efficiency: Opportunities for Improvement, Economics, and Integration with Environmental Sustainability was presented last month at the ADSA/ASAS meeting in Phoenix. 

We are entering out fifth year of recognizing “Distinguished Professional Animal Scientist”. Please read more on this year’s recipients in the article below.

Chapters have been vital to ARPAS for over 20 years. Some have more activities and members than others because of geography and meeting opportunities. Our newest Chapters, the Northeast and Midwest are busily conducted programs and communicating with ARPAS members in their respective area. Both of these chapters have the potential to engage several hundred ARPAS members and place one or more representatives on this Governing Council. Chapters provide local representation and development activities for all ARPAS members and I encourage this Governing Council to help provide the leadership for our chapters.

Membership-related issues continue to dominate the activities of the ARPAS staff. Yvona Vlach, our Membership Services Coordinator, has completed her third year on your behalf. She does an outstanding job of managing our membership database, website, examination and CEU tracking and reporting systems. We have had minimal membership issues in past year which would indicate that we have great personnel and well-tuned systems. Other FASS staff members provide valuable editorial, accounting and financial reporting and website and database management assistance of which we are grateful. Dr. Joe Harrison, NW Director, heads up our membership committee and works closely with Yvona on membership monitoring and analyses.

Our newsletter continues to grow in importance, scope, length and visual appeal. Dr. Pete Erickson (NE Director) heads the communications committee and along with the ARPAS Executive Committee, is responsible for developing this outstanding membership informational vehicle. Yvona Vlach is indispensible in putting the finishing touches on this product.

Some of my daily activities involved communicating with members and prospective members (including international), orchestrating and participating in conference calls, reviewing the website and ARPAS literature, writing newsletter articles, preparing and participating in meetings, administering exams and evaluating conference and meeting agendas for CEU’s. 

Thanks to Yvona, we have updated our ARPAS membership brochure and the ACAS Board Certification brochure. Although most of our contact information has become web-based, it is still important to have “point of contact” information pieces to present to prospective members and for use by our ARPAS members with their clients and contacts. 

Affordable professional liability and other insurance products are still available to ARPAS members through Agri-Services Agency, the insurance arm of Dairy Farmers of America. We worked for several years to identify and engage this provider and I encourage members to contact them directly for their insurance needs. 

Frequent communications with members of the Executive Committee and the leadership team of ACAS are necessary to insure that all facets of our organization are headed in the intended direction and accomplishing our goals. Both committees meet via phone conference calls at least bi-monthly. I greatly appreciate their time and effort spent on the conducting the affairs of ARPAS or ACAS and want to formally express my sincere thanks to each one of them. 
Other key staff members who work diligently on your behalf are Dr. Wayne Kellogg, Editor of PAS Journal and Dr. Steve Schmidt, our Examination Chairperson. Many ARPAS members serve on the Journal Editorial Board or the Examination Committee. Without them, neither of these two vital parts of our ARPAS structure could function. 

We are proud of the PAS Journal, which has long been recognized as an outstanding publication uniquely serving the needs of our membership. The Journal continues to increase in scope and stature, while being financially self-supporting. Submission of research conducted by our members is essential to its continuing success.

Membership in ARPAS is only by examination. Our credibility as a certification organization depends on the quality of the exams and the examination process. We have 13 entry-level examinations as well as examinations for Feed Management, Dairy Nutrition and various board certification disciplines. Each is frequently evaluated, updated, and validated thanks to Steve and his committee members. I want to thank all of our members who have participated in development or administration of exams in 2012.

The Financial report from our Treasurer Dr. Carl Hunt, will verify that ARPAS continues to be in sound financial condition with a reserve of almost 100% of annual expenditures. Along with Carl, I monitor ARPAS expenditures and investments relative to our budgetary projections. 

Dues are important but another vital part of our funding is our Sponsorship program. Dana Tomlinson (SE Director) and his Sponsorship committee have raised the level of contact and developed new rewards for our sponsors. As a result, we are seeing an increase in revenue, of which we are very appreciative. Personal contact with sponsors is essential and can be accomplished by any ARPAS member, not just this committee. I encourage any of you with “insider” contacts with a potential sponsor to get help us solicit their support for ARPAS.

Meetings and conferences that I attended on behalf of ARPAS in 2011-2012 were Mid-Atlantic Nutrition, Tri-State Dairy Nutrition, Cornell and Penn. State Dairy Nutrition Conferences, Midwest Animal Science Meeting, Washington DC ARPAS Chapter meeting and the Joint ADSA/ASAS Meetings. ARPAS exams were given at most of these meetings and sponsors were cultivated. 

Thanks to all ARPAS and ACAS members who give of their time to work on behalf of this organization. Thank you for allowing me to work with President John Wagner, Past-President Bill Braman and the officers and GC members of ARPAS and to be your representative for ARPAS to the world-at-large. I also want to recognize the contributions of Dr. Jim Spain and Dr. Dana Tomlinson as Regional Directors of ARPAS over the past three years.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank Dr. Ellen Jordan, Secretary of ARPAS and Yvona Vlach, our FASS/ARPAS Administrative Liaison, for their diligent efforts in recording our ARPAS business activities as well as keep us orderly and focused.

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