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Published on Friday, August 1, 2008

Report from Executive Vice President

Kenneth R Cummings, PhD, PAS, Dipl ACAN

What motivates retired people to want to take on part-time work? They need some place to go, they want to be needed, they need the money, they have a cause they care about or retirement is really just a figment of one’s imagination. 

I can eliminate most of these very quickly and say if I didn’t believe in the mission of ARPAS, the business of agriculture and the continuance of my long-term association with friends and associates, I would not be a very happy person. I can also add that my wife would be very unhappy also. Thanks for rescuing me. 

The past six months have passed very quickly, and I have established a new personal record for emails. Most are from/to Susie Rahn, our most able and conscientious administrative assistant with FASS. Susie and her associates at FASS headquarters provide us with tracking of our financial and administrative records, correspondence, test preparation and grading, logistics, and general communications with our members. She also has a lot of contact with your very busy executive committee. Thank you, Susie, for your dedication to the members of ARPAS, to this organization, and to me in my role with ARPAS.

I also want to thank Dr. Dick Frahm, the immediate past executive vice-president of ARPAS, for helping with my orientation and continuing education program. For this, I am awarded CEP’s and Dick is awarded a gold star. 

Your president, Dr. Darrell Johnson, has also been tolerant and supportive of my slow metamorphosis from a Past-President of ARPAS to an employee of ARPAS. I don’t know if he could have survived a whole year.

My activities on behalf of ARPAS started in December 2007 with a program initiated by Dr. Dick Frahm. I gave an ARPAS exam (beef) to about 30 employees of a major feed company immediately after they had completed a 3-day training program. The species-specific training was conducted by their staff and outside consultants. This sequence has been repeated several times by this company and is a win-win program for both ARPAS and the company. We acquire new members and they get employees with enhanced skills and added value. Although not perfect, the model is being refined by the company and they intend to continue using the ARPAS exam as partial measure of their progress. The confidentiality of our exam process is preserved as only the individual is told whether he/she passed or failed.

Your President appointed an adhoc committee which includes me, Dr.Steve Schmidt (chairperson of the Examining Committee) and president-elect Marit Arana to review the possibility of ARPAS developing assessment tests for evaluation of proficiency of graduating seniors in the animal sciences or for other purposes such as employee training. The committee has had several phone conferences to assess the opportunity and determine the need. A survey was sent to Animal Science Department heads and coordinators for input. Our response e was small but there is interest and need. We need more input before we are ready to recommend any action to the Governing Council.

Evaluation of programs for ARPAS credit is growing. We receive several requests each week for evaluation of conferences, meetings, company training, and non-traditional educational programs for review and allocation of ARPAS continuing education units (CEUs). It is important to identify programs that are worthy of ARPAS credit before they occur to allow for evaluation. ARPAS is recognized in the program and we get an opportunity to solicit new members.

Member interaction on questions of certification, CEUs, emeritus status, hardship situations is welcomed, and we have received a number of these in my half-year tenure. Each is first addressed by Susie Rahn and, if required, by the executive vice-president, your president, or the executive committee. Members are the reason we exist. We follow the bylaws as closely as possible, but sometimes they are inadequate to address a situation.

I attended the Professional Animal Auditor Organization (PAACO) board meeting in Indianapolis. This allowed me to review their progress since I was a board member and to reconnect with representatives of other founding organizations. Dr. Wayne Greene will report on PAACO.
March was a busy month as I attended and represented ARPAS at the Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference and Mid-West Animal Science Meeting. I also met with the above-mentioned company to review ARPAS involvement in their training program.

A significant revision of ARPAS bylaws was finalized and ratified by the members. As we take on new activities, add new areas of specialization and revise the board certification process, the bylaws must be changed. Expect to see revision of the bylaws as an ongoing process.

The revamping of the board certification system with five colleges being collapsed into a single College of Animal Sciences was accomplished in 2007. We are working to get the discipline testing programs organized and functioning. Dr. Mich Etchbarne will report on ACAS. 
ARPAS and the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) have renewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) created about five years ago. This MOU identifies ARPAS as the certification mechanism for Feed Management, which is a component of the nutrient mnagement program. Dr. Randy Shaver is our primary contact.

Thank you for your help and support of me in my role as the executive vice-president of ARPAS. We have a growing organization of which we can all be proud to say we are a member.
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