This report provides a brief accounting of my activities on behalf of ARPAS since our meeting with ASAS in Austin, Texas, in 2019. Without a doubt, the past few months have been filled with the most world-changing events of our lifetime. Being older than most of our members, that is quite a long time for me. ARPAS, as an organization, was affected as well and your leadership is diligently working to adapt to our new environment.
This report is divided into two parts. The first part will focus on some of the changes that have been made since early March to allow us to function as an organization given the constraints we now face.
- We believe that conference calls (phone) would not suffice for member participation in our activities. Based on recommendations, we have selected Zoom as our meeting vehicle and obtained an ARPAS subscription for its use. Details for using our Zoom account will be provide on our website and in the next newsletter. We encourage the use of Zoom for chapter and committee meetings.
- The ADSA 2020 and ASAS 2020 Annual Meetings were changed to virtual conferences. Since ADSA was to be our meeting venue for 2020, we obviously had to change our plans.
The ARPAS Executive Committee elected to change our 2020 ARPAS Governing Council, ARPAS Annual Business Meeting, ARPAS Symposium, and ACAS Annual Business Meeting to a virtual meeting format also.
- Examinations will now only be administered online using a Zoom session for proctoring in conjunction with the use of EXAM BUILDER for the ARPAS exam. The instructions for this process are posted on our website.
- Continuing Education Units (CEU) opportunities, formerly in-person for our members, are now being staged as virtual meetings or webinars. We have reached out to many sponsors of these events and requested that we be allowed to evaluate them for ARPAS credit. The response has been overwhelming and we believe members will have ample opportunity to fulfill their annual CEU requirement. These approved events are posted on our website.
Part 2 of this report pertains to activities before March of this year:
I want to acknowledge and thank our president, Al Kertz, for his leadership and for recognizing that we did not really understand the demographics of our membership. He led the initiative to survey our members and update our database to reflect this valuable information. I also want to thank President Kertz for attending the California Chapter Symposium at Harris Ranch and the PAACO meeting in Kansas City on our behalf. I know our members appreciate the extra effort made by our president to keep in touch with their needs on their home turf.
The members of the Executive Committee were engaged to help on many issues this past year. Past-President Andy Cole, President Elect Daryl Kleinschmit, Secretary Moe Bakke, and Treasurer Dana Tomlinson provided exceptional wisdom and support for Al, Brittany, and me. An important support for all of us is Brittany Morstatter and her co-workers at FASS. Brittany is employed by FASS as an executive assistant and event coordinator and provides our administrative support. She is a very proactive person and has introduced several innovative changes in this role.
The changes made to the FASS computer system in 2019 presented many challenges to her and to some of our members. Our membership renewal process, which requires payment of dues and confirmation of CEUs, was affected and Brittany spent countless hours working with some of you to get your renewal processed. Hopefully, that is now a past issue. Much of the work on transitioning to virtual activities has been spearheaded by Brittany. She is having a very positive impact on this organization, which we greatly appreciate.
Jeremy Holzner and his team at FASS have provided outstanding support and guidance for us this year. In addition to administrative support, they provide accounting and finance, publications, IT, event coordination, and host our website. Susan Pollock serves as the key resource for our journal publication, which will be noted in the journal editor’s report. Susan and Jeremy were instrumental in our negotiations with Elsevier and the renewal of our publishing agreement for another five-year term.
I am especially appreciative for the work of journal editor Dave Beede and his associate editors in managing and editing our journal, Applied Animal Science. Dave’s diligence this past year was admirable. He was instrumental in our negotiations with Elsevier and is in frequent contact with them in his role as editor of our excellent journal.
The ARPAS financial position is sound but we are reaching the limit of annual income adequately covering our ever-increasing annual expenses. We do have invested reserves that will allow us to operate for about one year with little income, but it is not prudent to supplement annual expenses for an extended period. This situation has been reviewed by Treasurer Dana Tomlinson and the ARPAS Executive Committee, and Dana will be presenting a plan for resolution at this Governing Council meeting.
The ARPAS Foundation continues to grow slowly with current assets of about $220,000. The foundation can only use annual earnings from these assets for member educational and development activities. Examples of foundation support include providing a travel stipend for our graduate student members to the Governing Council meeting and to pay for the examination fee for graduate students.
Membership has not grown in recent years. We need to understand the demographics of our membership and that of the current mix of potential members so that tools can be developed to correct the problem. An elevator speech and a “value proposition” were frequently mentioned as the missing tools needed to convince individuals to make an application, take an exam, and become certified. The “value proposition” developed during President Cole’s tenure and approved by the Governing Council is now in place, and several videos and other materials are expected shortly.
You can help by becoming a champion for ARPAS within your company or university. Students, especially graduate students close to entering a professional career in animal science, are our best source of new members. The ARPAS Foundation has been paying the exam fee for graduate students, and in the past three years, we have had 75 to 100 per year take an ARPAS exam. We do not encourage undergraduates to take the exam until they are in their final year of study.
Leadership is key to the success of any organization and ARPAS has been fortunate to have a continuing supply of very capable leaders. Although we have more than 1,300 professional members, not all are willing to serve on a committee, support the activities of a chapter, or be appointed or elected to the Governing Council or Executive Committee. Some will only pay their annual dues and record their CEUs and that is OK. I challenge you to recruit some of these reluctant members to get involved in chapter activities or volunteer for service on one of our many committees.
Chapter membership and activities continue to grow. We now have seven ARPAS chapters and each is worthy of recognition. Please read their individual reports and become active in your designated chapter. Leadership in a chapter provides the best training ground for future leaders of the ARPAS Executive Committee and Governing Council.
Steve Schmidt, examination chairperson, with help from his committee members, makes sure our exam database is current and appropriate for testing the professional skills required of our new members. Our exam database software allows us to select questions needed to balance exam content and to weed out ambiguous questions. Steve and his committee previously prepared and posted study guides to assist prospective members in the exam process. Information about our exams is posted on our website.
The ARPAS Symposium at a national meeting (alternating between ADSA and ASAS) has proven to be a challenge in terms of deciding the focus needed to fit the forum. As an example, a recent president-elect had a dairy orientation and was tasked with organizing the ARPAS program for the ASAS meeting (or vice versa). President-Elect Daryl Kleinschmit was presented an additional hurdle for this year in that the symposium had to be changed from an in-person to a virtual format. This shows the versatility and managerial ability of our leaders.
Bill Price, our historian of long-standing, continually updates the record of ARPAS history. Please visit the History section of our website for an educational visit through ARPAS’ past. We can now add this current life-changing event to our history and learn from it.
We continue to support the Professional Animal Auditors Certification Organization (PAACO). As a founding member of this organization (2004), we agreed to support it by providing two ARPAS members to serve on their Board of Directors. Our current representative are John Richeson and Paul Beck and we thank them for their professional service on our behalf.
The Midwest Chapter was prepared to set up the ARPAS booth and give exams at the Midwest Dairy and Animal Science meeting in Omaha in early March. This became the first ARPAS event affected by the world-changing coronavirus. Needless to say, the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference and the 4-State Dairy Conference became virtual events without participation from ARPAS. I encourage the chapters to consider having a virtual chapter meeting and to continue elections and activities on their regular schedule using our Zoom platform.
Thanks to all ARPAS and ACAS members who gave of their time to work on behalf of this organization in the past year and thank you for the privilege of working with all these great members of ARPAS.