Where has the time gone? It seems like only last week we were meeting in Kansas City, and here it is a year later in Orlando. Serving as ARPAS president was not a traumatic experience as is often the fear that people have in participating in similar societies. Instead it has been truly a pleasure on my part to serve in this capacity for my peers in the industry. I would like to thank Kenneth Cummings for his continuing efforts as the executive vice president. Without the constant support of Cummings to keep things on track and his enthusiasm, ARPAS would not be the society it is today. I would also like to thank Jeremy Holzner for his service to ARPAS and hope that efforts in putting on this year’s ADSA–ASAS joint annual meeting are fruitful. And I would like to thank Kelsey Grant for taking over Jeremy’s duties and making it a seamless transition.
This year we saw the initiation of the Career Learning Center, a joint effort with the American Society of Animal Science. Although it has not taken off as quickly as I had anticipated, I do believe it is an excellent program and will provide a valuable resource in the future to ARPAS members. I hope in the coming years there will be similar programs developed with American Dairy Science Association and the Poultry Science Association. Providing an accessible archiving system for the presentations given throughout the year will provide an invaluable resource not only to our membership but also colleges and universities across the country.
As a society, ARPAS has excellent financial and membership status. Last year there was nearly a 9% increase in membership. Indicators early this year have shown continued strength in the society. The finances of the society continue as well to be strong. Although the finances from The Professional Animal Scientist (PAS) were reduced from previous years, part of that reduction was due to the specialty of last year’s ARPAS Symposium, which focused on ethics and thus did not seek financial support from outside sources for publication of articles. On that note, it was a pleasure on my part to work with the talented presenters we had for our symposium, and watch for the upcoming publication on the symposium by Bunting and Galyean. This year Bob Wettemann has put together what looks to be an informative symposium on reproduction. Thanks for your efforts, Bob.
Changes will also be coming to PAS publication. In an effort to improve visibility and effectiveness of publishing, we are entering into an agreement with Elsevier to publish and handle PAS. We are entering into an evaluation mode right now to see if this is the best option we have available to our journal and membership. I believe that PAS provides a valuable resource to the livestock industry as a publication that can pull together research and reviews that perhaps do not have the academic rigor for the Journal of Dairy Science, the Journal of Animal Science, or Poultry Science or are more practical controlled field trials. Increasing the visibility of PAS will also increase the visibility of ARPAS.
I would also like to commend all of the regional chapters on their efforts this year. I was able to attend several of the regional meetings and found them to be inspiring and truly dedicated to the tenants of ARPAS as well as great forums to draw students, the future of ARPAS, into our society. This also coincides with the efforts of the ARPAS Foundation. The Foundation is on solid financial footing and supporting the efforts to bring students into the society by financially subsidizing the taking of the exam by these students. Although not everyone taking the exam is passing it, we have greater than 50% of those taking the exam passing it. This number may not appear to be an impressive number, but if you look at competency exams given out in other industries or professions, this is very impressive.
In closing, I can only hope that during my service as president I have provided the necessary leadership expected of me. I look forward to working with Bob this coming year and then with Mike next year for the Foundation. I truly want to thank all of the members of the Governing Council for their support and input. I wish them great success in the future. And, I hope to help move other projects along with my support in the coming years. Thank you!