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ARPAS Spring 2023 Newsletter

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Published on Monday, December 1, 2014

President's Letter

Jack Garrett, PhD, PAS, ACAS Dipl.

We are almost at the end of another year; it is amazing how fast time seems to pass. For the holiday season, I would like to encourage everyone to sit back and reflect on the last 365 days. I believe we spend too much time rushing forward and too little time in serious evaluation. This has been an excellent year for me, and I look forward to another great year in 2015.

I would like to thank Kenneth Cummings, executive vice-president and long-time friend, for his help, support, and ability to keep me on track with the responsibilities of being the president of ARPAS. Also, I would like to thank Jeremy Holzner, executive secretary, for his hard work and efforts.

The ARPAS membership numbers are strong and ever growing with new members. I would like to send out my appreciation to Bill Brahman, chairperson of the ARPAS Foundation, and his committee for their continued support on an action basis and financial basis in providing funding to student applicants who are just completing their studies and venturing out into the real world. This brings students into ARPAS at this point in time, when they might not have the finances to take the exam and join at this time. These students are the future of ARPAS.

I want to congratulate Bob Wettemann for getting this coming year’s symposium speakers lined up and everything on schedule. I know how difficult that can be from my experience of last year. Wettemann has organized an excellent symposium on reproduction to be conducted at the 2015 joint annual meetings (JAM) in Orlando, Florida.

Regarding the upcoming JAM, ARPAS will have some decisions to make in the next year regarding our annual meetings as well as our Governing Council meeting and ACAS annual meeting. Currently, they are conveniently coordinated with the JAM each year. But as most of you know, in the next couple of years the JAM will not be a combining of the American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association groups, but both organizations will begin holding their own meetings once again. The executive committee decided to survey our membership, which predominately crosses over both organizations, to obtain their general impression on this situation. Over the next few paragraphs, I will review the results of the survey. I was pleased to observe that almost one-third of our membership responded to this survey.

The initial question covered other-society membership; respondents indicated that 58% were members of ASAS, 48.5% were members of ADSA, 14.8% PSA, and 14.6% other societies. As you can tell, there is considerable crossover between the societies, with members having multiple memberships. The second question addressed attendance at meetings over the last five years. This was more enlightening to me than I initially thought it would be. There were 25.3% of the respondents that indicated they had not been to any of the last five meetings. I heard some comments that indicated that 25% of our membership did not think the meetings were important, but to me it indicated that ARPAS is not strictly an academic society but one that deals closely with the industries that we serve. Those members that do not attend an organization’s annual meeting still have to find ways of continuing their education, and that primarily has to come from those of us who do attend such meetings. Having those that attend the JAM able to relay the information to others in the industry not attending is extremely critical. The other 75% of the survey respondents indicated they had attended, with one-third of that group indicating they had attended all of the last 5 JAMs.

The next question dealt with the value of attending the annual meetings for each of those societies. The respondents to the survey indicated overwhelmingly (85%) that attending the meetings was of value. ARPAS sponsorship of an activity at the JAM was the next question; 73.8% of the respondents preferred ARPAS sponsoring an activity at JAM rather than trying to put on a conference of our own. As to future meetings, this was addressed in the question about which organization ARPAS should meet with to hold our annual meetings. The result of this question appears to have aligned down society lines. Members selected ASAS 41%, ADSA 41%, and other societies 18%.

The final two questions dealt with future meetings. At which society meetings did members believe their employers would have exhibits? One-third of the responds indicated their employers would exhibit at the meetings, and of that group, two-thirds indicated ADSA and one-third indicated ASAS. Finally, the question was posed asking which meeting would you attend, both or neither. The results were predictable from the answers to the previous questions: 37% ASAS, 35% ADSA, 6% both, and 21% neither.

Although the survey did not give a clear-cut answer to the situation of ARPAS and the future meetings of these organizations, it has given the executive committee the views of our membership. What we do with that information in crafting future meetings is our responsibility and charge.

I will close this letter now but hope this information has given you all something to think about. This fall I was invited by Jim Tulley to the annual CA-ARPAS section meeting at Harris ranch. What I relayed to them I would now like to relay to you, ARPAS is an organization that only gives back what you put into it. We have a strong ethical structure, an excellent practical information vehicle (PAS), and valid certification programs. We are a networking organization where everyone’s input matters. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to send them to me or any member of the executive committee. 

I wish everyone a very happy holiday season, and may our new year be one of rejoicing and great success.
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