The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) honored five members for their contributions to the association and the swine industry. Dr. Butch Baker, 2009 AASV president, presented the awards at the association’s annual meeting March 4 in San Diego, CA.

Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award: Dr. Amber Stricker

Dr. Stricker is a 2008 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and received a Masters in Veterinary Microbiology in 2007 also from Iowa State University. She grew up on a farm near St. Ansgar,  Iowa where her family raised corn, soybeans, cattle and pigs. She was interested in agriculture at an early age and excelled in 4-H and FFA. She had her own cow/calf herd and market hogs and showed them at the county and state fair. 

Dr. Stricker is a partner and practicing veterinarian at Suidae Health and Production, a seven-veterinarian swine-exclusive practice based out of Algona, IA.

Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award: Dr. Brad Thacker

Dr. Thacker was recognized for his years of service as the Senior Technical Services Specialist for Merck Animal Health during the 2013 AASV Annual Meeting. In his position, Dr. Thacker’s responsibilities include providing technical support for Merck products and the company’s sales force. Swine producers he works with commented on his skill at mentoring recent veterinary graduates and educating farm employees.

Dr. Thacker received his DVM (1978), MS (1982) and PhD (1985) from the University of Minnesota. He later earned an MBA (2002) at Iowa State University.  He was in private practice in Fairmont and New Ulm, MN before joining the faculty at Michigan State University in 1983.  In 1994 he accepted an Associate Professorship in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University. He joined the technical team at Merck (then Intervet Schering-Plough) in 2002. 

Dr. Thacker has authored numerous publications in scientific journals and book chapters.  He is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and continuing education seminars worldwide. He is also a frequent author in producer and lay publications and a highly sought-after presenter at educational seminars for producer groups. 

Howard Dunne Memorial Award: Dr. Jeff Zimmerman

The Howard Dunne Memorial Award recognizes an AASV member who has made important contributions and provided outstanding service to the association and the swine industry. Dr. Zimmerman received his DVM (1984), MS in Veterinary Preventive Medicine (1986) and PhD in Veterinary Microbiology (1990) from Iowa State Univerity.  He is currently Professor of Disease EcologyintheDepartment of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine. 

In addition to being a prolific researcher, Dr. Zimmerman is dedicated to mentoring students. He has been a member of AASV since 1990 serving on the PRRS subcommittee, Annual Meeting Planning Committee and Swine Health Committee as well as chairing sessions at the AASV Annual Meeting. He also is active in the swine industry, participating on National Pork Board and National Pork Producer Council committees.

Dr. Zimmerman has authored over 100 refereed publications in addition to numerous book chapters and monographs. In his letter of nomination, Dr. John Prickett wrote “Jeff’s most recent notable contribution was his huge effort as an editor and organizer of the 10th Edition of Diseases of Swine. He has been dedicated to the quality of the book.”

Meritorious Service Award: Dr. Craig Rowles

Dr. Rowles received his DVM from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. He was in private practice with the Carroll Veterinary Clinic until 1996, when he left to become a partner and General Manager at Elite Pork Partnership, an 8,000 sow farrow to finish swine operation. He completed the Executive Veterinary Program at the University of Illinois in 2009 and is also the 2009 recipient of the Iowa State University Science with Practice Award.

Dr. Rowles has been a member of AASV throughout his career. In his nomination letter, Dr. John Waddell notes, “Craig has always been willing to step up to represent our association with groups such as AVMA, National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council. At the same time, he has always been willing to avail himself to aspiring veterinary students as well as to faculty and staff of Iowa State University to help promote our profession. Craig has also made himself and his farms available to the press, regulatory agencies and foreign visitors to provide the true story of modern swine production in the U.S.”

“The AASV has been the most important professional association in my career,” said Dr. Rowles. “It has enabled me to be a life long learner. The professional relationships have become some of my most important personal relationships.  Most importantly, it has offered me an opportunity to serve the industry that I love.”

Dr. Rowles and his wife Beth reside in Carroll, IA and have three children, Mathew, Brian, and Johnny.

Swine Practitioner of the Year

Dr. Barry Kerkaert was named 2013 Swine Practitioner of the Year by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians during the 44th AASV Annual Meeting held in San Diego, California. The award is given to the swine practitioner who has demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of veterinary service to clients.

Dr. Kerkaert is a native of southwestern Minnesota.  He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994.  Following graduation, he joined the Pipestone Veterinary Clinic in Pipestone, MN.   He has since become one of the managing partners in the veterinary practice.  The Pipestone Veterinary Clinic is comprised of 18 veterinarians and has locations in Pipestone Minnesota and Independence Iowa.  The Pipestone Veterinary Clinic is responsible for the management of the Pipestone System which is a 145,000 sow production system owned by independent farmers in located in 5 states.

Dr. Kerkaert has lectured, visited or consulted on swine farms in countries worldwide.  He is the organizer and co-founder of System Grow – Finish Management LLC.; a swine grow- finish production management company that currently manages 300,000 growing pigs. He has been a member of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians since 1994 and has served on the planning committee for annual meetings in 2001, 2004 and 2008.  He has also served on the Literature Review Committee for the Journal of Swine Health and Production.

Asked to comment about receiving this award, Dr.Kerkaer replied, “receiving this award was truely a humbling experience for myself.  I sincerely believe that we are the result of the persons that have been involved in our lives.  I have been blessed to have been surrounded by family, friends and clients that have set good examples, and pushed myself for my entire life.  To them - I say thank you.”

Dr.Kerkaert and his wife, Karen, currently reside in Pipestone, MN.  They have three children, Hayden, Jenna and Aubrey.

Source: AASV