The Swine Health Information Center welcomed two new board members during their meeting held on June 29, 2022. Kent Bang, Bang Ag Consulting, LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, and Paul Ruen, DVM, partner in Fairmont (MN) Veterinary Clinic, began their terms. Founding board members Matt Anderson, DVM, an owner of Suidae Health and Production, Algona, Iowa, and Mark Greenwood, formerly with Compeer Financial, Mankato, Minnesota, concluded their service.
The new SHIC Board of Directors held election of officers as well. Daryl Olsen, DVM, AMVC of Audubon, Iowa, was chosen to continue leading the SHIC Board as its president. Howard Hill, DVM, Ames, Iowa, was tabbed to remain vice president for the organization and Bang will serve as secretary/treasurer. Other board members are Russ Nugent, PhD, Gene Noem, Jeremy Pittman, DVM, Mark Schwartz, and Matthew Turner, DVM. Paul Sundberg, DVM, PhD, DACVPM, is SHIC’s executive director. Megan Niederwerder, DVM, PhD, is associate director.
Bang retired from Compeer Financial in April 2022 after a distinguished career in banking with an emphasis on swine industry lending and soon established his consulting company to serve large clients in the United States.
While devoting his career to work in the swine industry, Bang gave of his time as a member of the National Pork Producers Council’s Pork Alliance, served two terms on the NPPC Board of Directors, and two terms on the US Meat Export Federation Board of Directors. In addition, he has been a long-time member of NPPC’s Pork PAC Board of Directors.
“I’ve long been involved in this industry and having been on the NPPC board when SHIC was put together, I’ve been very, very supportive of their efforts,” Bang stated. “I hope to contribute to SHIC’s mission. There are a lot of people with a lot of veterinary talent on the Board. I can offer strong contacts in the industry across the country and good working relationships with players in the business of pork production, along with an understanding the structure of this business.”
Dr. Ruen intentionally sought out work in a veterinary practice with a focus on swine involvement following graduation from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “Being in an industry that’s constantly evolving, with great people, has been a fun and rewarding career,” Dr. Ruen said. While his practice is focused on swine production, Dr. Ruen has also given his time to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians as a volunteer leader, serving on their Board for four years, one of those as president of the organization.
As the AASV appointed member of the SHIC Board of Directors, Dr. Ruen anticipates growing his service to the industry. “It’s interesting how that board is set up,” he observed. “It promotes good dialogue with representatives from across the industry. I’m excited to be part of that, have some part of the exchange, as SHIC continues to monitor what’s going on in the world, being prepared and forward-thinking for protecting the US swine herd.”
Dr. Anderson is also a past president of AASV and held that office when PEDV hit the US herd. This experience shaped his understanding of the gaps in what the US swine industry was able to do, how to prepare, and how to respond. “The work SHIC has done filling gaps that existed in preparing the US industry and helping us respond in real-time has been extremely important,” he explained.
As a director, Dr. Anderson participated in decisions regarding how money is allocated. “Our focus has been on filling an important need as economically efficiently as possible, as prudently as possible,” he said. “Most research is incentivized by potential return for someone selling a product and that left gaps in our ability to prepare for and respond to disease challenges. SHIC’s work to fill those gaps has been quintessentially important.”
Calling his time serving on the SHIC board rewarding and an honor, Dr. Anderson remarked, “Change is constant in the US swine industry. Vulnerability is constant as well. There’s always going to be the next challenge. My challenge to the future SHIC Board is to remain diligent and focused on what the next challenge will be to protect against it and respond to it.”
Like Dr. Anderson, Greenwood has served on the SHIC Board of Directors since it was formed. “When I look at SHIC, the mission is to be responsive for the US pork industry to any emerging animal disease issues,” he commented. The Board has been collaborative and nimble, in Greenwood’s view, working for the best interest of the swine industry addressing animal health concerns with economic consequences.
“I would always do my best as secretary/treasurer to make sure we were very prudent with dollars spent,” Greenwood stated. “We invest dollars wisely, recognizing these are pork producers’ dollars, cognizant of spending where we can get a good return on our investment.” He appreciated the debate between Board members to make sure money was spent wisely for the industry, being strategic in their decisions.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve on this board, helping serve the pork industry with a great group of people,” Greenwood said. He has been a long-time member of NPPC’s Pork Alliance and worked with the Strategic Investment Program for NPPC while a senior lender with Compeer FInancial.
SHIC, launched by the National Pork Board in 2015 solely with Pork Checkoff funding, continues to focus efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response to novel and emerging swine disease for the benefit of US swine health. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. SHIC is funded by America’s pork producers to fulfill its mission to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd. For more information, visit http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected].