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A Word from the President

Steve Rommereim

USAHA President


The year is quickly coming to an end which usually brings a time of reflection for me of thinking back to what brought value to my life and what I may have brought to others. This value changes from year to year depending on my associations and the different situations I find myself in. I am first a husband, father and now a grandfather, then a farmer and an ag industry representative having had a life of valuable opportunities. As the newly elected President of USAHA’s Executive Committee, I find myself in yet another inspiring situation for a small farmer from rural South Dakota.


I certainly have learned the value of USAHA’s mission and the great work this organization has done. I believe we can never stop working for better animal health and its great value to our livestock industries. Quantifying this value and informing our stakeholders becomes part of determining the relevance and importance of the work. The strategic plan that was adopted in 2021 instructs the EC to determine USAHA’s value so we are supporting a taskforce to do just that. More to come…


Covid-19 certainly challenged each of us in many ways. Daily life was disrupted and the way we do business changed dramatically. The term ”hybrid” was used beyond the seed, livestock and automobile business and a new way to meet was widely adopted. USAHA was able to continue on at great cost and wear on our staff. 2020 and 2021 are behind us. 2022 was great with many coming to Minneapolis for the annual meeting with a virtual option available. Not having the staff or resources to provide a good product, it has been decided to not have a virtual component for the 2023 meeting and encourage all to meet with us in person in National Harbor, Maryland next October.


The EC is working to produce some videos regarding our mission and vision, new member orientation and some tips for good resolution development as resources available to the membership.


Thank you to the committee members and committee leaders as the value to our industries start here. We will continue to encourage committee chairs to meet early and get as much work done on resolutions as possible before October as this makes the process of ratifying much smoother.


Take good care and enjoy this season with family and friends!


Shift and Adjust

Dusty Oedekoven, DVM, DACVPM

USAHA Immediate Past President

National Pork Board

Service on the USAHA Executive Committee (EC) is traditionally a 6-year commitment starting at 3rd Vice President (VP) and advancing through 2nd and 1st VP, President Elect, President and finally Past President. 

EC members are elected to the 3rd VP from the 4 regional districts and the district at large (DAL), rotating through the offices at the annual meeting. If carried out as designed, the 3rd VP and Past President represent the same district, and there is continuity in the institutional knowledge of our organization. Additionally, the treasurer is elected and traditionally serves 6 years.


The EC has been dynamic in my tenure, in more ways than one. First, there have been multiple career transitions along the way, moving some good people to exit too early. During my tenure, Paul McGraw, Charles Hatcher, Peter Mundschenk, Manoel Tamassia, and I have all changed employment. Dr. Paul McGraw, former state veterinarian from Wisconsin, had served a year as 3rd VP prior to making a career transition that created an opportunity for me to be elected as the North Central District (NCUSAHA) representative on the EC. I stepped directly into the 2nd VP position at the 2018 annual meeting in Kansas City, while fellow South Dakotan Steve Rommereim started as 3rd VP, elected by the District at Large (DAL). Dr. Charles Hatcher, long time state veterinarian of TN, served in the position ahead of mine. Just prior to his presidential year, Charlie was asked by his Governor to serve as the Commissioner of Agriculture, a busy job that could have reasonably caused his exit from the EC, yet he dutifully continued his service and provided excellent leadership. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Annette Jones (CA) finished well her term as treasurer, and Dr. Beth Thompson (SD) picked up the ledger in smooth transition. And just this past year, I switched careers from state government to industry association. The EC and NCUSAHA were kind to leave me in place as I finished my presidential year and remaining term. Dr. Manoel Tamassia, former state veterinarian from NJ and serving behind Steve Rommereim, would have been President Elect this year, but resigned that position last summer as he moved to Paris to take a job with the WOAH. The NEUSAHA district then pulled fellow past-president Steve Crawford, state veterinarian of NH, off the bench to finish the remainder of Manoel’s term. In addition to his prior service on the EC, Dr. Crawford has chaired several USAHA committees and brings great perspective to the team. This is the first time I can recall a cameo of a previously serving member on the EC.


Secondly, much of the discussion of the EC over the past three years has been reactive to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on our organization. The 2020 annual meeting was to be held in Nashville, TN, but was of course cancelled. Contract negotiations caused the EC to swap our planned meeting venue at the Gaylord Opryland in TN for a commitment to meet at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in 2023.  Today we’ve all become accustomed to regular virtual meetings, but in 2020 it took some effort to coordinate committee meetings via Zoom ahead of our virtual annual meeting platform. Dr. Marty Zaluski presided over the business that year and we moved into 2021, thinking perhaps we could move “back to normal.”


Dr. Hatcher presided in 2021 and experienced the lingering effects of the pandemic on attendance at what became a hybrid annual meeting in Denver. Notably absent were our federal employees, who remained under travel restrictions. I’m very grateful that we had the opportunity to meet in person and in full force for our recent annual meeting in Minneapolis. After shaking hands and visiting with colleagues in the hallways, I’m content we will chop the tail off the dragon and dispense with the virtual meeting component next year. 


Through all the turnover and tumult, Ben and Kelly have provided stability and tangible outcomes. I’m appreciative of their dedication to our organization and the work that we do. Service on the Executive Committee is rewarding in many ways, but our great staff also make it enjoyable. 


Steve Rommereim has plans to advance our work through implementation of our strategic plan. Membership engagement through committee action, leadership development, and improving effectiveness of our resolution processes are a few of the important priorities of the EC in the coming years. Past presidents have played a critical role in the direction of our work. I’m pleased to join the ranks of the USAHA Past Presidents and I look forward to continued service to the organization.

So You’re the Treasurer

Beth Thompson, JD, DVM

USAHA Treasurer

South Dakota State Veterinarian & Executive Secretary


The USAHA Treasurer is the “chief financial officer” of the organization and also has an ongoing (6 year term) role in the executive committee. This officer position is also the chairperson of the Audit Committee, which allows the Treasurer to tap into those USAHA members who have history and knowledge of the organization and use that wisdom as recommendations for planning.


All members of the executive committee strive for transparency, this is especially important for this organization’s finances. There are individual members and organizations whose membership is a significant part of their budget. Additionally, there are members who pay for their own registration. Discussion and decisions by the executive committee must balance the financial needs of the organization with the understanding of its membership.

A huge benefit of the position is the ability to work with the Executive Director, who is responsible for the day-to-day financial transactions. USAHA’s executive director, Ben Richey, has been an excellent leader and is a good shepherd of the organization’s finances. 

Meanwhile, Back at the Office

Ben Richey

Executive Director

As 2022 comes to a close, we can look back on another successful year, and forward to continuing upward with the work of USAHA!


2022 Hybrid Annual Meeting included more than 1300 participants, both in-person and virtually. We had about 80% participation in person, and 20% virtually, including USAHA and AAVLD participants.


USAHA offered a new approach on the meeting schedule, which generally was well received. Highlights included a Sunday night Keynote with the President’s Dinner, an Awards Luncheon on Sunday, and a slightly condensed committee schedule to lessen some of the overlap that has historically occurred. Also committees increased their virtual sessions prior to the meeting, providing more opportunity for presentations and discussion. A big thanks to all our committee chairs for their time and work making it happen this year.


We're pleased to welcome Dr. Justin Smith, Kansas State Veterinarian to the Executive Committee as third vice-president. The EC is a great way to connect with USAHA and things going on throughout the year, so don't be afraid to reach out!

  • President: Steve Rommereim, South Dakota/Pork Checkoff
  • President Elect: Steve Crawford, New Hampshire
  • First Vice President: Peter Mundschenk, Arizona
  • Second Vice President: Charles Broaddus, Virgina
  • Third Vice President: Justin Smith, Kansas
  • Treasurer: Beth Thompson, South Dakota
  • Immediate Past President: Dustin Oedekoven, National Pork Board

The Board approved a dues increase, to keep up with inflation and ensure that reserves are maintained at a two-year operations minimum. 

2023 Dues are as follows:

Individual - $210

Official and Allied Members: $832

Students – still free!

Look for dues renewal information in your Inbox! Or go online at:


Looking forward, the Executive Committee is assessing plans for the 2023 Annual Meeting, to be held in National Harbor, MD, October 12-18. The EC is also digging in on the Strategic Plan and making a focused effort to accomplish goals as set back in 2021. 

Welcome New Members!

September – December 2022

Congratulations to our newest Organizational Members:

Official Agency:

  • USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service - Jaqueline Mason, DVM


Allied Organizations:

  • National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) – Rebecca Barnett
  • U.S. Cattle Trace – Callahan Grund


  • Kelli Almes - USDA-APHIS-VS-NAHLN
  • Marline Azevedo – USDA-NIFA
  • Veronica Bartsch - Minnesota Board of Animal Health
  • Karen Becker – USDA-VS
  • Deanna Brown - USDA-FSIS
  • Michelle Colby - USDA-NIFA
  • Kim Conway - California Department of Public Health
  • Cara Costanzo – ORISE
  • Amanda Chipman – Iowa Dept of Agric
  • Phillip Eidson - Aviagen, Inc
  • Matt Erdman – USDA-VS
  • Jane Galyon - Iowa State University
  • Joseph Gendreau - University of California, Davis
  • Sydney Hart – USDA-VS
  • Lindsey Hornickel - Am Veterinary Medical Assn
  • Melanie Huhta - Genova Labs
  • Ashley Johnson - Nat'l Pork Producers Council
  • Martha Keller – USDA-VS
  • Laura Kleinschmidt - Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
  • Karen LeCount – USDA-VS
  • Aaron Loucks - North Carolina Dept of Agric
  • Rodger Main - Iowa State University
  • Muzafar Makhdoomi - USDA-VS
  • Rebecca Mansell - North Carolina Dept of Agric
  • Dallas Meek – USDA-VS
  • Merry Michalski - Montana Dept of Livestock
  • Shawna Middleton – USDA-VS
  • Levi Muhl - Minnesota Dept of Agric
  • Megan Niederwerder - Swine Health Information Center
  • John O'Keefe - Illinois Dept of Agric
  • Geary Olsen – 3M
  • Maurice Pitesky - University of California, Davis
  • Rebecca Rink - Dakota Provisions
  • Heather Roney - Wisconsin Dept of Agric
  • Katie Rumsey – Iowa Dept of Agric
  • Renee Schnurr – USDA-VS
  • Janine Seetahal - Kansas State University
  • Whitnie Smartt - Tennessee Dept of Agric
  • David Smith - Mississippi State University
  • Fernando Umayam - California Dept of Food & Agric
  • Clint Waddell - Louisiana Dept of Agric/Forestry
  • Myah Walker - Minnesota Board of Animal Health
  • Marcus Webster – Georgia Dept of Agric
  • Todd Wilkinson - Nat'l Cattlemen's Beef Assn
  • Amber Wilson - SES, Inc. / VS NTEP
  • Kimberly Woodruff - Mississippi State University


  • Akhil Anilkumar Vinithakumari - Iowa State University
  • Samantha Clark - Louisiana State University
  • Everett Dalesio - The Ohio State University
  • Moumita Das - University of Minnesota
  • Marquis Harper - VA-MD College of Vet Med
  • Malena Heck - Mississippi State University
  • Jesper Chia-Hui Hsu - University of Minnesota
  • Samantha Jordan - VA-MD College of Vet Med
  • Christy King - The Oho State University
  • Katherine Kirkendall - Lincoln Memorial University
  • Amanda Kravitz - VA-MD College of Vet Med
  • Megan Lacy - VA-MD College of Vet Med
  • Ashley Lockhart - The Ohio State University
  • Melissa McCaw - Univ of Tennessee
  • Anthony Ogunbadewa - Univ of Missouri-Columbia
  • Alexandra Reddy - VA-MD College of Vet Med
  • Julianna Scardina - VA-MD College of Vet Med
  • Aarathi Sureshkumar - Iowa State University
  • Regina Turning - St Ambrose University
  • Falynn Weems - Colorado State University

Thanks to everyone for your support of USAHA!

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