Presidents Message

Dr. Carie Telgen

Starting Fresh

This week eastern New York received three feet of snow within 12 hours. News stations report that the last time we had this much snow in one storm, Google, Amazon and eBay didn’t exist, Michael Jordan was still playing for the Chicago Bulls, “Friends” hadn’t yet premiered, “Cheers” was still on NBC, and the first iPhone was 14 years away. After cancelling herd checks for the first time in my career as a veterinarian, backing into my own garage doors while trying to plow, but not able to see in the blizzard conditions, and getting stuck with my plow truck in my own driveway, I was struggling this week with how to write something positive for a new year’s message.

But as the sun came up the next morning and started to glisten off the snow-covered and -frosted trees, I found that winter magic. There is just something beautiful, refreshing and clean about the first snowfall of the season. The snow isn’t brown yet from the sand being spread on the roads, or the freeze/thaw cycle including mud. Everything is white and clean. The year 2020 was certainly a doozy. But here we are, starting a new year, with new possibilities, new adventures and new hope.


The phrase “Hindsight is 20/20” certainly takes on a new meaning this year. As we reflect on the past year, the challenges within the beef and dairy industries, and the challenges in our own personal lives, how do we start fresh in 2021? Where is there opportunity within our veterinary profession to look toward the future? Is there a project or new service you have been talking about for years with which you haven’t followed through? Is there a new way to look at an old problem? Is there a new way to teach the same “old” material? Is there a new challenge or responsibility you want to take on within this organization?


Although 2020 had plenty of challenges, there were highlights that we can reflect on to remind ourselves of the positives:

As we begin this year, let us capture and hang on to the positives we had from 2020. This past year put things in a whole new perspective for many of us. Although our day to day lives may not have changed much, nor did that of our producers, the world around us did. We have an open window to influence the conversation.


Maybe that starts with a gallon of milk and a couple pounds of beef dropped off to the neighbor who was laid off. Maybe it’s helping a producer better understand the purpose of a vaccine and immune status. Maybe it’s saying “no” to the 7th meeting of the week to have dinner with the family. How can you, in your world, change the attitude and conversation going into 2021? I don’t know if we will ever “get back to normal.” But maybe that’s not a bad thing.


I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, and prosperous 2021!

Dr. Carie Telgen