Vet’s Voice by Dr. Dave Barz: Some big companies are ok
Who would have believed that May would be one of the wettest months on record, after the dry winter and spring? The grass and crops are doing well, but we could still use some water in the stock dams and dugouts. Sadly, some of the rains brought some severe weather. Our clinic and others in the area have spent many hours working with our Delmont clients helping treat injured animals from the tornado.
As rural South Dakotans we have all been trained to distrust the “big guy.” Whether it is farm size, herd size, or business size, we are judgmental of the big guy as not having our best interests in their business plan. They are merely trying to generate as much income as possible at lower margins to make our lives difficult. This may be true in some circumstances, but in the last few years I have developed a greater appreciation for one of the big guys.
The animal health industry has been undergoing a great period of consolidation for the past few years. Companies are buying other companies to become larger and hopefully more efficient. All of the animal health companies were small subdivisions of human medical companies. The animal health groups had very little to do with the bottom line of the entire corporation.
Several years ago Zoetis Animal Health split away from the Pfizer Corporation. As an exclusive animal health company Zoetis set specific goals, one of which of course, was to make money. They also believed in the utilization of education for both veterinarians and producers. The workplace has become a place of greater personal interaction and understanding. They established programs and short courses allowing people to be more thoughtful of others and thereby better managers. They named this program the ‘People First” campaign.
Sounds strange that the largest animal health corporation, which is headquartered on the east coast, would impact us here in South Dakota. I know I don’t know everything they have done, but I will attempt to highlight some which directly affect our area.
Our clinic has utilized mentors and instructors provided by Zoetis to allow better understanding of staff and clients. They sponsored scholarships for our veterinarians allowing them to improve surgical and medical skills, while offering education and assistance to our clients and staff. This spring our cooler in an office malfunctioned and all of the vaccine was lost. Zoetis replaced all of their damaged product at no cost, the only company to do so.
I know Zoetis helped ranchers and veterinarians after Atlas. I am sure many of you benefited from their help whether clients or not. We mentioned Delmont earlier in the story. Zoetis offered antibiotics for the treatment of both large and small animals as well as reimbursement for treatment of injured animals. I was impressed with the offer and surprised to learn they are still helping in Wessington Springs a year after their tornado.
Anytime we need dollars for beef related projects, Zoetis has stepped up to the plate. The SDSU Cow Calf Unit has benefited greatly from their generosity.
It appears Zoetis cares about rural South Dakota and they have accomplished this feat with the staff it had before the split. Thanks to Zoetis for their help and I hope it allows you understand that big isn’t always bad. Their quality products and benevolent attitude will help increase the beef industry in South Dakota.