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STUDENT

Spotlight

as told to Michelle Yeoman

In their own words: DVM Students

Alec Wynne

Alec Wynne ‘19 I’m a second-year veterinary student from Fort Pierce, a town in south Florida. My family grows citrus and raises cattle, so I grew up working summers with our full-time cattle crew. As a food animal practitioner, I hope to be able to work with producers to optimize the beef industry in our area. Since there are only a limited number of veterinarians who come from a strong beef cattle production background, I hope to be able to provide a very pragmatic and perhaps unique insight into food animal medicine. When most people think of Florida, they think of tourism, the state’s largest industry. However, the second largest industry is agriculture, with citrus and cattle being two of the largest contributors. Florida raises about one million head of beef cattle, concentrated in a geographically small area. Originally, this area was mostly swampland with standing water. In the first half of the 20th century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built drainage systems and ditches to drain the land and make it more productive for agriculture and livable for people. Now, if you go to the area of Florida where I’m from, you’ll see oak hammocks, a local term for groupings of oak and palm trees. You’ll see some open places, but you’ll also see cabbage palms, piney woods, scrubland, and remnants of swampland. It’s a challenging environment to raise cattle, but we also have several advantages. The nearly 365-day growing season and plentiful rainfall give us an advantage 36 •

• Winter 2017

in growing grass. As the old timers say, “we’re not cattle raisers—we’re grass farmers.” I’m particularly passionate about efficient, sustainable animal agriculture. Right now we have about seven billion people in the world. By 2050, we’ll have 9–10 billion people, which is a 30 percent increase. As more countries become increasingly affluent, they desire more animal protein in their diets, such as meat, milk, and eggs. We don’t have unused resources, like large tracts of land available, so we have to learn to use what we have more efficiently. That is the role I want to play within veterinary medicine: I want to make production systems more efficient. My goal after earning my DVM is to help manage our family ranch while also practicing veterinary medicine. As a single producer, you can only affect your own cattle; you don’t have much influence to go help the rancher down the road do things better. As a veterinarian, you have the opportunity to help producers in the area with herd health and management aspects, which are crucial to efficiency. But, I haven’t focused only on cattle while in veterinary school. The longer I’ve been in veterinary school, the more I’ve become open to the idea of mixed animal practice. The subject matter we are being taught is very broad, which has piqued my interest in various areas. I still want to focus on cattle and food animal medicine, but I think it’d be cool to be able to treat whatever animal comes to me. If someone brings a dog to the door, or a cat or a pig or a horse, I’d like to be able to say, “I can fix that. I’ll figure it out.”

“I hope to be able to provide a very pragmatic and perhaps unique insight to food animal medicine.” -Alec Wynne ’19

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...