Freese appointed to national animal health committee
WORTHINGTON -- Dr. Wayne Freese, CEO of Prairie Holdings Group, has been appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health (SACAH).
Freese, a local pork producer and veterinarian, will represent swine producers and swine producer groups on the committee. The group advises U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on matters of animal health and broader issues of public concern including public health, conservation of natural resources, stability of livestock economies, livestock disease management and traceability strategies.
While Freese has served in an advisory role before with the National Pork Producers Swine Advocacy Group, he admitted he never thought he would be serving on a committee like the SACAH.
"Because of National Pork Producers Swine Advocacy Group -- I've done that and I enjoy it, and I thought, I enjoyed it enough -- I'm going to apply for this position," Freese said.
Freese was first encouraged to apply by his co-workers. Though he said he didn't think he would receive the appointment, he eventually filled out the lengthy paperwork to be considered.
Unbeknownst to Freese, his co-workers -- including Brian Bosma -- also wrote letters of recommendation supporting his application for the appointment.
"We just felt, in reading what the prerequisites for the position are, that Dr. Freese is the perfect candidate," Bosma said. "He provides a wide array of experience through the entire industry. ... Why wouldn't he be a perfect fit?
"He is the type of individual that needs to be in that position because he sees it from everyone else's perspective first," Bosma added. "He's been involved in the veterinary side, the vaccine manufacturing side, the production side, and also he's from the Midwest. He's worked hand-in-hand in some of the largest customers' barns with them over the years, so he's a perfect fit."
Freese said he was surprised to learn he received the appointment and is looking forward to working with the 19 other members of the committee -- all leaders in a variety of animal health fields from around the nation. Together, the group will represent the greater agriculture community, and consider and make recommendations on issues within the animal, natural resource and public health arenas.
"It is vital that I obtain public and industry perspectives on USDA strategies, policies and programs to prevent, control and/or eradicate animal health diseases," Vilsack wrote in the letter informing Freese of his appointment. "The Committee will also lead broader dialogue on public health concerns and the stability of the livestock economies."
In addition to advising Vilsack, the committee also seeks to lead the dialogue on public health concerns and engage the public on livestock disease management, traceability strategies and animal health priorities.
Being on the SACAH will give Freese the opportunity to be a voice for Minnesota agriculture and animal production on a national level.
"If they are going down a pathway -- is it a pathway that makes sense? And I also think it's important because a lot of things can happen out there that you might not want to have happen in Minnesota agriculture or, for that matter, southwest Minnesota agriculture," Freese said.
The position will be a two-year commitment, and the committee is expected to meet before the end of the 2013 fiscal year and at least once during the 2014 fiscal year. Freese will also participate in several public teleconferences in addition to administrative conference calls to prepare for public meetings.