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President's Message

Have you ever had a hobby that everyday life and work always seem to be in the way of? I have several hobbies, like riding my bike and gardening, but I’ve developed a passion for one so intense that while I’m waiting to finish my last appointment, I’ve turned back into a school kid waiting for the bell to ring so I can go play. Beekeeping for me is that hobby. It’s the one I can’t get enough of and can’t wait to finish the work of the day so I can go enjoy. It calls to me like my four-year-old grandson when he says “C’mon Grandpa, let’s go play!” There’s always a rainy day to catch up on exam records, right?
I got into beekeeping several years ago and I partially credit Dr. Jodie Pettit for this. We often sat next to each other during our IVMA Executive Board meetings. I was always so fascinated listening to her discuss her yearly beekeeping activities. So, for several years, I just listened until the buzz in my ear was something I couldn’t ignore. When the USDA classified bees as livestock I was really inspired to go beyond just listening. I remember saying to myself, “Bees are livestock? We do livestock!” And when I say “we”, I mean us as veterinarians. Veterinarians do livestock! So as a veterinarian, I thought I should know something about bees and what better way to learn than to get some of my own. This was probably more a personal interest than a professional one. I really never thought that anyone would bring their bees to the clinic for me to examine. Well, not live ones anyway. Nor did I really think that I’d ever be called out for a herd health inspection to anyone’s apiary. After all, how do you take vitals on a bee anyway? It really wasn't the thought that I would provide these services for anyone. What really intrigued my mind was wanting to have a better understanding of what's happening in those little white boxes standing out there in the clover fields. I found out it's a whole new world inside those boxes. Well, enough about the bees for right now, more to come later. For those of you out there who want to learn more about the fascinating world of bees, hopefully we can schedule some virtual lectures about bees in the future. Stay tuned!
Speaking of lectures, our Winter Conference will be all virtual this year. This will be the first time in the IVMA’s history that a major meeting has been done entirely virtual. For many of us, it will be a new experience. Personally, I will miss the atmosphere and the camaraderie of catching up with old friends (because let’s face it, my generation only does FaceTime with our grandkids), what I won’t miss is the sting of 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a 30 mph northwest wind on my face as I walk out to my cold car after the meetings are over. But this is an exciting and safe way to deliver content for continuing education that may set a pattern for years to come.
November is the month we typically meet with the Budget Committee to hammer out the new budget for the next fiscal year. As we come into the last quarter of our current fiscal year, it is projected we will be running a deficit for November and December. This is due in large part to not having our Annual Meeting nor its traditionally generated revenue. If we continue to run a deficit for the rest of the year, we will need to withdraw funds from our investment accounts, thus compounding the problem of our deficit due to lost interest on those investments. One way that we can all help to offset this deficit would be to pay our dues early. Renewal notices have already been sent out, so if you can, please renew your membership as early possible.
As I begin my year as president, I want to work diligently to increase my scholarship funding goals through our IVMA Foundation. Time is money as they say, so the sooner I can begin working on these goals the better. This month will give me an opportunity to work on my "Stiff the President" campaign scholarship fund. I will be encouraging the current members of our Budget Committee to bring along a colleague or a CVM student to experience the inner workings of our association with the goal that someday they may become a more involved member of the IVMA. Remember, every guest increases this fund by $20. With more meetings in the months ahead, there will be more encouragement to other committee members to help increase this fund.

I also have begun scheduling monthly working meetings with the staff to work on my other scholarship fundraising goal.
Lastly, I want to leave you with a Thanksgiving quote from Daniell Duckery who said it best: “Thanksgiving is a time to give, a time to love, and a time to reflect on the things that matter most in life”. So please, have a healthy, wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.
Dr. Jim Berger