UC Davis veterinary dean receives honor from cattlemen

Nov 30, 2009
by WLJ

The California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) named veterinarian and educator Bennie I. Osburn, DVM, the 2009 Gordon K. Van Vleck Memorial Award winner on Nov. 13 in Sparks, NV, at the conclusion of the 93rd Annual CCA Convention.

The award, named after past CCA president and livestock production advocate Gordon K. Van Vleck who passed away in 2005, is the highest honor awarded by CCA. It is given annually to an individual who is not engaged in beef cattle production as a primary occupation, but has made significant contributions to the California beef cattle industry.

Osburn serves as dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis (UC Davis), a position he has held since 1996. He oversees the school’s teaching, research and service programs, among them the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, Veterinary Medicine Extension, the Veterinary Medical Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, CA, and the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security.

CCA President Tom Talbot, DVM, a Bishop, CA, cow/calf producer, said he has been greatly influenced by Osburn and that his contributions to California producers are immeasurable.

“From the time he was a professor of mine in veterinary school, Bennie Osburn has been someone I admired. And while serving CCA, I have come to realize just how much he does for beef producers in this state,” Talbot said. “He has helped drive research toward creation of a foothill abortion vaccine and has led the charge in attracting more large animal veterinarians to our state. Simply put, California beef producers are better off because of his efforts, and we are proud to recognize him with this award.”

According to UC Davis, in Osburn’s scientific career, he has emphasized the health and welfare of food animals, particularly cattle and sheep. He has been involved in key discoveries about food animal viruses, including the bluetongue virus and border disease virus, developmental immunology, congenital infections and food safety. — WLJ