Kansas names new livestock commissioner
The Kansas Animal Health Board has named accomplished veterinarian and retired U.S. Army Reserve Col. Bill Brown as the state’s new livestock commissioner. He will replace George Teagarden, who will retire in May after 16 years in the position. Brown will assume his new role March 8. He and Teagarden will work together during the transition.
Brown most recently served as health services veterinarian for Newsham Choice Genetics of West Des Moines, IA. In that capacity, he was responsible for maintaining the health and biosecurity of the company’s swine operations in the U.S. and Canada. He previously held similar positions with Monsanto and DeKalb. In addition to working for these leading companies in the swine industry, Brown owned and operated mixed practice veterinary hospitals in western Kansas from 1974 through 1992.
The Ford County native graduated from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1971. After graduation, he started a long career in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving several tours of active duty. Brown has provided veterinary expertise to the Army throughout his military career.
Brown is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Kansas Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA), American Association of Swine Practitioners, United States Animal Health Association, and American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
He was named “Kansas Veterinarian of the Year” by KVMA in 2004.
“The Kansas livestock industry is fortunate to have an individual with Dr. Brown’s credentials as the new livestock commissioner,” said Kansas Animal Health Board Chair Heather Donley, who serves as director of quality assurance for the Beef Marketing Group, headquartered in Great Bend.
As commissioner, Brown will lead the Kansas Animal Health Department (KAHD). The agency is assigned to protect the health, safety and welfare of Kansas citizens through the prevention, control and eradication of infectious and contagious diseases in livestock and domestic animals. Agency officials also regulate companion animal breeding facilities, investigate livestock thefts, and maintain the livestock brand registry.
KAHD has achieved numerous important milestones under Teagarden’s direction. His tenure includes attaining cattle tuberculosis-free status in 1995. USDA declared Kansas free of both cattle brucellosis and swine pseudorabies in 1999. Earning free status from USDA for these three infectious diseases was the culmination of years of work led by Teagarden, his predecessors in the position, the KAHD staff, and the livestock industry.
Another major accomplishment occurring under Teagarden’s leadership is planning for an emergency response to a potential foreign animal disease outbreak in Kansas. In addition to forming a statewide plan, KAHD has fostered the creation of many county-level animal disease emergency plans. According to Donley, Kansas serves as a model among states in terms of emergency animal disease response planning. — WLJ