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K-State Today Student Edition

April 26, 2012

Ready for his close-up: Veterinary professor making house calls as host of national cable program

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A Kansas State University veterinarian is taking his expertise to a national television audience as host of his own weekly show.

Dan Thomson, the Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology and director of the Beef Cattle Institute in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine, will host "DocTalk with Dr. Dan Thomson" on cable television's RFD-TV beginning Monday, April 30. The weekly program will air Mondays at 3:30 p.m., with second airings of the show at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.

Each week Thomson and his guests will discuss important issues related to livestock welfare and management, including current animal agriculture research, ways to keep the food supply safe and companion animal health issues. Guests will include nationally and internationally known veterinarians and animal scientists -- including Kansas State University faculty members -- who conduct clinical research on ways to improve the health and well-being of all kinds of animals.

Topics for "DocTalk" programs include trichomoniasis in cattle, first aid for horses, choosing a companion animal, food safety issues like E. coli in beef cattle, carbon foot-printing misconceptions related to the beef industry, how dairy producers keep the nation's milk supply safe, equine dentistry and more.

"DocTalk" is a spinoff from the locally produced ag show, "Ag am in Kansas," which airs across the state. Thomson started doing the program a few years ago.

"Interest just grew. We first did five-minute segments that soon grew into 30-minute episodes," he said. "Expanding our reach with 'DocTalk' is such an honor. I give 50-60 invited talks a year, so to be able to amplify your message to the 40 million to 60 million homes RFD-TV reaches is a great opportunity."

Thomson said the show will reach two important audiences.

"The first audience, farmers and ranchers, watch to glean information on raising animals and improving their health and welfare and the product produced. We'll be bringing them the latest advancements in these areas," he said.

The other viewing audience is made up of people not involved directly in agriculture.

"These are consumers of ag products. I hope we can help them understand how their food is produced," Thomson said. Pet owners also will benefit, as the show will discuss dogs, cats and other companion animals.

"Doing this show is a great way to showcase Kansas State University faculty, whether they're from the College of Agriculture or the College of Veterinary Medicine," Thomson said. "It's also a way to highlight our Kansas farmers, ranchers and veterinarians. We want to make the state of Kansas and the university proud."

Thomson, a third-generation bovine veterinarian, is an internationally recognized expert and leader in beef cattle production and health management. He is the former chair of the OIE Beef Cattle Production and Animal Welfare Committee, an international animal health group that develops beef cattle production and welfare standards worldwide. A K-State faculty member since 2004, Thomson teaches courses in cow/calf, stocker and feed yard production medicine welfare and nutrition. He has published 50 peer-reviewed papers, four book chapters and 186 abstracts. He has given 458 invited talks around the world on his research and experience in beef cattle welfare.

Thomson's research program has received more than $33 million in extramural grants, including $13.7 million to him as the principal investigator. He has worked with major advisory boards and committees for such industry groups as the Food Marketing Institute, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Farm Bureau, American Association of Bovine Practitioners and more. His expertise has been reported in many major media outlets, including CBS News, USA Today, New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Prior to joining K-State, Thomson was director of animal health and well-being for Cactus Feeders in Amarillo, Texas, and was an associate veterinarian with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services in Greeley, Colo. He earned a bachelor's in animal science and his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State University, a master's in ruminant nutrition from South Dakota State University and a doctorate in ruminate nutrition from Texas Tech University.

RFD-TV is the nation's first 24-hour television network dedicated to the needs and interests of rural America. According to RFD-TV, its broadcasts reach 63 percent of all farmers and ranchers in the nation, making it the No. 1 cable network for farmer and rancher viewership.