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Texas A&M CVM Alumni Recognized for Contributions to Beef Industry

Posted November 24, 2014

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – It has been noted that Texas ranks first in the number of cattle raised in the state, and second in people. Nearly one-third of the nation’s beef supply makes its way through the feedlots in the Panhandle region of the state. The beef industry represents a significant portion of the state’s economy, and the need for veterinary support of the industry to ensure a safe and secure food supply for the nation has never been greater.

Recently, two alumni from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences earned recognition for their leadership in support of the beef industry by the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame (CPV-HOF).

Dr. Don Williams ’51 was inducted into CPV-HOF in 2013. He received his DVM from Texas A&M and a masters degree from Oklahoma State University. After 18 years in private practice in both Texas and Oklahoma, Williams became the first company veterinarian for Hitch Enterprises in Guymon, Oklahoma. He later moved into feed yard management for Henry C. Hitch Feedlot. Williams developed the first national preconditioning program for cattle in feedlots and was an early researcher into the cause of sudden death syndrome in feedlot cattle. He was the 45th member to join the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), served on the organizing board of directors, and was elected the organization’s first president in 1969. Williams was also the recipient of two AABP awards: the Award for Excellence in Beef Preventive Medicine and the Amstutz-Williams Award.

The 2014 inductee to the CPV-HOF is fellow CVM alumnus Dr. David Bechtol ’65. Bechtol attended Texas A&M after serving in the United States Marine Corps, receiving a bachelor’s in 1964 followed by his DVM in 1965. In addition to founding Palo Duro Consulting Research and Feedlot and Agri-Research Center, Inc. in Canyon, TX, Bechtol was also a charter member of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC), serving as the academy’s first president in 1972 and 1973. The academy also recognized his leadership, awarding him the AVC Consultant of the Year in 1986. Bechtol has been extensively involved in research efforts aimed at problem solving between its research facility and the pharmaceutical, biological, feed additive, and food animal industries in an effort to promote proper use of livestock products and to provide the consuming public with a wholesome and economical food supply. Bechtol was also the first veterinarian to receive the Certified Angus Beef Industry Achievement Award at the Feeding Quality Forum in 2013, and he has also served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the CVM.

“Our college has a long-standing tradition for graduating not only highly-skilled veterinarians, but also leaders of character who have made significant contributions to veterinary medicine and industry,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine. “As the only veterinary medical school in Texas, a strong relationship with the animal agriculture industry is important for maintaining a safe and secure food supply for our nation and our world. The recognition of the valuable contributions that Dr. Bechtol and Dr. Williams have made to the beef industry is a wonderful example of veterinary medicine and industry working together to serve the nation. We extend our sincere congratulations to our fellow Aggies for this well deserved honor.”

The CPV-HOF was established in 2011 to recognize the rich traditions of production veterinary medicine and to honor the distinguished individuals who have made lasting contributions to the profession. Inductees are true pioneers whose achievements span their entire careers. Program sponsors include the AABP, the AVC, Bovine Veterinarian magazine, Merck Animal Health, and Osborn Barr.

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