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Contact: Alicia Johnson, College of Veterinary Medicine, 612-624-2268 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gates Foundation expert Dr. Gregg BeVier to address role of agriculture and veterinarians in combating world hunger
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (August 23, 2010) – Over two billion people on the planet earn less than $2 a day, and 80 percent of the global population earns less than $10 a day. This type of abject poverty leads to a difficult cycle of under-nutrition, poor health care, and inadequate educational opportunities. Veterinarians who specialize in agriculture and food systems can play a key role in helping developing nations rise from poverty.
Dr. Gregg BeVier, senior program officer of agricultural development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will present the Distinguished Lecture, “Bringing Prosperity to the Smallholder African Farmer through Livestock,” during the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine’s 37th annual Allen D. Leman Swine Conference. The free lecture is open to the public and will be held Tuesday, September 21, at noon at Saint Paul RiverCentre. For more information and to register for the event, go to www.cvm.umn.edu/vetmedce/events/adl/bevier/.
Some of the issues surrounding world hunger, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, involve the development of capable and sustainable food systems within the context of animal welfare, ecosystem health, sustainability, cost, and One Health—an international effort to forge collaborations between physicians, veterinarians, and other health-related disciplines. “Food-animal veterinarians are well-trained and capable of helping to put in place food systems to feed hungry people,” BeVier says.
BeVier, an accomplished senior executive with more than 27 years experience in global agribusiness, will discuss world poverty and hunger, solutions to hunger, and world food systems in the context of business case studies. Agriculture accounts for about two-thirds of employment and one-third of gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Asia, the rural poverty rate is still about 40 percent. Almost no country has managed a rapid rise from poverty without increasing its agricultural productivity.
One of the international swine community’s premier events, the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference will be held September 18-21. The Distinguished Lecture is new to the conference. Each year, the Leman conference draws swine veterinarians, producers, research scientists, industry experts, government officials, and leading producers from around the world. In addition to two full days of presentations and seminars on topics ranging from swine diseases to production to consumer issues, the conference will include a two-day pre-conference program, trade show exhibits, and scientific poster presentations.
The College of Veterinary Medicine improves the health and well-being of animals and people by providing high-quality veterinary training, conducting leading-edge research, and delivering innovative veterinary services.
Background on Dr. Gregg BeVier
Prior to joining the Gates Foundation in 2009, BeVier had 27 years of experience as a business executive, managing an international genetics business (PIC), an integrated livestock operation (Premium Standard Farms), and a division of a global animal health business for Merial. He earned his D.V.M. and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and is a lifetime member of the American Veterinary Medicine Association and American Association of Swine Veterinarians. BeVier also presented the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in March of 2006. He has authored a number of articles in journals and proceedings and co-authored several book chapters, all related to the area of swine reproductive physiology.
Background on the Allen D. Leman Conference
Allen D. Leman, a University of Minnesota Extension veterinarian, and Jim Hanson, director of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s continuing education program, initiated the conference in 1974 to present new information and discuss issues important to the swine industry. In addition to sharing information and discussing issues, they hoped to influence practitioners and empower them to be leaders for the swine industry. The conference began in a small lecture hall on the St. Paul campus and evolved into the multi-session international meeting it is today.
Throughout his career, Leman worked to define the link between swine disease and swine production. His unwavering dedication to the education of practicing veterinarians was manifested through his leadership of this conference. Leman left the University of Minnesota in 1986. After his death in 1992, the conference was named in his honor.
This year’s sponsors of the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference include Pfizer Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, Alpharma Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, the National Pork Board, IDEXX, and Novus International. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.lemanswineconference.org.