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Earn educational credits while attending World Dairy Expo

Stephanie Kasper Published on 30 August 2013

World Dairy Expo (WDE) is known for its tremendous quality of cattle, extensive trade show and worthwhile educational opportunities.

It offers eight free educational seminars that highlight the latest research in dairy business.

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These presentations are open to anyone attending WDE – from dairy producers and students to allied industry and dairy professionals.

While everyone can gain something from attending a seminar, professionals in the animal sciences have an added bonus of obtaining continuing education credits.

Both the American Registry of Professional Animal Sciences (ARPAS) and the Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE), a key program of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, once again approve the seminars presented at World Dairy Expo as qualifying for continuing education units.

The presentations available at WDE this year showcase an array of management topics including efficiency, feed and milk prices, activity monitors, automated calf feeders, robots, social media, finances and transition cows.

These seminars are evaluated by the RACE and ARPAS organizations for their eligibility to offer continuing education units. Each organization evaluates the program in a different way.

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Kenneth Cummings, executive vice president of ARPAS, explains, “We encourage seminar hosts to submit their information presented ahead of the seminar; then it is reviewed. Sometimes members are already going to WDE, and then they can attend this seminar as an added bonus.”

The ARPAS program was founded for nutritionists, animal scientists and veterinarians to continue in education as they progress through their careers.

“We try to make it as simple as possible. Programs offered are listed on the site, and members check the box of the seminar they attended, and then credit is attributed to their files. Sixteen continuing education credits are required per year (one CEU equals one hour, typically),” Cummings says.

Currently, the ARPAS program has about 1,400 members. Professionals are members of the organization to validate their professionalism in the industry to customers and peers.

The RACE program’s purpose is to develop and apply uniform standards related to providers of programs in veterinary medicine. The process to receive continuing education units involves a paid application that leads to the review of the program by a board of veterinarians.

Jessica Klein, RACE specialist says, “Upon review, the veterinarian reviewing board will evaluate how many hours the program is worth. A five-hour presentation doesn’t necessarily mean they will receive five credit hours. It depends on the quality and curriculum in the presentation.”

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Once the program credits have been approved, the seminar attendee is able to submit an application to their state board to obtain the credits.

“Each state is different and has different credit requirements,” Klein said.

You can check the hours needed for each state on the RACE website, frequently asked questions page. “The RACE program isn’t as hands-on, as we approve the seminars that will be presented, and we don’t approve the credits given to each board member.

Our role is important; we want to make sure veterinarians have a high-quality selection of seminars to attend to continue their education,” Klein states.

Each of these programs has a strong membership and is crucial in continuing education for professionals in the animal-science field. The ARPAS program is unique in structure, as they offer three different levels of membership.

The ARPAS program is unique in structure as they offer three different levels of membership – registered animal sciences, professional animal scientists and board certification.

“Most programs that we approve would have to appeal to any of the members in these categories; those with advanced degrees may even be facilitating the presentation. There is a time and experience factor associated with each level of membership,” Cummings states.

One of the mission goals of the ARPAS program is to abide by a code of ethics, Cummings explains. “We are trying to raise the level of certification of the individuals as professionals in the field.

It has been in existence for 25 years and was started by animal-science societies. Abiding by a code of ethics shows the world they are professionals interested in continuing education.”

Both RACE and ARPAS programs play a significant role in the seminar approval process, which is a key ingredient in the memberships of each of their organizations.

WDE is home to seminars that have been approved by both programs and are featured as an added bonus to the professionals in animal sciences that attend the event.

These free seminars focusing on business management are a unique way to provide continuing education units to members of these organizations. PD

Stephanie Kasper is a senior majoring in agricultural education at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

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