The beef industry, if nothing else, is about the care and feeding of healthy animals that eventually become tasty protein. Health of those animals is critical and keeping up on key health issues for the beef industry will now be a role taken on by Kathy Simmons, DVM, who has taken the reins as chief veterinarian of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Simmons will focus on animal care and health regulatory issues both domestically and internationally. She studied biology and biochemistry at Virginia Tech University before earning her DVM from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in 1984. Simmons practiced veterinary medicine at the Herndon-Reston Animal Hospital in Herndon, Va., for 27 years and also has an active role managing her family's farm, S&S Farms, in West Virginia, where they raise registered black Angus cattle.
Most recently, Simmons spent one year as a policy fellow on Capitol Hill for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Veterinary Medical Association. She served in the office of U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, focusing on health policy issues. Simmons said her new role as NCBA chief veterinarian will allow her to bring together her practical veterinary and policy experiences with her vast knowledge of the U.S. beef cattle industry.
"As I learned many years ago working with my family on our farm, cattlemen and women must have the ability to work with their veterinarians to implement science-based, comprehensive herd health plans and provide the utmost care for their animals. Regulations and policies affecting animal health should not stifle their ability and must be science-based," Simmons said in a press statement. "Cattlemen and women work each day to raise healthy cattle and provide your families with the safest beef supply in the world. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity that will enable me to use my practical veterinary and policy experiences to ensure cattlemen and women have all the cattle health resources and tools they need while also maintaining an active role on my family's farm and working alongside America's cattle farmers and ranchers."