Guest Blogger: Tera Rooney Barnhardt

Please join us in welcoming Tera Rooney Barnhardt to the Focus guest blogger team.

Tera grew up showing cattle across the country. While she is modest, she and her family did very well in the show ring; she won the 2006 NAILE Steer Show. Currently a K-State vet student, Tera has quite the list of accomplishments in and out of the classroom.

Tera posing for a picture for a fundraising campaign within the vet school in 2011.

In May 2014, she will graduate with her DVM and a Master’s degree. Also, she will start blogging for FMG — with animal health tips and more for you to use on your farm or ranch. It’s an exciting/busy/stressful time in Tera’s life and we are thankful for her generosity with her time.

Cheers to the soon-to-be Dr. Tera, and welcome to the FMG blog!

1.     Please share a little bit of your background in the livestock industry.
a.    I grew up in a small town, Satanta, which is in Southwest Kansas and the heart of feedlot country. My family farms wheat, corn and cotton, but when I was young my grandfather owned a feedlot and commercial cow-calf herd. When I was 15, my family got involved in the purebred cattle business and that is when I first got involved in the American Maine-Anjou Association. I served on the Junior Board and showed both steers and heifers across the country. I currently live in Manhattan, KS, with my husband, Sheldon Barnhardt and my Vizsla, Remmi. I received my bachelor?s degree in Animal Sciences and Industry from Kansas State University and will graduate in May with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and a Masters of Biomedical Sciences.
2.     When did you first know you wanted to become a veterinarian?
a.     When we first started our purebred herd we had a lot of feeder calves on feed at the farm. Our herd had nose-to-nose contact with the feeder calves and we subsequently lost a lot of calves. When our vet came out to post calves, I knew I wanted to be just like him when I grew up!
Tera with a calf delivered during her lab group’s
cesarean section in Junior Surgery class.
3.     Do you have a focus or specialty in your field?
a.     When I started veterinary school I also began a concurrent Master?s degree. My Masters research involved working with feedlots in Kansas on BQA and animal welfare programs. I?ve focused my training so that I can serve the feedlot industry as a consulting veterinarian. Cattle are worth a lot of money, so it?s worth the investment to have an animal health expert on the management team for any cattle business.

4.     What is your favorite part of being an ?animal doctor?? The least?
a.     I got into this profession because I love working with people. I?m passionate about agriculture and how animals contribute to that industry as a whole. The best people I know work in the agriculture industry and combining the two sounds like my dream job!

b.     My least favorite thing about veterinary medicine is talking about money. I didn?t get into this profession to be a salesman or a businessman. Unfortunately, veterinary medicine isn?t just about the medicine. I?ve come to realize that I have to work outside that comfort zone in order to have conversations with clients about how animal health fits into their business.

5.     After graduation in May, what?s your next step?
a.     My goal is to have that figured out by May! I am looking into a mixed animal practice in rural Kansas. I want to work in the trenches, gain a lot of experience and then be able to specialize in feedlot consulting down the road.

6.     Why do you want to write an animal health blog specific to the livestock show industry?
a.     I got a lot out of the work I did with Junior Breed Associations growing up. When I think of my public speaking, salesmanship and general people skills, I grew a tremendous amount in these areas while I served on the Junior Board. I want to stay connected, give back and offer the industry timely information pertaining to animal health. I also think it?s important to promote the relationship between producers and their veterinarians, I see this as another way to enhance those relationships.

7.     You?ve been a supporter of Focus Marketing since the beginning, what makes us different than other livestock marketing agencies?
a.     From my standpoint, FMG puts a lot of emphasis on customer relations and you can really see that through the people they hire. You can teach someone a lot of different skills, but customer relation skills are not easily taught. FMG has put the customer first because they have talented staff members who are also excellent with people. Hats off to all of you at FMG!

8.     What is the most rewarding part of your job?
a.     The most rewarding part of being a member of this profession is the mentorship. I?ve met a lot of very neat people who have had an immeasurable impact on my professional development. If you don?t have a close relationship with a mentor in your profession, you?re behind the eight ball.

9.     Who has been your biggest supporter?
a.     My family has always told me that I can be anything I wanted to be, and they meant it. What better gift can a person be afforded? This May I will finally be finished with school, but the good stuff is just getting started. I am so very fortunate for the things my family allowed and encouraged me to do in life. 

10.  Any other “big? plans in the near future?
a.     My husband and I started a residential construction company shortly after getting married. If you?ve ever thought about the logistics of starting a business, finishing veterinary school and doing it all during the first year of marriage ? holy baptism by fire!  We?re young, motivated and some days I think we?re just plain crazy, but it?s exactly what we want to be doing. It will undoubtedly be a challenge in the coming years as we adjust the construction business to succeed in the community I plan on practicing veterinary medicine in.

11.     When can we expect your first Dr. Barnhardt blog?
a.     I?m excited to start bringing timely and relevant animal health information to the FMG blog. Look for the posts to start sometime this summer after graduation! 
Tera with her Major Professor, Dr. Dan Thomson at the Capital Graduate Research Summit in 2013.