Years of hard work by one of the state’s most prominent university-based extension agents were recently recognized when the Virginia Agribusiness Council awarded Virginia Tech’s Production Management Medicine/Bovine Specialist – Veterinary Extension Dr. W. D. Whittier their annual “Extension Service Award.”

Whittier, a professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences who works with the Production Management Medicine operation, was honored during the 2006 Virginia Beef Expo in Harrisonburg. The Virginia Beef Expo is the state’s premiere beef cattle event.

During the award presentation, Virginia Agribusiness Council president Donna Pugh Johnson described Whittier as the “go-to” man for solutions to diseases and health concerns related to cattle.

“One of the main reasons our college was founded in the 1970’s was to provide service to Virginia’s agricultural industries,” said the dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Gerhardt Schurig. “This award from the Virginia Agri-Business Council recognizes the hard work and dedication of Dr. Whittier and we are proud of him, but it is also reminds us that our college is making a difference in Virginia agriculture.”

In information shared with the Virginia Agribusiness Council former Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences head, Dr. Craig Thatcher said “Dr. Whittier has done more for the mission of university public service than any faculty member in the college of veterinary medicine.”

During his 25-year career with the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Whittier has made significant contributions to the advancement of Virginia’s beef cattle industry. When he joined the faculty in 1980, he initiated a clinical outreach program and was instrumental in building the program to its current level of caring for over 35,000 animals every year.

Whittier was a pioneer in the college’s Production Management Medicine program, a disease prevention oriented approach to clinical care that emphases herd and flock productivity by carefully developing and monitoring precise immunology, parasitology, nutrition, and reproduction programs.

Veterinarians, extension agents, and producers around the state consider Whittier an excellent clinician and frequently consult with him concerning food animal medical problems, according to Virginia Agribusiness Council leaders. Whittier spends considerable time providing telephone and on-farm consultation and service to practitioners and producers in the Commonwealth.

Whittier has earned national distinction and is regularly sought after to make presentations to veterinarians and producers. He is active on the boards and committees of many producer organizations. He is a respected teacher and has made contributions toward the development of the college’s “food animal” curriculum.

The Virginia Agribusiness Council represents agricultural producers, suppliers, marketers, processors, and commodity associations throughout the Commonwealth. As “the unified voice of Virginia agriculture and forestry,” the Council has a combined membership of over 40,000 people.