The veterinarian is responsible for antimicrobial use on dairy farms but the increasing size and complexity of US dairy farms make it more difficult for them to effectively communicate judicious use. To be effective at implementing health programs, the veterinarian must understand the structure of on-farm communication and how to work within it.

Assess current communication practices on large and small dairies. Describe communication among veterinarians, management and workers regarding calf programs. Create and evaluate a veterinary CE program using survey findings. Methods: Semi-structured Qualitative Research Interviews of at least four people on each farm regarding communication flow and calf practices were conducted. A 1-day CE program was developed, delivered and evaluated for dairy practitioners using survey findings and best medical communication practices.

Fifty-three farms from five states and 224 individuals were enrolled. Lines of communication when setting goals were perceived differently depending on job title. There was not uniform agreement on some farm practices. Of 37 CE participants, most recognized a need to improve communication with clients and farm employees. Most participants were confident in their new communication skills and highlighted specific concepts they could apply in practice, such as conducting a “communication audit.”

The study described the complexity of communication on dairies with layers of employees and different perspectives about communication flow. The workshop highlighted the need for communication training in dairy practice and practitioners’ desire to engage in this type of training, an important first step to implementing judicious antimicrobial use policies.  

Sischo, William1, Moore, Dale1, Davis, Margaret1, Heaton, Kathlyn1, Kurtz, Suzanne1*, Vanegas, Jorge2, Siler, Julie3, Pereira, Richard3, Warnick, Lorin3
1. Dept. Veterinary Clinical Sciences and Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA
2. Dept. Clinical Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
3. Dept. Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA