Developing Leadership Capacity Amongst Georgia’s Food Animal Veterinarians


There were 85 participants in the Issue Leadership program presented in conjunction with the Georgia Food Animal Conference. Among program participants there was a 1.05 point increase in knowledge with over 84% of participants indicating their intent to change their behavior and use the program information. Additionally, participants reported a cumulative value of $454,000 associated with the program. Georgia food animal veterinarians play a critical role in the agriculture value chain, providing the leadership capacity development tools for this group should help to support the broader food animal industry.


According to the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, “Georgia cattlemen own approximately 1.3 million head of cattle worth more than $676 million. Annual cash receipts total more than $262 million, making cattle the state's sixth largest cash crop.” In a state where agriculture is the number one economic driver the importance of thriving food animal industry is paramount. One of the key antecedents of herd productivity is health and welfare of livestock. Therefore, the large animal veterinarians which serve the food animal industry serve a vital link in the value chain. The annual Georgia Food Animal Conference (GFAC) hosted by the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) is a platform to provide continuing education and insights for this important group.


In addition to providing technical continuing education GFAC also provides an opportunity for attendees to focus on personal development and insights. During the April 2019 conference a program was presented to attendees on ‘Issue Leadership: A New Model for a New World’. The Issue Leadership model provides learners an opportunity to conceptualize leadership across multiple domains: Interpersonal, Organizational, Community, and Policy, and to provide learners a framework within which to identify how their specific knowledge, skills, and expertise can contribute to solving large, complex issues.


A total of 85 individuals participated in the Issue Leadership program. A total of 46 evaluations provided feedback on knowledge gain, intent to change behavior, and self-reported economic value. Regarding knowledge gain, at the conclusion of the program, individuals were asked to provide a numerical score of their knowledge of the topic prior to the program on a scale from 1 = No knowledge, 2 - Some knowledge, 3 - Fairly knowledgeable, 4 = Very knowledgeable, 5 = Extremely knowledgeable; individuals were also asked to provide a numerical score for the knowledge after the program on the same scale. In aggregate, individuals indicated they had some knowledge prior to the program (M = 2.30 SD = .84) and were fairly to very knowledgeable following the program (M = 3.35 SD = .67). The 1.05 point increase in knowledge was found to be statistically significant (p <.001). Next, individuals were asked to indicate whether they intended to change their behavior based on the program and 84.4% of participants said they would probably or definitely use the program information. Lastly, individuals were asked to assign a monetary value to the financial benefit they, or the organization they represented, would derive based on program participation. An aggregate value of $454,000 or an average of $9,869 per evaluation was reported. Participants were also able to provide program summary statements, example statements included: “I think this type of information is so important in our industry especially regarding global issues” and “The session helped me focus on a way forward to identify my legacy, my primary purpose, and next steps.”

State Issue

Animal Production


  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: State
  • County: Harris
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources


    Lamm, Kevan
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