January 15, 2010

Kentucky native Michelle Bilderback was born and raised in Louisville but admits to having always “bled blue,” so bringing her expert veterinary skills to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture was a natural fit.

Bilderback will join the college staff as the extension ruminant veterinarian. Backed by nearly two decades of practical and professional experience, she is looking forward to getting started.

“I am looking forward to learning the needs of producers and food animal veterinarians across Kentucky and finding ways to meet those specific health issues,” Bilderback said. “One of my most important goals is to establish communication with as many veterinarians as possible then provide current information to them on relevant ruminant health topics as well as what we are seeing at the LDDC (UK Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center). The major challenge is the difficult economic situation for agricultural producers in the state. It is imperative to get the message out of the importance of fundamental herd health and its economic benefit to the producer.”

Bilderback earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and then went on to earn a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Tennessee before delving into private veterinary practice where she primarily worked with cattle.

“I fully understand the challenges they (large and small-ruminant producers) face daily,” she said. “When it comes to educating producers, they do not just need to know ‘how to’ prevent and control disease but also the ‘why,’ including an economic justification for health practices. The sheer number of existing vaccines and health protocols can overwhelm even a seasoned producer. I believe the ruminant extension veterinarian must be able to convey information from the research level to the local veterinarian in concise practices they can put into their operation immediately.”

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