Submitted by dasko2 on Thu, 03/05/2020 - 08:57

The Round Barn: Another Podcast?


released February 27, 2020

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Dr. Brian Aldridge: With over 700,000 podcasts worldwide, do we really need another one? Well, that's debatable, but we're going to do it anyway. I'm Dr. Brian Aldridge from the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, and this is The Round Barn.


To help me introduce this new podcast, I'm joined by Dr. Jim Lowe, also on the faculty at the College of Vet Medicine at Illinois. So, Jim, why are we doing this?

Dr. Jim Lowe: I think, as we've sat around and talked, right, we've had these just interesting conversations over the years. We'll try to address current topics and things that are relevant to livestock production, really everything from veterinary things to production things. That probably fits me -- I should have introduced myself.

I'm on faculty here at the U of I, with you. My background is really in pig production and livestock production in general. I tell everyone I'm probably not a very good veterinarian; I've spent most of my career really working on operations and production, and really have grown with the swine industry in the United States. I try to see, probably, both sides of the question. There are probably a lot of veterinarians that think I'm a quack, and that's probably true sometimes. But I've also tried to take what I would call a ... cynical view, you might call it, of some things that happened, and really question, is that really true? And that's hopefully the approach we're going to bring to this podcast. Is what's going on really true, and how do we sort that out, and how do we move forward? Hopefully it's a little bit of a counter view to some of the other things you read, or at least make you think about some of the things that you read and see and think about those things differently.

Aldridge: And you're an odd bird in a lot of ways, right, Jim? Because you're a consultant, but you're an academic. So, actually, that brings two sides in to the argument-

Lowe: That's probably the shortest in the list of ways I'm odd. I mean, there's another whole long list, but thank you for keeping it to that particular set of things. [laughs]

Aldridge: Yeah. Different perspectives, though, right? As a consultant, you'd see what's happening on the front line. In the academics, we've been accused of being in an ivory tower, right? But there are some interesting discussions and technologies and ideas that are coming out. You sit between those two worlds in a way, right?

Lowe: Yeah, and it's an odd thing, right? Because when you're a consultant, your job is to go fix the problem. Like, just get it fixed, don't really figure out how. And when you're an academic, right, it's like, just think about the problem, and who cares if it gets fixed? So, yeah, it is these two kind of opposite worlds to think. Hopefully we bring that to this podcast, that you can see both sides of how do we think about it and how do we go do it, and put that out there as a way to be thinking about problems differently.

Aldridge: Who do you think will be listening to this? Who might be interested in that bimodal perspective?

Lowe: Well, hopefully it's more than my friends, because that'd be like three people. Hopefully it's a bigger group than that. You have more friends than I do, so maybe we'll get to 10 or 12. But, no, we hope this is for livestock producers and everybody involved in the livestock industry, everybody from the meat trade to guys on the farm to veterinarians. It's relevant to all of those people that interact in the livestock industry. That's dairy and beef and the feather guys and pigs. We hope all of that fits and there's pieces for everybody.

Aldridge: And the good thing is, being in academia, being in industry, connections with lots of people. So, it's not just you talking, right? There's going to be guests. Who do you expect to be on this? What kinds of people will we have as guests?

Lowe: Hopefully, I'm not the star of the show. I mean, that was really the objective when we started thinking about this thing, is, how do we go find the interesting people that you and I go interact with every day, and how do we get them in this chair to sit and chat with you, and talk about the things that are interesting? We've got plans. Hopefully we're going to have an ag economist on here, and we're going to have some production guys on here, and we'll get some immunologists on here. Everything from the basic sciences to really applied. We'll probably sneak a pig farmer on here, too, just for giggles. But hopefully we're getting this kind of broad breadth, talking about, what are the issues facing livestock producers today?

Aldridge: Jim, what are your main responsibilities here? I mean, where does this podcast come out of in the big beast that is the University?

Lowe: We're a part of the College of Veterinary Medicine here, and really run the livestock group for the College of Veterinary Medicine. And then, one of our big initiatives has been, how do we transfer what goes on here globally? So, we've built an online learning program, Online VetMed. This is part of that. And so, how do we continue to reach? Some of the people that are helping teach classes, etc., are going to be engaged with this podcast. And we'll pull that material out. This is a production of the i-Learning Center, which is our production shop here in the College that we're really proud of. Hopefully, this is part of a much bigger thing that we're putting out there in terms of, how do we take really relevant knowledge and transfer that to the people that use it?

We think it's what Extension 2.0 looks like. We've had Extension here at the University for a long time. It's one of the key competitive advantages U.S. agriculture has had. We've been able to transfer what we know at the university to agriculture. And so, how do we do that in the 21st century? And it doesn't look like, maybe, what we did in the 19th century, in the 1800s? How do we move that forward? We think this is part of that.

Aldridge: Thanks for joining us. We hope you enjoyed listening. We'd love to hear from you, too. You can find us on Twitter. Our handle is @TheRoundBarn1. We may even share your comments on our next show. Please subscribe and tell your friends about The Round Barn as well. It's available on iTunes and the podcatcher of your choice.

One last thing is, in addition to the podcasts that we offer, we also have a wide range of learning opportunities, those that Jim has just mentioned. They're for livestock producers and for veterinarians. You can learn more about those at our website, which is

We'll see you in two weeks!



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