In Practice 32:114-117 doi:10.1136/inp.c836
  • Practice management
  • Client Relations

Communication in farm animal practice 1. Farmer‐vet relationships

  1. Owen Atkinson

    Owen Atkinson qualified from Liverpool in 1994. He has worked predominantly in dairy practice and is a partner at Lambert, Leonard and May, a 13‐vet farm practice in Shropshire. He chairs the XLVets FarmSkills Steering Group and was awarded a 2009 Nuffield Farming Trust travel scholarship to study the role of the vet in knowledge transfer in the dairy industry. He holds the RCVS certificate in cattle health and production.


Farm animal practice continues to evolve and, more and more, the role of the farm animal vet is that of a communicator of knowledge. Herd health planning and advisory work are recognised as important areas for the farm vet practitioner to embrace (Lowe 2009). To be successful in these areas, vets must be sophisticated and effective communicators, and need to develop new skills to engage with farm clients in increasingly challenging environments. In this twopart article, Owen Atkinson uses fictitious case studies to outline some of the challenges vets face. Part 1 outlines some theories on farmer-vet relationships, while Part 2, to be published in the April issue of In Practice, looks at the processes involved in facilitating change.

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