The National Poultry Improvement Plan is certainly one of the most important poultry health programs in the world, and over the years we have been fortunate to have program leaders at the National office who were not only very competent in their work, but passionate about their jobs. A year ago Andy Rhorer retired from the NPIP after a glorious career working with many of us across the United States. And last week his long time assistant and NPIP employee, Marlene Busick, enjoyed a retirement/Christmas party in Georgia. While we could not make the trip to the South, we celebrated with her from our Modesto offices; and all of our California members wish Marlene a wonderful, productive retirement. I’ve been doing this job for more than 20 years, and Marlene has always been the go-to person when our office had questions and concerns. Of course, Andy was always available as well, but they made a great team. Marlene knows the NPIP rules and regulations as good as anyone I know, and she is a resource that all of us have been lucky and excited to use over the years. We will miss her. The NPIP is in competent hands with Dr. C. Steven Roney and Penny Kesler, both trained by Andy and Marlene, and prepared to move the NPIP on into 2012. From California to New York we have challenges with poultry health. The USDA APHIS Cooperative Agreements have assisted every NPIP office and state poultry companies with a surveillance and monitoring program second-to-none. It continues to be a gem in our state, and we have the cooperation of 100 percent of the chicken and turkey companies, and 95 percent of the layer industry. There is no question that we will miss Marlene in 2012, but she leaves a legacy and enduring presence here in our California offices; and we admire her for the many years of service to poultry men and women throughout the United States.
The California NPIP office is managed by Monica Della Maggiore who accepted the position 9 years ago when long-time employee Doris Pokorny retired. While the California Poultry Federation is focused on legislative and regulatory issues in our state and the nation, the NPIP program is also one of our most important programs. If we are successful, the benefit is healthy birds!