By Audrey Hambright
Dr. Trent Fox has found success in his young career in veterinary medicine with help from mentors and a steadfast belief in his goals.
A native of St. John, Kansas, Fox received his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in animal sciences and industry and a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition from Texas A&M University before embarking on his journey in veterinary medicine. Fox was originally on a pathway to becoming a nutritionist for feedyards and began working on a PhD in diagnostic medicine/pathobiology at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine when he was encouraged by several faculty members to look at veterinary school.
Fox felt fortunate to be accepted into veterinary school and finished his PhD while working on his DVM degree. Several mentors were key to Fox’s success. Dr. Del Miles, Dr. Bob Smith, Dr. Galen Weaver, Dr. Mike Apley, Dr. David Renter and Dr. Shan Hullman have all been influential in their approach to practice and how they interact with people.
“Critical parts of animal agriculture are the people that are there every day working with the animals,” he said. “Empower them with the skills they need so that they can do their job every day.”
After graduating in 2010, Fox took a position as a staff veterinarian for JBS Fiver Rivers Cattle Feeding in Greeley, Colorado, before stepping into his current leadership role as a part of Veterinary Research and Consulting Businesses now based out of Hays, Kansas. The business operates in eight states from Kansas to California, conducting feedlot consultation and production-based research.
“[We] ensure that they’re doing everything they can to create a safe, wholesome beef product,” he said. “And work with and empower the people to improve animal welfare and well-being.”
Although Fox noted that regulations affecting antimicrobials will present a challenge, he also feels this will cause the industry to shoulder the challenge together and become better. One opportunity he sees is to find products that have less shared-class components that could impact human health.
Fox has also been active in industry organizations, serving on the 2015 program committee for the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and the executive board for the Academy of Veterinary Consultants. He is also a former member of the animal health and well-being committee for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
His advice to those pursuing their careers in veterinary medicine is to always look to their mentors, but that ultimately they will have to decide what they want to do.
“When I was a junior/senior, people told me it was impossible to come out of school and go into feedyard consulting,” he said. “This was what I always wanted to do, went at it completely jumping into the fire. It’s been very rewarding so far. If there’s something you want, you got to go after it.”
Finally, in addition to his industry involvement and mentors who have guided him along the way, Fox attributed his success to his supportive wife Mandy, and busy family who allow him to be gone often to pursue his career. He enjoys taking a break from the road to spend time and watch them develop in their lives.