Griggsville Native Earns National Veterinarian Award

Provided by My Journal Couier | Written by: Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree| July 2020

CARTHAGE — From working on a farm as a young boy to watching as his father tended to animals in and around Pike County, Clayton Johnson grew up knowing he wanted to work with animals.

Though originally wanting to become a farmer and raise his own animals, the Griggsville native followed in his father’s footsteps into veterinarian science.

Now, Clayton is being recognized for his work in the swine industry as recipient of the 2020 Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award. The national award is given to someone who has shown the ability to use science in day-to-day practices.

“I came by it naturally,” Clayton said. “My dad is a mixed animal vet in Griggsville, so I grew up going from farm to farm, seeing the cows and pigs. We didn’t have a farm of our own.”

Clayton will receive his award during a virtual ceremony as part of the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference — which was moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic — in September through the University of Minnesota.

Johnson received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2008 from the University of Illinois. He then worked for several years with The Maschhoffs LLC, a hog production company based in Carlyle.

He took on his position at Carthage Veterinary Services in 2016.

Johnson isn’t a traditional, go-out-to-the-farm-and-examine-an-animal veterinarian.

Instead, Johnson works with local farmers and bigger producers, as well as producers overseas, to develop safe operating procedures, planning and policies for operations.

“We do whatever we can to help farmers,” Johnson said. “We are their extension agency, we work with nutrition, safety, human resources. We help develop plans and training.”

Johnson’s work is international; he works with many producers in China, which has the largest population of pigs in the world.

Receiving the award is a huge honor, Johnson said.

“Receiving this award is an amazing honor for me, especially because I know the individuals who won before me have done amazing things,” Johnson said. “If I wasn’t part of a successful team, there is no way I would be recognized.”

Lucina Galina Pantoja, director of pork technical services at Zoetis, said Johnson is a great representative for the veterinarian community.

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