What this certification tells you about your dairy nutritionist.
By Gerald E. Higginbotham, Ph.D, PAS, Dipl. ACAN
President, California Chapter, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists
As a dairy producer, you hire individuals who are certified to perform the duties you entrust to them. These individuals can be your veterinarian, accountant or attorney. Your nutrition professional should be no different than other professionals who have undergone a certification process.
A mechanism by which animal nutrition professionals can be certified is to become a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS). Similar to taking the bar exam to practice law, ARPAS is a specie-specific examination that certifies that your nutritionist is competent.
After passing the general dairy exam, an exam in dairy nutrition is also available. If the nutritionist has a master’s or doctorate degree, they may also qualify for board certification in the American College of Animal Sciences – Nutrition Discipline.
Once the general exam is passed, you are certified as a Professional Animal Scientist, which is denoted by the acronym PAS. In order to maintain the certification the individual must have 16 hours of continuing education each year. The ARPAS certification proves a certain minimum standard has been met in terms of knowledge.
With ARPAS certification, dairy farmers are assured that their nutritionist is fully qualified to consult with them on their feeding programs. One of the other advantages of being a member of ARPAS is that members must adhere to a strict code of ethics. In addition to promoting good stewardship and advancement of the profession, the ARPAS code also addresses scientific and business issues such as trust to client groups, confidentiality, conflict of interest and competitive fairness.
An overview of being an ARPAS member is available by viewing its website.
A video has also been produced by the California chapter of ARPAS on the benefits of being an ARPAS member. It can be viewed here.