Dr. Tom Noffsinger grew up on a diversified ranch and farm near Wray, Colorado, where his family raised beef, cows, swine, crops, and operated a small dairy. Dr. T, as his colleagues and clients affectionately call him, had wanted to be a veterinarian since the fourth grade. Fortunately, the family farm was 100 yards inside the Colorado state line which gave him the opportunity to attend Colorado State University as an in-state student.
“I owe CSU a debt of gratitude for a very solid basic veterinary education; strong anatomy, histology, clinical pathology; faculty members that were second to none,” said Dr. T. “For new grads, this is the most rewarding profession known to man. It never ceases to amaze me. Every day is different. I have no idea what exciting thing will happen to me today.”
Dr. T came of age just as Monfort was getting going and the fed cattle industry was in its infancy. Colorado State was at the heart of the boom, and Dr. T notes school greats like Drs. Rue Jensen, Robert Pierson, and Wilbur Aanes among those who greatly influenced the industry.
“Robert Pierson and Rue Jensen had so much research going on that they filled an entire AVMA journal.” said Dr. T. “CSU’s program grew up with the feedlot industry in America. They couldn’t have prepared me better for working with beef cattle.”
After graduation, Dr. T joined Dr. Don Hudson in his mixed practice, Twin Forks Clinic, in Benkelman. Dr. Hudson was both Dr. T’s mentor and eventual practice partner. In 1994, Dr. T graduated from the Beef Production Management Series at the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. His professional life took an interesting turn when he learned about Bud Williams, and then convinced the expert in stockmanship and low-stress cattle handling to live and teach in Benkelman for several years.
“I’m a magnet for people who are better than me; I don’t know, maybe they feel sorry for me,” said Dr. T. “It was amazing to watch Bud. He changed the way we worked with cattle. We came to understand that every time you are in contact with an animal it should be a positive experience for both you and the animal.
Wherever we encourage cattle to move to, they should perceive they belong there. When we focus on the voluntary movement of animals, and people who volunteer to learn low-stress handling, well, that changes the world. We understand and use the animal’s visual abilities, posture angle, language, speed, and attitude – all cues to help us work with rather than against their nature.”
In 2005, after 32 years in beef cattle practice at the Twin Forks Clinic, Dr. T became an independent feedlot consultant specializing in facility design, stockmanship and low-stress livestock handling. He also is an owner/member of Production Animal Consultation, Pierson Precision Auscultation, and the Cattle Performance Enhancement Company. He was the recipient of the 2001 Consultant of the Year award from the Academy of Veterinary Consultants for his work at PAC.