UAM Animal Science Professor Awarded Veterinarian of the Year


The University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Rocky Lindsey has been awarded the Arkansas Veterinarian of the Year for 2023. The presentation was made in Hot Springs at the winter meeting of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association (VMA) in early February. Lindsey is an Associate Professor of Animal Science at the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources. This award is given annually to recognize the outstanding contributions and accomplishments of a member of the Arkansas VMA.

Arkansas veterinarian Mike Beard of Animal Care Veterinary Center in Conway nominated Lindsey for this distinction.

"I first met Rocky, I guess right after he graduated from veterinary school. He was the new graduate veterinarian on the Board of Managers for the Arkansas Veterinarian Medical Association. It says Veterinarian of the Year. I always think of the award as a career achievement,” Beard said. “It is based on what you have done for your community, association, and profession. Rocky checks all the boxes. He is at every meeting every year.   He's our go-to guy for spiritual guidance as well. Those are the things that stood out to me."

"I did not know that that award would be given to me that day. It was quite an honor," said Lindsey. “From what I understand, they appreciated the work I do with missions where we take a lot of pre-veterinary students. We go to Belize twice a year to do humanitarian veterinary work overseas. Many of my previous students here at UAM have a lot of experience that looks good on a resume. Then they appreciated the work that I did for the association over the years and the teaching component that I have here at the college.”

“The value that he contributes to the profession is bringing on the young people who want to be veterinarians, guiding them, and helping them get into veterinary school,” Beard said. “He does such an excellent job at that. Most of us in practice have some influence on the youngsters that are coming along and try to guide them. But we don't have nearly the influence that Rocky has being on the staff at UAM.”

"I used to have two veterinary clinics, and many veterinarians in the state know that I had two successful practices," said Lindsey. "You're awarded, or other veterinarians in the state nominate you. I understand the previous award winners vote on who gets the award."

"Rocky was on the board of a bank in Warren; he's active on his farm and was voted 2022 Drew County Farm Family of the Year,” Beard stated. “He's also very active in his church. He has written a spiritual book, Real Life Devotionals: A Year-Long Daily Devotional. In that book, it said that Rocky is just your average Joe, which I don't think is true. I think he's above average, but that's how Rocky is. He seems like an average guy you like, but he seems to get many things done. I thought Rocky deserved to be recognized as the veterinarian of the year. I was happy to nominate him, and I also got to introduce him at our awards banquet."

Greg Montgomery, farm manager at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, is a longtime friend of Lindsey. They serve as Deacons together at Pauline Baptist Church in Monticello. Montgomery knew of Lindsey through his veterinary business.

"I knew what kind of business he was running, a very successful veterinarian,” Montgomery said. "If you know Rocky, then you know Rocky's faith. That's just all it is to it. I mean, he's so open with his faith. First and foremost, Rocky is a Christian man who wants to impact people's lives. He's here for that reason, and he uses the platform he has.”

Montgomery said Lindsey is integral to his success at UAM.   Dr. Lindsey arrived at UAM in 2017, shortly before a reorganization of its cattle herd management.   Montgomery credits Lindsey with developing a business plan to make the cattle herd profitable. Lindsey helped formulate some five-year goals.

"Together, we put a business plan on paper that we could take to the Chancellor and the Dean of Agriculture,” Montgomery said. “Here's a way that the program can be financially independent.”

Montgomery now leads the UAM breeding program for Beefmasters cattle, and the program is thriving.     The students assist in running the beef program through activities such as hands-on vaccinations and deworming the animals.  

While Lindsey appreciates the honor of his statewide award, he really wants to see more students succeed in their desires to become veterinarians. A recent study from revealed that Arkansas has an average of 14 veterinarians per 100,000 people, making it the state with the least number of employed veterinarians in the entire nation.

"Many kids dream about being a veterinarian," said Lindsey.

"We talk to students about becoming a veterinarian and potentially attending UAM as a pre-veterinary student. We want to be honest with them that getting into veterinary school is highly competitive, " Lindsey added. "We currently do not have veterinary schools in Arkansas, although there are a couple in the works that hopefully will be open in the next couple of years. Getting into veterinary school as an Arkansas student is very difficult. We try to be honest with them and that the curriculum will be challenging.” 

"If they do what we tell them if they'll study, get good grades, and then come here and take advantage of what we have here at UAM, they have a leg up on getting to the veterinary school,” said Lindsey. “That's because we get them very hands-on involved, especially with cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. We have a companion animal class, giving them a lot of practical hands-on ability and knowledge they can apply in veterinary school. Veterinary schools appreciate our approach.”

"We've enjoyed a high success rate of our students getting into veterinary school in the last few years.

That's a testament to the quality of students we have and the amount of experience we give them. The national average was around 17 percent of students who applied were successful. Our average is over 50 percent” ," said Lindsey.