Michael J. Neault, DVM, has been named South Carolina’s next state veterinarian and director of Clemson University Livestock-Poultry Health.
Neault comes to Clemson from the North Carolina Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, where he has served as the state’s Director of Livestock Animal Health Programs since 2015. Previously he served as Emergency Programs Manager for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Animal Industry Division. His work in Michigan included time as Animal Disease and Traceability Coordinator and Poultry Programs Manager.
Neault will begin in April and replace current state veterinarian and LPH director Boyd Parr upon his retirement at the end of June after 17 years at Clemson.
“Dr. Parr has been the steady and visionary leader of a regulatory agency that has been successful in helping the South Carolina animal agriculture industry navigate through natural disasters, animal diseases and countless other challenges. While he will be sorely missed, we are extremely excited that Dr. Neault has agreed to become our next state veterinarian and LPH director. He brings all the necessary experience to the job, and I have no doubt that LPH will continue its excellence under his direction,” said George Askew, vice-president of Clemson Public Service and Agriculture (PSA).
As South Carolina State Veterinarian and LPH Director, Neault will lead a state regulatory agency whose mission is to protect animal health by controlling endemic, foreign and emerging diseases in livestock and poultry and to protect the health of South Carolina consumers by inspecting meat and poultry products to ensure they are safe, wholesome and accurately labeled.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Neault over the years in a number of capacities related to emergency and disease management, and I am confident LPH and South Carolina’s animal agriculture industry will continue to thrive with Mike as state veterinarian and LPH director,” Parr said.
As director of Livestock Animal Health Programs in North Carolina, Neault designed and administered programs that monitored and protected the state’s livestock and equine industries. He also led investigations to detect and eradicate emerging animal diseases. In 2018, Neault cofounded the North Carolina Feral Hog Task Force and helped secure funding from the USDA to address feral swine issues on agricultural crops and livestock. Feral hogs are an invasive species that are a major concern for farmers and landowners throughout South Carolina and the Southeast.
Neault’s agency also played a key role in protecting the North Carolina livestock and equine industries from foreign disease during the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, and in 2010 he directed Michigan’s wildlife rehabilitation response to the Kalamazoo River oil spill, one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history.
“I am extremely honored to have been chosen as the South Carolina state veterinarian and Livestock-Poultry Health director. I have worked closely with my counterparts in South Carolina over the years and have seen firsthand that Dr. Parr has created an excellent program with capable people. I look forward to helping them continue their work protecting food safety and supporting the state’s animal agriculture industry,” Neault said.
During his first months on the job, Neault plans to meet with the S.C. Poultry Federation, S.C. Beef Board, S.C. Pork Board and other animal agriculture industry and livestock groups.
“Foot and mouth disease is something that we have to be looking out for and I know that the dairy industry in South Carolina is experiencing quite a few issues with financial challenges. One of our goals is to try and assist the beef industry and dairy industry to be prepared for any event that could occur and affect them,” Neault said.
Clemson Livestock-Poultry Health is part of the university’s Public Service and Agriculture division.
Clemson PSA is a state agency comprised of four units: Clemson Experiment Station, Clemson Cooperative Extension, Livestock Poultry Health, and Regulatory Services. Clemson PSA works collaboratively with Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences for research and outreach through the Clemson Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.