The livestock sector has undertaken significant economic functions such as increasing national income and exportation, reducing interregional development differences by a balanced inter-sectoral development and providing a national development in a stable manner.
Specialization in agricultural and animal production in rural areas becomes widespread as well as in industry, trade and services sectors. In today’s world the rapid development on the technical and technological level has transformed every production unit into enterprises that make mass production. Rationalizing the structure of the animal production has become inevitable because of the contemporary developments and healthy diet needs on one hand and the potential of our country in terms of livestock on the other hand. In veterinary medical education, lectures which are related to sectoral economy and livestock production are given intensively due to importance of livestock and livestock based industry in all of the economies of developed countries.
Today integrated livestock fattening, dairy farming and industrial poultry enterprises have very high investment cost so that; marketing, project designing, management and organizations of enterprises requires expertise on its own.
One of the priorities in rural economic development is supplied sufficient number of talented and qualified employees. It should be known that depends on higher education for people veterinarian being at the first place, who will serve in the sector.
Livestock is integral part of rural economic structure and locomotive of economic development and the most productive sector of rural employment at the same time. Veterinarian is defined as a person that has technical, technological and economic information in addition to medical knowledge.
The only difference and significant characteristic that distinguishes veterinary medicine from the medicine is that the subject it deals with is an economic commodity. Because of this veterinarian tasks such as preventive medicine, treatment, improving productivity and quality per unit in products (meat, milk, egg, fleece wool, mohair wool, etc) are not the goal but means to increase the economic benefits of the animal in terms of both macro and micro economically.
Leading countries at livestock in the world have departments under various names such as; Livestock Economics, Cattle Economics, Animal Production Economics, Animal Health Economics, in their graduate and postgraduate academic programs at their faculties of veterinary medicine.
“The Department of Livestock Economics” was first established in Turkey on 29 May 1965 at Ankara University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Prof. Dr. Cumhur FERMAN was assigned as the founder head of the department while he was also the dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences. Prof. Dr. Cumhur Ferman, worked as the Rector of Ankara University between 04 November 1965 and 10 August 1969 for 2 periods and continued his duty as the head of the department continuously until 1978. Veterinarian Yücel Akıncı and Sadi Aral were started their assistantship at the department in 1967. Both of them were received their PhD titles on 30 March 1971. Sadi Aral who was going to be the first veterinarian assigned as a head of the department and lecturer associate professor on 17 January 1978, was received his title in 1977. At the department, which the name was changed into “Animal Health Economics and Management” in 2006, 32 doctorate and 18 master thesis have been completed since 1971.
Prof. Dr. Sadi Aral who worked as thesis advisor for numerous master and doctoral students retired as of 01 December 2009 and Prof. Dr. Engin Sakarya was appointed to the head of department. As of March 2013, 8 academicians are working at the department, which are 2 professors, 1 associate professor and 5 research assistants. Furthermore, 16 doctorate and 6 master students are studying in the postgraduate programs of the department.
In the department there had been and continues many researches on such fields as; livestock policies, rural economic development, planning of animal production, business administration of livestock based industries, planning and project preparation, marketing of animal products, organization at livestock producers and animal health economics.
Today from the point of view rational and productive usage of resources, it will be meaningless to educate veterinarians without economic formation. In this regard when the unique and several production and market structures of livestock and its sub-sectors are taken into consideration, executive veterinarians working in this sector should be specialized on Livestock Economics will be beneficial.
The main purpose of the lecture of livestock economics is to raise veterinarians which are capable of using basic economic functions in addition to basic economy knowledge in macro and micro level about livestock and animal health economics and evaluating results in the light of economic principles.
In general livestock economy lecture provided to 4th grades on graduate level consists of basic economic concepts in livestock, employment in rural economic development, inflation and national income accounts, supply-demand interaction and price formation, input-output correlations in production and economic optimization principles, organization in livestock sector and disease management and principles at livestock enterprises.
At the end of the education veterinarians become skillful at understanding and evaluating basic economic activities on a national scale, analyzing information about animal production and livestock with an economic vision.
The purpose of postgraduate programs in the Department of Animal Health Economics and Management: to educate manpower that can do independent research on livestock economy which is a specialty of general economics and business economics, that can examine and interpret scientific events with a large and deep point of view, and that has the capability to determine new steps to achieve new syntheses.
Within the scope of master and doctorate programs students are given lectures on: livestock based industry economy and business administration, animal production planning, principles of business administration at livestock enterprises, marketing livestock and livestock products, selection to set up establishment for livestock enterprises, cost accounting at livestock enterprises, planning and project preparation techniques for livestock enterprises, slaughterhouse management, slaughter animal, meat and meat products marketing, finance at livestock enterprises, animal health economics.
By these means students are aimed to have information on subjects of economics and business economics, rural economic development and planning, livestock economics and management, project preparation techniques and analyses at livestock enterprises, finance at livestock enterprises, organization, marketing and management science. Graduates of postgraduate programs have the skills of making scientific research and planning at the sector, and interpreting the results, high level of management skills, financial planning both business level and macro level at livestock sector, preparing projects and developing policies and practicing managerial skills.
People specialized in above mentioned subjects can be employed at establishment, planning and management stages of livestock enterprises, at project preparation, at consultancy and top management level of livestock based industrial companies, and as specialist, consultant and executive in public and private sector enterprises.
Still at several research projects performing in the Department that has a post graduate and doctoral program in connection with Ankara University Institute of Medical Sciences, subjects such as econometric studies oriented to profitability and productivity in several livestock enterprises as well as economic analysis of red meat and dairy industry enterprises, economic losses due to various animal diseases and cost-benefit analysis of the disease control programs are focused on.