OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Washington State University graduate who has spent much of his career in New Mexico has been named Washington state veterinarian, the state Department of Agriculture announced Monday.

Joe Baker has almost 40 years of experience in veterinary medicine, according to the WSDA.

Baker, who is married and has two grown sons, has held positions with the New Mexico Livestock Board since 2006.

He has headed New Mexico’s Food Safety, Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, worked as a field veterinarian and served as interim state veterinarian.

Paul Kohrs, the assistant state veterinarian, has been acting state veterinarian.

Baker will start with WSDA on Nov. 3.

“Dr. Baker comes to us with the experience and background to be a great state veterinarian,” WSDA Director Bud Hover said in a press release. “He has many years in private practice, but also has a deep understanding of regulatory medicine and policy, both of which will help him work successfully with the livestock industry.”

Baker completed his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in veterinary medicine at WSU and also completed an equine reproduction residency at the University of California-Davis.

As state veterinarian, Baker will manage WSDA’s Animal Health Program.

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