December 15, 2016


 USDA awards $4.4M for food animal, public practice

Posted Nov. 30, 2016

The Department of Agriculture announced Nov. 3 that it offered awards totaling nearly $4.4 million to 48 veterinarians toward repayment of veterinary student loans in return for service in shortage areas.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture offered the awards, which are for service in 27 states, through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. 

“Veterinarians play a critical role in keeping our nation’s food supply safe and animals healthy,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, PhD, NIFA director. “The need for veterinarians in designated shortage areas is urgent. This loan repayment assistance program provides incentives for students to take up rural veterinary practices and help take care of American livestock.” 

Recipients must commit to three years of service in a designated veterinary shortage area in food animal practice or public practice. The maximum loan repayment is $75,000, although awardees are eligible to apply for a renewal award.

In 2016, NIFA received 187 applications and offered 38 new awards totaling nearly $3.6 million and 10 renewal awards totaling more than $800,000.

Participants are required to serve in one of three types of shortage situations. Type 1 shortage areas are private practices dedicated to food animal medicine at least 80 percent of the award recipient’s time. Type 2 shortages are private practices in rural areas dedicated to food animal veterinary services at least 30 percent of the time. Type 3 shortage areas are dedicated to public practice, and awardees must commit at least 49 percent of their time. The new VMLRP awards include 11 type 1 awards, 32 type 2 awards, and five type 3 awards.

Since the program was implemented in 2010, more than 300 veterinarians have helped fill shortage situations in 46 states. The AVMA has advocated over the years for the program’s creation, funding, implementation, and enhancement.   


AVMA Animal Health Studies Database 

In June, the AVMA launched an Animal Health Studies Database for researchers seeking animals to participate in clinical studies and for veterinarians and animal owners exploring options for treatment. The new website encompasses all fields of veterinary medicine and all species of animals. As of mid-November, 232 studies had already been posted, and nearly 13,000 searches of the database had been performed. Go here to access the database.