Will there be enough food supply veterinarians?

Species groups, industry commit funding for comprehensive study
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To quantify the supply of and demand for food supply veterinary professionals in the United States and Canada, the profession is about to mount a comprehensive research project, once the stakeholders have pledged the remaining funding needed. 

The study involves two comprehensive research programs. The first one addresses the demand for food supply veterinary medicine professionals. The second one will assess student recruitment, student selection, and retention of students and veterinarians. 

The proposal calls for the $300,000 project cost to be shared, with a third each coming from the AVMA, industry, and several veterinary associations. By late March, $200,000 had been pledged. 

From industry, Bayer Animal Health has agreed to contribute $100,000. 

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners authorized $50,000; the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, $40,000; and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, $10,000. The American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants are determining the amounts of their contributions.  

At press time, the AVMA Executive Board was scheduled to consider at its early April meeting a recommendation from the AABP, AASV, and AASRP to allocate $100,000 in support. 

The Food Animal Summit Task Force initiated this project. FASTF is an informal group comprising representatives from the AABP, AASRP, AASV, AVC, AAVMC, and AVMA. The American Association of Avian Pathologists was involved in some of the earlier FASTF meetings and is considering whether to be a part of this study. 

FASTF developed the plan for this evaluative study because of the great need for factual information about the demand for veterinarians in pre- and postharvest food supply veterinary medicine over the next five to 15 years. Two vendors submitted proposals in response to a request issued by FASTF. The task force chose David M. Andrus, PhD, and his group from the College of Business Administration at Kansas State University to perform the study and make subsequent recommendations. Their project is titled "Estimating FSVM Demand and Maintaining the Availability of Veterinarians for Careers in Food Supply Related Disciplines in the United States and Canada." 

In March, when the AASV board approved its funding, Dr. Rick Sibbel, 2003-2004 president, said, "This is the most comprehensive document ever requested on the specific subject of food supply veterinary medicine. It has the combined support of the food animal veterinary groups."  

Dr. James Jarrett, AABP executive vice president, agrees with Dr. Sibbel. Dr. Jarrett said, "This is one of the most important studies and can have one of the greatest impacts of anything in food supply veterinary medicine this decade."  

The KSU researchers expect to complete the project within a year of the start date.