USDA awards $5 million for veterinarians in shortage areas

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USDA logoThe Department of Agriculture announced Dec. 12, 2012, it will offer awards totaling $5 million to nearly 50 veterinarians that will go toward repayment of veterinary student loans in return for service in shortage areas.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture offered the awards through the federal Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. Recipients must commit to three years of service in a designated shortage area.

“This assistance will help veterinarians return to rural America where they can provide needed services to our farmers and ranchers and continue to keep our food supply safe for all Americans,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director.

Following is a breakdown of the awards:

  • The USDA offered 47 awards totaling $4,610,954, including loan and tax payments. The mean award was $98,105, including loan and tax payments.
  • The mean eligible debt for repayment was $119,500. Eighty-three percent of recipients received the maximum payment of $25,000 per year, plus tax payments.
  • Seventy-two percent of awards went to veterinarians who earned a veterinary degree within the past three years.
  • The awards are for service in veterinary shortage areas in 30 states. These shortage areas include four in Texas and three each in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
  • Five awards were for type 1 shortages, at least 80 percent food animal practice. Thirty-eight awards were for type 2 shortages, at least 30 percent food animal practice in rural areas. Four awards were for type 3 shortages, at least 49 percent public practice.

Read about the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program at