Congress designated millions of dollars for several federal veterinary programs in the $1.5 trillion spending bill passed this March and signed by President Biden, including funding to address veterinary workforce shortages and promote food safety.
Prior to passage of the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022, the AVMA had been engaged with lawmakers and worked with coalitions to advocate for funding programs critical to the veterinary profession. Those programs include the following.
Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program: The VMLRP has received an increase of $1 million in funding from the last fiscal year, for a total of $9.5 million. The program plays a role in closing workforce gaps in food animal medicine and veterinary public health by offering three years of repayment of educational loans in exchange for service in veterinarian shortage areas designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database Program: FARAD was allocated $2.5 million to protect the U.S. food supply against drug residues in animal-derived foods so that they are safe for human consumption.
Veterinary Services Grant Program: The program was allocated an additional $500,000 in funding for a total of $3.5 million. The VSGP is a federal program that provides Education, Extension, and Training grants to develop, implement, and sustain veterinary services and Rural Practice Enhancement grants to establish or expand veterinary practices in rural areas.
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: The agency was allocated $1 million to strengthen its oversight of imported dogs.
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: The FSIS was allocated $2.8 million to remedy the high number of vacancies for public health veterinarian at the agency.
National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility: $4 million was allocated to continue the transition of veterinary diagnostic capabilities from Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York state to NBAF and to carry out programs at the new facility, slated to open in Manhattan, Kansas, in 2022