October 6, 2023
Mike Pearson examines the veterinarian shortage in rural areas and what's being done about it in today's Farm Progress America.
The shortage of veterinarians is getting worse across the country. According to the USDA, in 2023, 500 counties in 46 states have been deemed as having a critical shortage of large animal veterinarians.
And to make matters worse, the shortage is happening when more livestock treatments are requiring a veterinarian's oversight.
In 2003, a Veterinary Medicine Loan repayment program was created by Congress which required a three years commitment in an underserved area. But when COVID hit, pet ownership skyrocketed and veterinarians found plenty of work in cities which made the shortage in rural areas worse.
So a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate which would provide incentives to practice in underserved areas and would address tax issued caused by the first program.
It is called the Rural Veterinary Workforce Act and has a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
It is hopeful that it will pass due to the livestock industry being vital to a safe food supply.
Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.
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