Input from stakeholders is being sought to help address veterinary shortages in California. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship program is seeking comment from the state’s livestock sectors. The information will be used to better inform the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA). More detailed input from the industry will help identify areas that can be improved for large animal veterinary services in California.
NIFA is currently accepting nominations for the 2020/2021 Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). The VMLRP helps to provide veterinary resources to areas of need through incentivizing veterinarians to provide services in those underserved areas. NIFA can provide up to $25,000 a year to veterinary awardees that can commit to at least three years of service in an area of need. The funding incentive is provided for veterinary education loan debts.
The State Veterinarian discloses areas of California that need veterinary services to NIFA, who then designates particular areas where veterinarians can apply to. Applications from veterinarians are submitted and will be selected and assigned by the national committee. Nominations have been made for eight positions in California based on input from stakeholders over the past year. Siskiyou and Imperial counties have been identified as areas of need over the past few years.
CDFA facilitates the submission of California’s nominees to a NIFA committee. The committee will identify areas where veterinary shortages need to be addressed based on a national needs assessment. Consideration is given to three different categories of nominations. Category I is to address “full-time” veterinary needs for food and large animal shortages. Category II is for rural areas where only a portion of the veterinary practice will focus on food animals. Veterinarians in public service and who work in the public practice sphere are considered in Category III. CDFA is seeking input regarding veterinary shortages from producers, veterinarians and clinics, and any other stakeholders by Wednesday, November 4.