Rural Veterinary Services Receive $2.3 Million in Federal Grants

November 12, 2016
Einav Keet

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently awarded grants to programs in 10 states to help veterinary practices in rural areas.

In an important show of support for quality veterinary services, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently announced that they will award $2.3 million in grants to various animal care efforts around the country.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced the new grant awards in a press release, highlighting some of the recipients and programs receiving the funding. Included is a total of 12 awards to programs in 10 states. “The new Veterinary Services Grant Program will enable training and retention initiatives to support veterinarians and veterinary technicians so they can continue to provide quality services in rural areas,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy in the press release. “It also supports the expansion of existing veterinary educational programs and facilities, including mobile services.”

The new funding comes as part of the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP), a national effort to support veterinary services and bring relief in situations of shortages. The program was created through the 2014 Farm Bill, which authorizes USDA food and agricultural programs through 2018 and includes animal health as one of its key priority areas. Grants awarded through the VSGP focus on extending and enhancing rural veterinary practices through education, training, recruitment, placement, and retention of veterinarians, technicians, and those studying to become veterinarians.

One of the grant recipients is the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which NIFA awarded $238,346. The university, which is home to the National Center for Excellence in Dairy Veterinary Education and the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, received the funding in support of their work to create and implement web-based educational materials on dairy production and food safety. The educational curriculum will focus on educating veterinary students pursuing studies in dairy and food animal medicine. “We believe this project will help practitioners better serve dairy client needs while at the same time enhancing veterinary practice incomes and providing a richer, more stimulating professional career role for veterinarians, enhancing their sustainability and retention as rural practitioners,” said Erin Royster, DVM, MS and assistant professor of dairy production medicine in a press release.

Along with that program, the new round of NIFA grants gave $239,656 to fund a project at Kansas State University that will create training and networking opportunities for veterinarians in rural animal production. In Nebraska, Town and Country veterinary clinic will use $124,760 to expand their mobile animal care service by an additional 20 to 40 miles.

The full list of veterinary groups and practices, universities, and agencies receiving the NIFA grants for 2016 include:

  • American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Opelika, Ala., $224,136
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., $238,251
  • University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $236,243
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $239,656
  • University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $238,346
  • Betsy the Vet, Inc., Hardin, Mont., $124,462
  • Lewistown Veterinary Service, Lewistown, Mont., $116,036
  • Town and Country Veterinary Clinic, Auburn, Neb., $124,760
  • Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $236,619
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $237,327
  • Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, Madison, Wisc., $238,429
  • Squared Circle Veterinary, Evanston, Wyo., $104,000