Programs Helps to Ease Growing Veterinarian Shortage in Rural America

Rural communities across the country are struggling to keep large animal veterinarians, but a program in Washington state is helping ease the crisis.

As many veterinarians retire or relocate, livestock owners are finding it more and more difficult to find care. So, the Washington state veterinarian’s office designated four shortage areas, opening the way for students to take part in USDA’s Loan Repayment Program and a grant program. The state veterinarian says it’s a complex issue, but starts with school enrollment.

“We need to recruit students from rural communities and from agriculture, that want to come back and work in these communities, live in these communities, stay in these communities, for a long time. The second issue is that a lot of veterinarians have spouses that also have careers, and trying to find careers for them in rural communities can also be a challenge.”

The state veterinarian’s office says when there are not enough large animal veterinarians, the entire safety of the food supply chain is at risk.


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