ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is soliciting recommendations from New York’s animal agriculture industry to identify underserved regions of New York State that face a shortage of livestock or poultry veterinarians. The recommendations will inform the Department’s nomination of shortage areas to the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for its 2020 Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP).
The VMLRP reimburses qualified veterinarians for education costs in the identified underserved areas. It was created to incentivize veterinarians to fill the most serious veterinary shortage situations in the U.S. to protect the food supply and preserve animal and public health. The VMLRP will pay up to $25,000 per year to offset educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve in a NIFA-designated veterinarian shortage area for three years.
A high-priority shortage area is categorized as a region that does not have enough veterinary resources to meet the needs of the area’s farm animal population. Recommendations of shortage areas in New York State can be sent to the Department’s Division of Animal Industry atDAI@agriculture.ny.gov by October 15, 2020. Recommendations should include contact information, the name of the town/county that is facing the shortage, information about the food animal population in the affected area, a description of existing veterinary resources, and an explanation as to why expanding veterinary resources there is a critical need. USDA plans to announce the shortage areas in February 2021 and will accept applications from interested veterinarians for the VMLRP into March 2021.
State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs) nominate, each year, their state’s shortage areas for consideration by the USDA. In 2019, in New York State, Delaware, Sullivan, Otsego and Cattaraugus counties were considered high-priority shortage areas. In 2020, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Essex Counties were named. Areas which have been nominated previously may be re-nominated if recruitment for veterinarians is unsuccessful or insufficient.
Additional information on the loan repayment program can be found here: https://nifa.usda.gov/program/veterinary-medicine-loan-repayment-program
Funding is awarded through the VMLRP nationwide to veterinarians serving in public, private or specialty practices in the areas of food animal medicine, public health, epidemiology, and food safety.
–New York State Department of Agriculture