AUSTIN — The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded three Texas Veterinarians the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) to help repay a portion of their veterinary school loans in return for serving in areas lacking sufficient veterinary resources. A total of 59 American veterinarians were awarded VMLRP awards this year.
One veterinarian will be fulfilling the private practice (Type II) shortage needs in Armstrong and Briscoe Counties. One veterinarian will be fulfilling the private practice (Type II) shortage needs in Coke, Crockett, Glasscock, Mitchell, Reagan, Sterling, and Upton Counties. The third veterinarian received a renewal award to continue to fulfill the private practice (Type II) shortage needs in Fannin, Grayson, and Lamar Counties.
While the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) does not administer the VMLRP loan, each year the TAHC solicits input from a broad range of stakeholders including veterinarians, veterinary educators, livestock producers, and the public to identify which geographic areas of Texas to nominate for the VMLRP. A total of eight shortage areas in Texas were identified in 2017, of which five were Type II and three were Type III.
Due to the size of the animal agriculture industries in Texas, this shortage poses a risk beyond the state borders, as animals and animal products move across state lines daily, and are traded internationally. A map of veterinary service shortage areas by state is available online.
In its eighth year of operation, the VMLRP program helps qualified veterinarians repay up to $75,000 of debt incurred while pursuing their veterinary medicine degrees in return for three years of veterinary service in a designated veterinary shortage area. Participants are required to serve in one of the three types of shortage situations.
- Type I are private practices dedicated to food supply veterinary medicine at least 80 percent of the time.
- Type II are private practices in rural areas dedicated to food supply veterinary medicine at least 30 percent of the time.
- Type III are dedicated to public practice at least 49 percent of the time.
–Texas Animal Health Commission
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