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North Dakota Ag News Headlines
USDA Awards Funds to Support Rural Veterinary Services
North Dakota Ag Connection - 11/27/2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced 13 grants to support rural veterinary services and relieve veterinarian shortages in parts of the U.S. and its insular areas. The funding from NIFA's Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"Rural veterinary practitioners address a variety of unique challenges related to the health and welfare of agricultural animals, public health concerns, and managing their practices," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "This program offers incentives to these types of practitioners, students, and educators, empowering the veterinary workforce with specialized skills to enhance services in the field."

NIFA's Veterinary Services Grant Program supports two funding categories: Education, Extension, and Training projects are open to state, national, or regional organizations and institutions of veterinary medicine recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association; and Rural Practice Enhancement projects are open to for-profit or non-profit organizations and practices that wish to operate veterinary clinical services in designated rural veterinarian shortage areas.

Among the 2017 projects, Wisconsin's Mondovi Veterinary Service will expand services to dairy and beef producers in shortage counties by providing new chutes, and veterinary support staff will facilitate services to beef producers lacking suitable facilities for working cattle. Additionally, faculty at the University of Florida will select eight early-career veterinarians for a three-year training program focused on high quality and advanced aquaculture training for veterinarians practicing in designated rural counties in Florida and neighboring states.

Overall, approximately $2.35 million in grants were awarded including Rural Practice Enhancement funds to West River Veterinary Clinic, Hettinger, N.D., for $125,000..

In 2016, among the dozen grants that were awarded, a practitioner in Hardin, Montana, was selected to expand her practice to cattle producers using portable equipment. Such equipment has allowed her to provide better services and to control and prevent transmissible livestock diseases and conduct routine herd health services faster and with less risk of injury to the animals and producers. Two key impacts during the first year were an increased number of bulls that were fertility tested and an increased number of animals vaccinated throughout her service area.

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