February 23, 2011

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

This program, managed by USDA Nation Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), is designed to encourage veterinarians to participate in food animal/rural practice. The program will pay back up to $25,000 per year of a veterinarian’s educational loan debt if they make a three year commitment to practice in an area or category identified as  a “Veterinary Shortage Situation”.  Last year, NIFA awarded grants to 62 candidates nationally, one of which was in California.

The role of the State Veterinarian’s office is to review and submit shortage areas for you.  This program can be the equivalent of offering a veterinarian with school debt up to $25,000 more per year, so it is a great way to attract veterinarians into an area!!  

Please look at the attachments, talk to anyone that may be aware of a veterinarian shortage area, and ask them, or help them, to get nomination forms back to us by March 12, 2011.

Additional Information

Types of nominations accepted:

·         California is allowed up to eight nominations

·         Category I − Rural or non-rural area with sufficient work to support a difficult to fill need that primarily (>80%) consists of food animal medicine   

·         Category II – Rural area with difficult to fill food animal medicine need and in which a wider ranging practice, i.e. mixed animal general practice, may be needed for income stability

·         Category III – Public practice


Last Year:

NIFA’s committee decided that only five of the eight California nominated areas met their criteria. They accepted three public needs (CDFA Poultry, CDFA Tulare, CAHFS Laboratory) and two Category II private practitioner needs (Glenn/Colusa county area and eastern Riverside County).  They rejected needs described for Aquaculture, Dairy/Dairy Goat in Tulare area, and Food Animal Practice in Trinity County. We had additional areas suggested (Plumas County, Modoc County, Shasta County, Shelter Medicine, and a Food Animal Resident position) that were not strong enough to put forward last year.

Among the five that were put forward only one was filled. This was a poultry position for CDFA. One of the contributing factors to this low award rate is that VERY few candidates applied to the California shortage areas, which suggests the opportunity was not sufficiently advertised or approved areas are so difficult to fill that even $25,000 a year towards student loans could not attract candidates.

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