Texas Agriculture March 17, 2017 : Page 8

Rural veterinary shortage focus of committee hearing By Julie Tomascik Editor Texas is home to large numbers of livestock, poultry and horses, but it faces a short supply of food animal veterinarians. That puts the health and vitality of those animals and the farm and ranch at an increased risk. That concern was heard before a Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs hearing Feb. 27. Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Presi-dent Russell Boening noted the vet-erinarian profession is vital to rural communities in written testimony submitted to the committee. “There has been a noticeable shortage of rural veterinarians for some time,” Boening wrote. “This can not only put a strain on the eco-nomics of livestock producers, but on small towns whose agriculture-intensive economy is based on the welfare and health of livestock.” Texas leads the nation in cattle, ating with intent to work in large animal medicine in rural Texas or if there is enough business in those areas to sustain a full-time veteri-narian with burdening debt.” The RVIC program, which was created in 2009 when the Texas Legislature passed HB 1684, has not been funded to date, limiting participation in the program. “The underserved areas of Texas will require the services of dynamic veterinarians that can proficiently serve both companion animals and livestock,” Boening wrote. He noted that TFB recognizes the rural veterinarian shortage isn’t a problem with a simple or single so-lution. “It should be a goal of the state to find a way to recruit and retain a qualified and adequate veterinarian population throughout rural Texas,” Boening said. Texas A&M University is evalu-ating ways to resolve the issue, in-cluding a new academic track that focuses on food animals. Texas Tech University has also looked to help solve the demand for rural veterinarians by establishing a veterinary school in Amarillo. sheep, goats, mohair and horses— all of which rely on veterinarians for their well-being. Two programs have helped fill the need, but still fall short. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and the Rural Veterinary Incentive Pro-gram (RVIC), both designed to ease the shortage, have fallen short, Boe-April 5-9 2017 est. 2006 Henrietta Texas ning said. VMLRP is funded annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and eight underserved areas have been identified in Texas for the pro-gram. The last 10 years show a con-sistent need for greater service in certain areas of Texas, but many of those areas have failed to attract an application for the VMLRP. “In 2016, only half of the veteri-nary shortage areas identified gar-nered VMLRP applications,” Boen-ing said. “This brings to question if there are enough students gradu-A FESTIVAL WITH A PURPOSE. NEW! M ARCH 17 , 2017 CLAYCOUNTYTURKEYFEST.COM | HCCCHAMBER.ORG HENRIETTA COURTHOUSE SQUARE | 940-538-5261 Sponsored By UPGRADE YOUR PIVOT TO FULL CONTROL FIELDNET PIVOT CONTROL By retrofitting an existing system with Pivot Control, you gain the advantages of FieldNET ® by Lindsay’s web and mobile capabilities, including real-time alerts. • Full remote control of pivots, pumps and injectors, and monitoring sensors • GPS positioning for precision irrigation • Compatible with almost any pivot • Basic variable rate irrigation (VRI) with up to 360 sectors www.myfieldnet.com © 2015 Lindsay. All rights reserved. Zimmatic and FieldNET are registered trademarks of the Lindsay Corporation. Hotel Reservations: Best Western Henrietta Inn & Suites (940) 538-6969 | 816 US Highway 287 South, Henrietta Texas 76365 8 DE LEON CIRCLE K IRRIGATION 800-658-6960 circlekirrigation@gmail.com PLEASANTON K & M IRRIGATION SERVICES, INC. 830-569-4311 kmirrigationservices.com

Rural Veterinary Shortage Focus of Committee Hearing

Julie Tomascik

Texas is home to large numbers of livestock, poultry and horses, but it faces a short supply of food animal veterinarians. That puts the health and vitality of those animals and the farm and ranch at an increased risk.

That concern was heard before a Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs hearing Feb. 27.

Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) President Russell Boening noted the veterinarian profession is vital to rural communities in written testimony submitted to the committee.

“There has been a noticeable shortage of rural veterinarians for some time,” Boening wrote. “This can not only put a strain on the economics of livestock producers, but on small towns whose agriculture-intensive economy is based on the welfare and health of livestock.”

Texas leads the nation in cattle, sheep, goats, mohair and horses— all of which rely on veterinarians for their well-being.

Two programs have helped fill the need, but still fall short.

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and the Rural Veterinary Incentive Program (RVIC), both designed to ease the shortage, have fallen short, Boening said.

VMLRP is funded annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and eight underserved areas have been identified in Texas for the program.

The last 10 years show a consistent need for greater service in certain areas of Texas, but many of those areas have failed to attract an application for the VMLRP.

“In 2016, only half of the veterinary shortage areas identified garnered VMLRP applications,” Boening said. “This brings to question if there are enough students graduating with intent to work in large animal medicine in rural Texas or if there is enough business in those areas to sustain a full-time veterinarian with burdening debt.”

The RVIC program, which was created in 2009 when the Texas Legislature passed HB 1684, has not been funded to date, limiting participation in the program.

“The underserved areas of Texas will require the services of dynamic veterinarians that can proficiently serve both companion animals and livestock,” Boening wrote.

He noted that TFB recognizes the rural veterinarian shortage isn’t a problem with a simple or single solution.

“It should be a goal of the state to find a way to recruit and retain a qualified and adequate veterinarian population throughout rural Texas,” Boening said.

Texas A&M University is evaluating ways to resolve the issue, including a new academic track that focuses on food animals.

Texas Tech University has also looked to help solve the demand for rural veterinarians by establishing a veterinary school in Amarillo.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Rural+Veterinary+Shortage+Focus+of+Committee+Hearing/2736932/392072/article.html.

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