The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has nominated five veterinary services shortage areas in the Commonwealth that have a need for veterinarians practicing food supply veterinary medicine. This nomination provides the opportunity for qualified veterinarians and veterinary practices to apply for financial assistance to mitigate food animal medicine shortage situations. Based on the nominations from VDACS, USDA has designated the following shortage areas:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) administers a loan repayment program and a grant program to help mitigate veterinary service shortage areas. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) helps qualified veterinarians repay up to $75,000 in student loans for at least three years of service in designated veterinary shortage areas. The Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) supports education and extension activities and practice enhancement initiatives within the defined area with grant awards ranging from $75,000 to $250,000. The VMLRP application period closes on April 12, 2024, and the VSGP application period closes on March 21, 2024.
“I highly encourage anyone eligible for these opportunities to apply. Virginia is allocated five shortage areas each year to highlight the need for food supply veterinarians in rural areas of the state, and we want to do everything we can to encourage and support them,” said Virginia State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Broaddus. “The funds received through the federal programs can help repay educational loan debt, offer more competitive salaries, provide compensation for overhead costs, and/or purchase new equipment to expand a practice.”