USDA Program to Funnel 2.4 Million Dollars to Bolster Rural Veterinary Services

Deadline for applications is May 19, 2017.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has $2.4 million to dispense through its Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) in 2017.

The grants are being made available through the 2014 Farm Bill, which includes a section earmarking money for food animal education programs as well as assisting rural veterinarians.

Look no further than the recent avian influenza outbreaks putting the U.S. poultry industry at risk as to the importance of the program.

The 2017 VSGP application states: “Ultimately, this program will bolster the capacity of private practitioners to provide food animal veterinary services in designated rural veterinarian shortage situations.” 

About $1.6 million of the grants in 2017 are slated for education, extension and training programs with the remaining $800,000 going toward Rural Practice Enhancement grants. 

“Veterinarians play significant roles in assuring animal health and well-being, food safety and security, public health, and producer profitability, especially in rural areas of the country where most livestock production occurs,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director.

The VSGP grants will help establish or expand veterinary education, residency and fellowship programs, internship and externships; provide continuing education and extension, including veterinary telemedicine and other remote education opportunities; and cover travel and living expenses for attendees at food safety or food animal medicine training programs. 

In 2016, the first year of the VSGP, NIFA awarded $2.3 million in grants in support of rural veterinary services in 11 states.

Utah State University benefitted last year from a NIFA grant, which it will use to fund workshops, technical training and mentorships for early career rural veterinary practitioners.

For eligibility requirements or to apply, go to USDA website.

The deadline for applications is May 19, 2017; only new and resubmitted applications will be accepted.

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