There’s a shortage of veterinarians in the United States. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
A new report commissioned by Farm Journal Foundation found that there is a shortfall of veterinarians to treat livestock and poultry in rural areas. The report says that shortfall is threatening public health, food safety, and economic growth in communities that depend on agriculture. More than 500 counties across the U.S. have shortages of food animal veterinarians, according to the report, authored by Cornell University’s Dr. Clinton Neill.
Today, only about 3-4% of new veterinary school graduates pursue livestock or other food-animal practice areas, a stark decline from 40 years ago when about 40% of graduates specialized in this area. Shortages stem from several factors, including high levels of education debt that have outpaced potential earnings, especially in the rural United States. This is encouraging more veterinarians to pursue companion animal practices and work in urban and suburban areas where incomes are often higher.
Without enough food animal veterinarians and reliable access to the services they provide, 3.7 million livestock jobs are at stake, according to the report.
Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land of Ours program here.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.