Governor Recommends $500,000 to
Ease Veterinarian Shortage
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has announced that one of his Fiscal Year 2009 budget priorities will be to address the critical shortage of large animal veterinarians by fully funding the state's Large Animal Veterinary Student Loan Program. In a news release issued Oct. 5, 2007, Blunt proposed spending $500,000 for the new program that encourages students to pursue large animal veterinary medicine careers in rural areas of the state.
Officials at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine have been working with the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, legislators and industry leaders for several years to develop and implement the loan program. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. John Dodam testified before the state Senate Committee on Agriculture attesting to the college's support of the program and its importance in helping decrease students' debt load. The university's CVM is the only veterinary medicine school in the state, and one of only 28 in the country.
In his news release, Blunt stated, “This funding will create a corps of young, talented veterinarians ready to serve family farmers in underserved areas across the state, helping to ensure that the next generation of Missouri's family farmers has the veterinary resources available to continue our state's agricultural tradition.”
The release went on to state that the governor signed legislation creating the Large Animal Veterinary Student Loan Program to ensure that family farmers in underserved areas of the state have access to large animal veterinary care. The student loan program provides incentives for students pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine and was championed this past legislative session by Senators Dan Clemens and Bill Stouffer and Representatives John Quinn, Steve Hobbs and Brian Munzlinger whose support was critical to securing passage of the important program.
“There is a growing unmet need for large animal veterinarians in rural Missouri, and Governor Blunt's action is a big step forward toward meeting this need. It will also provide new opportunities for students who might not otherwise consider an advanced degree,” said Dwayne Schad, Morgan County Cattleman and Farm Bureau Board Member.
“We have a critical shortage of veterinarians in rural Missouri and this program will have a real impact on animal agriculture. I appreciate Governor Blunt for his leadership and his commitment to veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Bud Hertzog of Lee's Summit Animal Hospital.
“Fully funding the Large Animal Vet program emphasizes the importance of animal agriculture to Missouri and our state's economy. Governor Blunt understands the needs of agriculture and livestock producers in rural Missouri. This program will have an impact next year, and for years to come as we bring new vets into underserved areas,” said Director of Agriculture Katie Smith.
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