Monday, March 16, 2009

Ky. loan program encourages large-animal vets

Large-animal veterinarians are far outnumbered by their small-animal counterparts, and the disparity is getting worse as large-animal vets retire. Kentucky has started a low-interest loan program to encourage more vets to treat large animals, and just awarded its first loan. Dr. Melissa Lipps will use the money from the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corp. to expand her Shelbyville clinic to include a holding facility for large animals, and hopefully add another vet to treat large and small animals.

A number of factors have combined to create the shortage of large-animal vets, writes Walt Reichert for The Sentinel-News in Shelbyville: more city-raised veterinarians,; more women, who often face more challenges with the physical demands of large-animal practice; longer and more erratic hours; and less profit. The program "is one small incentive to assist those who want to continue large-animal veterinary practices,” said Sandy Gardner, special projects coordinator for the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy, which provides staff to the board. “Other state agricultural organizations are looking at other ways to deal with the shortage.” (Read more)

The loan is part of $1 million allocated to the KAFC last September by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, which distributes money from the state's share of the national tobacco settlement to help the state's agricultural economy. Kentucky is known for horses, by dollar volume its largest agricultural product, but is the largest cattle-producing state in the East.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Jen,

Good to hear that this subject is gaining more interest. I work for an agri-marketing agency and we're trying to get the word out as well. Visit us at www.fieldassignment.com or on twitter at http://twitter.com/FieldAssignment.

Lee