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Shortage Region CA241

State/Territory
California
Shortage Location - Must Serve
Glenn, Colusa, Tehama Counties
Shortage Location - May Serve
Location Center
Orland, CA
VSGP Status
Open
VMLRP Status
(Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program)
Open
Priority of shortage
High
Fiscal year
Percent FTE
(Full Time Equivalent, based on a 40hr work week.)
55
Type of Shortage
(Veterinary Practice Area / Discipline / Specialty)
Type II Shortage: Private Practice – Rural Area Food Animal Medicine
Must serve
Beef Cattle
Dairy Cattle
Other Must Serve
May serve
Swine
Poultry
Small Ruminant
Other May Serve
Honeybees, Bison
Employer
Position Title
Other disciplinary area
Carry Over
Nominator Name
Dr. Annette Jones
Nominator Title
Division Director
Nominator Org
California Dept of Food and Agriculture
Nominator Email
Nominator Phone
916-900-5000
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
Addressing the large animal veterinary shortage in Glenn, Colusa, and Tehama Counties is essential to maintaining a safe and secure food supply in California. The successful veterinarian's objective would be to serve the area's beef and dairy cattle industry. There are approximately 76,500 head of cattle in this area contributing to the annual $85 million animal agriculture industry in the tri-county region. All three counties are substantially rural. Colusa, Glenn, and Tehama counties are a combined 5,445 square miles with a population density of anywhere between 16 and 22 people per square mile.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
The primary industries a veterinarian would serve are beef and dairy cattle. The veterinarian would perform the typical duties of a food animal practitioner including but not limited to: pregnancy diagnosis, dystocia or obstetrical difficulties, FAD surveillance, semen evaluation, trichomoniasis testing and diagnosis, and overall herd health practices (vaccination, castration, and testing requirements for State and federal regulations). The veterinarian should also make routine herd visits to monitor implementation of herd health plans and usage of antibiotics and other prescription medications. In addition to beef cattle, dairy cattle, and small ruminants, the successful candidate may treat swine, poultry, bison, and honeybees, with hours and services offered varying based on clientele interest. They may also provide veterinary services and outreach to small hobby farms or youth agriculture groups such as 4-H. These operations often require more time and nuanced care, with educational farm visits that rely on veterinarians teaching safe and sustainable animal agriculture practices to maintain good health and welfare standards. The veterinarian may also assist with emergency veterinary needs during wildfire responses or other natural disasters, monitor for foreign animal diseases, work at sale barns, teach quality assurance programs, establish California Secure Food Supply plans, or work for local county fairs, petting zoos, or rodeos.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
This is a rural community, and local clinics have made an additional effort to take veterinary students as interns to expose them to rural practice. Every clinic in the area has tried to hire a veterinarian, with very few applicants. Many veterinarians in the area are getting to the age of retirement. When those experienced and valued veterinarians retire, there will be a lack of mentorship as well as a large gap in veterinary services for livestock. It is essential to recruit and maintain veterinary care now to provide for a continuity of service to large animal and livestock species.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
Maintaining adequate animal health vigilance in this tri-county region is extremely important to the entire state of California. Continued veterinary service is required to detect emerging or foreign animal diseases, ensure food safety and security, and to promote antimicrobial stewardship. Wildlife, such as deer and wild hogs, frequently cross properties that serve as wildlife corridors and act as potential vectors of disease. The area is also in the Pacific Flyway, with rice fields flooded during the winter, that allows habitat for migratory waterfowl and represents a high risk of avian related foreign animal disease transmission. Several large feedlots exist in the area and, should a foreign animal disease outbreak occur, the presence of a robust veterinary infrastructure to communicate with state and federal officials is crucial. Veterinarians currently serving the area often manage the biggest clients first, and many backyard or smaller producers find it especially challenging to get timely veterinary care for their animals. The result can have a deleterious effect on livestock health due to delays in treatment. It can also lead to the potential development of disease reservoirs, as some farmers may not routinely practice appropriate biosecurity protocols and or be adequately trained to recognize foreign animal diseases. This region also has a significant cow-calf population and, without appropriate veterinary services, there is an increased risk of diseased and/or improperly treated animals (some containing antibiotic drug residues) entering the food chain. Additionally, animal welfare is at risk and disease threats are imminent when veterinary medical support is inadequate.
Community Aspects
Located in picturesque Northern California, this vast tri-county area has something for everyone. In their free time, the successful candidate can spend time fishing, hunting, boating, or enjoying motorsports. Colusa National Wildlife Refuge offers some of the best waterfowl hunting in the state. Tehama County is home to "America's largest three-day rodeo," in addition to Lassen Volcanic National Park. The Mendocino National Forest encompasses much of the tri-county area, and recreation activities along the Sacramento River are abundant. Orland is home to Black Butte Lake and its abundance of camping, fishing, hiking, and watersport activities. From this area, you can even venture within a few hours to nearby San Francisco, Sacramento, or Lake Tahoe. With charming downtowns, incredible vistas, local wineries, and family-owned restaurants in abundance, Glenn, Colusa, and Tehama Counties are a great place to call home.

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