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Shortage Region CA243

Shortage Location - Must Serve
Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito Counties
Shortage Location - May Serve
Location Center
King City, CA
VSGP Status
VMLRP Status
(Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program)
Priority of shortage
Fiscal year
Percent FTE
(Full Time Equivalent, based on a 40hr work week.)
Type of Shortage
(Veterinary Practice Area / Discipline / Specialty)
Type I Shortage: Private Practice Food Animal Medicine
Must serve
Beef Cattle
Small Ruminant
Other Must Serve
May serve
Dairy Cattle
Other May Serve
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
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
Addressing the large animal veterinary shortage in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties is essential to maintaining a safe and secure food supply in California. This region is a high-density animal agricultural area where producers have steadily seen veterinarians retire and currently lacks replacement clinicians. The veterinarian who will fill this shortage area will provide services to the area's robust beef cattle industry with an estimated 139,790 cattle located in the three counties spanning over 5,768 square miles. Providing veterinary care to small ruminants in the region also will constitute a portion of the work. The practitioner serving this area will play a vital role in antimicrobial stewardship by providing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship and oversight for judicious use of medically important antibiotics. In this semi-rural area, educational outreach to smaller livestock and poultry producers to describe regulations associated with drug withdrawal times will help to ensure a safe meat, milk, and egg supply for human consumption. Due to the shortage of permanent large animal veterinarians in this area, clinicians are often brought in from other areas for seasonal livestock work, but emergency care is absent once the seasonal employment ends.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
The veterinarian would primarily serve cattle and small ruminants, performing typical duties of a food animal practitioner including but not limited to: pregnancy diagnosis, obstetrical difficulties, foreign animal disease surveillance, semen evaluation, trichomoniasis testing, and overall herd health practices (vaccination, castration, and regulatory testing requirements). The veterinarian should also make routine herd visits to monitor usage of antibiotics and other prescription medications and advise clients on management of anaplasmosis and foothill abortion. Activities may include emergency services, development of treatment and vaccination protocols, and biosecurity assessment. The veterinarian may also provide care and outreach to small hobby farms or youth agriculture groups such as 4-H and FFA. These operations often require educational farm visits and rely on veterinarians teaching safe and sustainable practices to maintain good health and welfare standards. The veterinarian may also assist with emergency veterinary needs during wildfire responses or other natural disasters, work at sale barns, teach quality assurance programs, establish California Secure Food Supply plans, or work for local fairs, petting zoos, or rodeos.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
Currently, there is a true lack of large and mixed animal veterinarians in this geographic region due to previous retirements. There is one veterinarian across the tri-county area, spanning 5,768 square miles, serving livestock and nearing retirement age. There are opportunities for developing a profitable livestock-based practice, should a veterinarian move to the area.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
Maintaining adequate animal health vigilance in this area is important to the entire state. There is a need for continued veterinary service here to detect emerging diseases, to maintain the continuity of veterinary care as current vets retire, and to protect food safety. In the past year, the local saleyard has had to reduce services on certain days due to a lack of large animal veterinary expertise within the area. The Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito area acts as a wildlife corridor for animals such as tule elk, deer, and wild hogs. The interface of wildlife and livestock can result in disease transmission and requires oversight from a veterinarian for early detection of possible emerging diseases or FADs. Without adequate and accessible veterinary care, farmers who are not trained in FAD recognition and biosecurity practices may inadvertently create disease reservoirs or allow for diseases to spread throughout the county, state, or region. With two veterinarians from the neighboring area close to retirement, there will soon be a lack of mentorship for new veterinarians both within the area and nearby, as well as a large and looming gap in livestock veterinary services. The tri-county area has a need for new veterinarians now, and in the near future, to build community ties and encourage a smooth transition of veterinary practice ownership. This region also has a significant cow-calf producer population; and, without appropriate veterinary services, there is an increased risk of diseased and/or improperly treated animals entering the food chain. The Salinas Valley Fairgrounds hosts livestock jackpot shows and equestrian events from across the state, and there is a prominent livestock sale yard along the main artery of the region - a risky mixing pot. The 4-H and FFA groups are also vulnerable to veterinary shortages; they often require involvement from a vet regarding preventive health, food safety, antimicrobial stewardship, and biosecurity. Without appropriate veterinary medical support, animal health and welfare are at risk and disease threats are imminent.
Community Aspects
This beautiful geographic region of California contains vital urban and rural areas including historic cattle ranches and is the home of the iconic Salinas Rodeo. Bordering the Pacific Ocean, an amazing work-life balance is virtually assured. Fabulous coastal wine regions, world class golf such as Pebble Beach, and historic towns such as Carmel can be found throughout the region. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, as well as state and regional parks featuring redwood groves and ocean vistas are in the northern area of the shortage area, as well as Pinnacles National Park in the south. The draws of scenic hiking and ocean-based activities include surfing and whale watching. Ideal for foodies, this area has abundant fresh produce and iconic wineries.

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