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Shortage Region CA244

Shortage Location - Must Serve
CDFA Headquarters or one of CDFA's 4 district offices: Redding, Modesto, Tulare, Ontario
Shortage Location - May Serve
Location Center
California Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health and Food Safety Services, with Headquarters located in Sacramento, CA and district offices
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 III Shortage: Public Practice
Other Must Serve
Other May Serve

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Position Title
Other disciplinary area

Regulatory Medicine

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
California's animal agriculture is valued at $7.61 billion, with livestock representing some of the state's most productive and iconic commodities. California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) veterinarians provide regulatory oversight for critical programs and activities that assure food safety and protect livestock and poultry populations from catastrophic diseases of animal and public health importance. They may conduct food safety inspections or domestic and foreign animal disease (FAD) surveillance, participate in epidemiological investigations, institute disease control and/or traceability measures, and serve as responders for outbreaks or incidents that threaten animal or human health. CDFA partners with many professional and agricultural organizations, along with California universities, to work on crucial agricultural issues and disease treatment, control, and prevention. CDFA veterinarians also perform essential outreach and education for veterinary practitioners, producers, and the public to contribute to animal disease awareness, including precautionary steps for infection prevention aimed at mitigating antimicrobial resistance. A CDFA veterinary shortage designation helps attract quality candidates at the current salary and would help California recruit/retain veterinarians still paying off student loans but not interested in or able to utilize Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
Veterinarians are either based in CDFA headquarters or in field offices throughout the state and have regulatory medicine expertise to protect public health and food safety. CDFA veterinarians combine their expertise in livestock with administrative responsibilities to establish state-wide animal disease and food safety prevention, eradication, and control programs. They may develop policies and strategies for statewide programs, perform epidemiologic investigations, conduct disease risk analyses, develop outreach materials, and interact with livestock and poultry producers, academia, state and federal veterinarians, and the public. In the field, CDFA veterinarians utilize their familiarity with animal production systems and may be responsible for domestic and FAD surveillance activities, including epidemiological investigations and providing import and export support for livestock movements. They interact with private practitioners, industry stakeholders, and the public to conduct outreach and education on disease prevention. CDFA veterinarians can be involved in emergency preparedness planning, training, and exercises, and may deploy for animal-related incidents.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
Despite aggressive recruitment efforts through veterinary schools, professional organizations, publications, conferences, Internet posts, social media, and word-of-mouth, CDFA has difficulty attracting and retaining qualified veterinarians to bring their wealth of private practice knowledge to the state system due to limited salary ranges. Nine veterinary positions are currently open, six for over a year. Veterinarians with training, interest, and aptitude for public practice often have financial commitments that are prioritized over the diverse, unique opportunities and work-life balance benefits offered by CDFA, leading them to select higher-paying positions in private practice.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
The CDFA nomination is critically important because, without adequate and skilled veterinarians, CDFA is less able to respond to catastrophic livestock and poultry disease outbreaks, increasing risks of diseases further affecting livestock and poultry populations, and trade, throughout the nation. Our programs include food safety inspections, foreign animal disease investigation and prevention, antimicrobial stewardship, disaster response, and securing the food supply. California plays a unique role in the nation's animal livestock industry; it shares an international border with Mexico, functions as part of the migratory Pacific Flyway, and contains multiple air and seaports, which all contribute to a significant risk for introduction of FAD and diseases of economic importance into the state and the nation. The number and concentration of livestock and poultry operations in the state, coupled with the high level of daily intra/interstate animal movements, further increase the vulnerability for rapid transmission of high consequence diseases. The ongoing, daily threat of a catastrophic FAD or highly costly endemic diseases spreading or entering California, and subsequent national threat of disease spread, cannot be understated. This year, CDFA veterinarians have managed outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, equine infectious anemia, and vesicular stomatitis virus. CDFA veterinarians are indispensable checkpoints to prevent the spread of animal diseases nationwide. They provide vigilant, ongoing surveillance, which enables rapid identification of disease or public health risk and an effective response. CDFA veterinarians are also essential in ensuring a safe food supply with inspections of eggs, meat, and milk. Adequate numbers of skilled CDFA veterinarians working to provide front-line coverage for the identification, diagnosis, and management of disease and food safety issues of both animal and human significance are necessary to secure a safe supply of food.
Community Aspects
Redding area is well known for the opportunity to go hiking, hunting, fishing, camping and wildlife viewing featuring beautiful lakes and views of Mount Shasta, with the Sacramento River running through the middle of the town. Geothermal wonders are a short drive away in Lassen National Park. This location is ideal for a candidate who loves outdoor activities and the conveniences of a city with a small community feel. Modesto is nearby many recreational lakes, fabulous mountain-fed rivers, and historical towns. Modesto is famous for its starring turn in American Graffiti and continues to be part of the art scene with the Gallo Center for the Arts. It is also close to Yosemite National Park, and within 2 hours of the San Francisco Bay Area. Tulare is a bountiful dairy and agricultural hub is within a 2-hour drive of magnificent Sequoia National Park as well as the Central Coast, including icons such as Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and the Paso Robles wine region. Fresno International Airport provides connections across the state and beyond! Ontario is centrally located in Southern California, with easy freeway access to Los Angeles and Orange County Beaches, Disneyland, San Diego, Joshua Tree and Palm Spring Deserts, Temecula Wine Country, and Big Bear Mountains. Las Vegas is less than 4 hours by car. Ontario and the surrounding areas have a great quality of life with family friendly housing developments, great schools and parks, and excellent weather year-round. Sacramento is home to two beautiful rivers with great outdoor recreation opportunities. Featuring an established craft beer scene, bustling restaurant scene (some Michelin rated), and it is less than two hours from internationally known ski resorts in Lake Tahoe, as well as about two hours from the San Francisco Bay Area. Several wine tasting regions are within an hour drive, including the Napa Valley. This is a thriving city with a variety of employment opportunities for spouses.

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