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Shortage Region ID231

Shortage Location
Jefferson, Clark and Fremont County, Idaho
Location Center
St. Anthony, ID 83445 or Rigby, ID 83442
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 II Shortage: Private Practice – Rural Area Food Animal Medicine
Must serve
Beef Cattle
May serve
Dairy Cattle,
Small Ruminant
VSGP Status
Carry Over
Yes, Yr1
Nominator Name
Scott Leibsle
Nominator Title
State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Idaho State Dept Agriculture
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian

This 3 county area (4,767 sq miles) of predominantly agricultural land (supporting a predominant agriculture-based economy) has a disproportionate number of resident cattle compared to available large animal vets and large animal services. This area is home to over 112,000 head of mostly beef cattle (NASS 2022) with many backyard farms that continue to increase in herd size year over year. There are 3 clinics in the area with dedicated, large animal vets with 3 of those vets over the age of 60 and several others transitioning away from large animal service. Two long-tenured large animal vets that provided service to Jefferson County died unexpectedly in the last 2 years with no one as of yet stepping in to buy either practice. Clark County has no resident large animal vets. Owners have been left to seek out veterinary care in neighboring states that are a much further distance away than is feasible to travel for the average producer. These counties consist of a variety of rural communities with strong ties to agriculture. Specifically, beef cattle producers are in great need of consistent veterinary care with the ability to respond to emergencies in a timely manner. As this area serves a portion of Idaho's federally regulated "Designated Surveillance Area" for brucellosis, it is critical to retain adequate veterinary services in the area to allow for proper surveillance of all test eligible cattle.

Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services

Routine Beef (cow/calf and feedlot) Herd Health and veterinary medical/surgical services.
Routine Sheep/Goat Herd Health, veterinary medical/surgical services.
As this area serves a portion of Idaho's Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis, veterinarians are intimately involved in brucellosis control activities (i.e. - brucellosis vaccination, testing and education).
Idaho is a large dairy production state and veterinarians conduct TB/brucellosis testing regularly on dairies.
While an important aspect of the veterinarian's life is built around one's day-to-day practice, it is equally important to be involved in one's
community. During the "business" part of the day, a rural mixed animal practitioner can be found providing a variety of veterinary services
expected with a rural lifestyle. One may be pregnancy checking a cow one minute, providing birthing assistance to a ewe the next, and
issuing a CVI the next, all the while diligently keeping watch for epidemiological veterinary health concerns.
A rural veterinary lifestyle does not end with the "work day". Many veterinarians serve on local community boards, are involved with civic
groups, and are leaders in their communities. Service opportunities, both veterinary and non-veterinary, surround the rural veterinary lifestyle.

Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian

Advertisements in professional magazines such as JAVMA and Bovine Practitioner
• Advertisements in State VMA newsletter and website
• Postings on job boards at veterinary meetings & veterinary colleges
• Networking within veterinary community, allied (pharmaceutical) and animal industry personnel
• Contacting veterinary colleges
• Offering externships to veterinary students

Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian

The following are areas of potential concern / risks given the agricultural base of the community:
• Control of regulated diseases such as Brucellosis, Tuberculosis and Trichomoniasis.
This region is of particular importance because the area includes a portion of Idaho's Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis. It is absolutely critical that Idaho maintains large animal services around this eastern portion of the state to maintain compliance with all the provisions of the Brucellosis Surveillance and Management Program, which include testing and vaccination of cattle and bison.
Given the risk of reappearance of these diseases in Idaho; the need to protect from the economically devastating consequences, that would impact the entire state...not just this region... must remain a priority.
• Public safety
Rural communities often “grow their own food source” Many residents are hobby farmers who raise small numbers of cattle, sheep and goats
for home consumption. Providing adequate veterinary care for these animals is fundamental to the health of the rural Idaho family.
• Minimizing Disease Transmission
Beef management practices in Idaho necessitate grazing of cattle on public range lands. Although this practice is fundamental to the producer’s
viability, it allows for commingling of cattle and potential for disease transmission as well as the risk of exposure to affected wildlife. The risk of disease transmission is accentuated by this areas proximity to Idaho's Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis. Providing access to qualified veterinary care and diligent surveillance programs are critical to minimizing this risk.

With the aging of the current food animal veterinary workforce, it is critical that we take steps to maintain the availability of qualified food animal
veterinarians in this area into the future.

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