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Shortage Region ID232

Shortage Location - Must Serve
Nez Perce, Clearwater, Latah, Benewah or Kootenai County, Idaho
Location Center
Lewiston, ID (83501), Orofino, ID (83544) or Coeur d'Alene (83814)
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 II Shortage: Private Practice – Rural Area Food Animal Medicine
Must serve
Beef Cattle
May serve
Small Ruminant
Other May Serve
livestock market work
Carry Over
Nominator Name
Scott Leibsle
Nominator Title
State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Idaho State Dept Agriculture
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
This extremely rural 5-county area in North Idaho (6,521 sq miles) is commingled with large swaths of federal and state BLM/Forest lands, requiring production animal vets to operate a huge practice radius. Clearwater has no resident vets to cover production animal services and Benewah only has one clinic with 2 mixed animal vets. A mixed animal vet in the area retired three years and the void has yet to be filled. Another vet in the north region of the territory has been trying to sell his practice and retire for several years, but to no avail. In Nez Perce, the only mixed animal clinic has had great difficulty replacing retired/departed vets over the past 10 years despite having a fully equipped facility with calving stalls, alley ways, hydraulic squeeze chutes and a full horse barn. Retaining service for the livestock market in Nez Perce has also been a problem. There is a big need for emergency work with dystocias, prolapses, etc, but, the existing practices cannot meet demand. Production vets in the area all agree the current workload is unsustainable. These historically more remote areas of the state have experienced rapid population growth recently with many new residents wanting to hobby farm and there are simply no vets available to provide them the care they need. There are over 30,000 head of mostly beef cattle and nearly 4000 small ruminants located in this area (NASS 2022) with many hobby farms popping up in the last 5 years due to rapid population growth.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
Due to the size of this practice area - an applicant may qualify for this award if their practice is based out of or near any of the 'approximate location centers' in the shortage territory. This area requires more direct access to a large animal practitioner. On the food animal side, the practitioner would need to be proficient in: Routine Beef (cow/calf and feedlot) as well as sheep and goat herd health and veterinary medical/surgical services. The activities of a veterinarian in this area would include but not be limited to consultation with producers on basic management techniques, animal handling and herd health work including pregnancy testing, bull soundness examinations, brucellosis vaccination, setting up vaccination protocols, and emergency treatment of individual animals (sickness, dystocia, etc.) An interest in performing services for the livestock market in Lewiston, ID would be highly desirable. The University of Idaho Extension and 4-H groups in the area are very active and would be a critical resource in helping meet the needs of producers in the shortage area.
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 • Mentoring veterinary students
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
Idaho’s agriculture industry is estimated to generate $20 billion annually. For a state with a population of only 1.8 million people, agriculture is both directly and indirectly the economic backbone for the majority of Idaho citizens and businesses and especially integral to the local economies, comprising 17% of total economic output and 12.5% GDP. Idaho ranks as the #3 dairy state in the nation (NASS 2021) for cheese and milk production, as well as number of dairy cattle. For overall cattle numbers, Idaho ranks 11 (NASS 2021). Due to the state’s infrastructure, that includes food animal veterinarians, Idaho enjoys a strong export market for dairy products ($474 million) and beef products ($191 million). Food animal veterinarians are critical to maintain Idaho’s safe and wholesome food supply. Their efforts with the livestock industry are integral in preventing disease and early detection in the event of a disease outbreak as demonstrated by the ongoing management of Idaho’s Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) around Yellowstone Park. The Livestock Market located within this shortage area is also critical to maintaining livestock commerce in this region of the state, as it is one of only two markets in the entire northern region of Idaho. Food animal veterinarians are a trusted resource in rural communities throughout the state. They also play an important role in educating youth to develop the next generation of livestock producers and animal health professionals. Without the cooperation and assistance of federally accredited and state certified food animal veterinarians, state and federal regulatory agencies could not maintain a safe and wholesome food supply for the public and for our domestic and international trading partners.

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