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Shortage Region ID233

Shortage Location
Bingham & Bonneville County, Idaho
Location Center
Idaho Falls, ID (83401)
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
Nominator Name
Scott Leibsle
Nominator Title
State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Idaho State Dept Agriculture
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian

This 2 county area (4,021 sq miles) of predominantly agricultural land (supporting a primarily agriculture-based economy) has a disproportionate number of resident cattle compared to available large animal vets. There are a total of five (5) veterinarians providing food animal services in this area on a routine basis. These counties are home to more than 161,000 head of cattle (NASS 2022) and a large number of sheep and goat operations....and herds are continuing to grow. In early 2023, two new FSIS-inspected slaughter plants will be coming online in Idaho Falls, which will promote beef herds in the surrounding area to continue to increase their herd size. This territory also borders Idaho's Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis, so it is critical to retain adequate, qualified veterinary care in the region. Additionally, many more cattle utilize public rangelands in this area for summer grazing. A food animal veterinarian in this area would serve a clientele ranging from large and small beef herds, approx. 20 dairy herds (Grade A & raw) to the "backyard" herd of only a few head. Veterinarians in the rural area must be willing to be flexible to the needs of a unique and varied clientele to allow veterinary services to remain available to all types of producers. Rural Idaho practices with this level of caseload diversity are finding it more difficult to attract new veterinarians with salaries that can meet the financial needs faced by recent graduates.

Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services

Beef (cow/calf and feedlot) herd health and veterinary medical/surgical services.
Dairy herd health and veterinary medical/surgical services.
Sheep/Goat herd health, veterinary medical/surgical services
As this area is near Idaho's Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis, veterinarians are intimately involved in brucellosis control activities
ie; brucellosis vaccination, testing and education.

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. Service opportunities, both veterinary and non-veterinary, surround the rural veterinary lifestyle.

Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian

• Advertisements in State VMA newsletter and website
• Postings on job boards at veterinary meetings & veterinary colleges
• AVMA matching program
• 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 where enhanced surveillance of DSA cattle continues to mitigate the spread of brucellosis from the wildlife in the park to Idaho’s domestic cattle herds, which allows our trading partners states to maintain the confidence that Idaho cattle are disease free. Idaho also continues to be brucellosis and tuberculosis free. 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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