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Shortage Region ID237

Shortage Location
Jerome and Gooding County, Idaho
Location Center
Jerome, ID (83338) or Gooding, ID (83330)
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
Dairy Cattle
VSGP Status
Carry Over
Nominator Name
Scott Leibsle
Nominator Title
State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Idaho State Dept Agriculture
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian

These two counties (1,041 sq miles) are home to nearly 550,000 total cattle with a 50/50 split between dairy and beef. (NASS/ISDA 2022). The south central portion of Idaho that includes these 2 counties contains the greatest concentration of dairies, dairy processors and total cattle in the entire state. Continued expansion of large scale dairies in this region of Idaho (growth of >50,000 dairy head in last 4 years) has overburdened the existing clinics to where many have stopped accepting new clients. There is virtually no emergency support for dairies as the primary large animal clinic in Gooding (4 vets) and handful of solo vets in Gooding and Jerome are very often too busy with routine work to respond, which forces producers to either trailer livestock long distances or go without care. In the past 2 years, 5 full-time production vets have either retired or moved away, 3 more are over the age of 60, and at least 2 vets have experienced major illness in the last 2 years and have not yet returned to full practice. The dairy industry in this region is the nerve center for the entire state and desperately needs to recruit more dairy vets. This nomination is strictly for a dairy practitioner that spends the required 20 hours (on average) per week with dairy cattle. There will a separate nomination in south-central Idaho for a beef practitioner.

Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services

Due to the dense population of dairies in this area - an applicant may qualify for this award if their practice is based out of or near either of the 'approximate location centers' in the shortage area.

This area requires better access to dairy practitioners to keep up with the growth of the dairies. The practitioner must be proficient in:
Routine Dairy Herd Health and veterinary medical/surgical services & Cattle Nutrition

Specifically, 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.)
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 the community. During the "business" part of the day, a rural dairy practitioner can be found providing a variety of different veterinary services to clients, depending upon the size and type of dairy.

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

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 in the most densely populated area of the entire state for Grade A dairies. The impact of a cattle foreign animal disease in this region cannot be overstated - it would cripple the dairy industry and a significant portion of the beef industry in Idaho. Food animal veterinarians are a trusted resource in rural communities throughout the state. Without the cooperation and assistance of federally accredited food animal veterinarians to conduct disease surveillance, along with the state and federal regulatory agencies, Idaho could not maintain a safe and wholesome food supply for the public and for our domestic and international trading partners. There is also one livestock market located within this shortage area that is 1 of 3 markets in southern Idaho, which are all critical to maintaining livestock commerce in this region of the state.

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