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Shortage Region WI247

Shortage Location - Must Serve
Portage County, WI
Shortage Location - May Serve
Adams, Waushera and Waupaca Counties, WI
Location Center
Plover, WI
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
Dairy Cattle
Other Must Serve
May serve
Small Ruminant
Other May Serve
equine, cervids
Position Title
Other disciplinary area
Carry Over
Nominator Name
Darlene M. Konkle
Nominator Title
State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
Portage County Wisconsin has a significant population of dairy and beef cattle, with 60 dairy herds and over 40,000 head of dairy and beef cattle according to 2017 NASS data. The surrounding counties of Adams, Waushera and Waupaca Counties have over 100 dairy herds, with an additional 85,000 head of both dairy and beef cattle. Wisconsin is the second largest producer of milk in the US, and the number one state for cheese production. The shortage area also has a significant number of goats, with 686 head in 62 herds in Portage County, and over 2000 head in 80 herds in the surrounding three counties. Wisconsin is the number one producer of goat milk in the US. The must serve and may serve counties also contain other small ruminants, swine and horses, with over 2800 livestock premises registered in the WI Livestock Premises Registration System. The area is diverse with respect to production types, ranging from large commercial dairy herds to smaller farms. Veterinarians in the area report difficulty serving the entire area, and a lack of large animal services in many parts of these counties. A veterinarian serving this area will provide necessary food animal services in an area with decreasing veterinary coverage.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
A veterinarian serving this shortage area must be willing to provide ambulatory, and potentially in-clinic services for diagnostics, treatment and disease surveillance. A veterinarian in this shortage area would be expected to provide services to dairy cattle, beef cattle and small ruminants. A veterinarian would also likely see swine, poultry and horses. Services provided include, but are not limited to: herd health maintenance, (vaccinations, nutrition analysis, cow comfort and calf health), diagnostic workups and treatment of herd health issues such as gastrointestinal and respiratory issues, reproductive exams, obstetrical procedures, and surgical procedures such as displaced abomasum, hernia repair, and laceration repair. A veterinarian in this area would expect to complete a state certification program to conduct herd testing for bovine tuberculosis. Veterinary oversight would also be important in establishing antibiotic use protocols and biosecurity plans for various types of operations. A veterinarian practicing in this area will issue Certificates of Veterinary Inspection for interstate movements. A veterinarian in this area may also provide services to local livestock markets, and county and local fairs. In addition to the practice of veterinary medicine, a veterinarian in this area would be an important asset to the community by providing educational opportunities for local 4H and FFA groups, and seminars for local producers on various topics including husbandry and preventive medicine.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
Recruitment of veterinarians to this area has become more difficult in recent years, due to reduced practice size and scope. Veterinarians in the area report difficulty in recruiting and retaining new hires due to competition for higher salaries in companion animal practices, and mixed practices in other areas of the state.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
The livestock premises in this shortage area are diverse, and they represent a significant source of food to the people of Wisconsin, the US and internationally. Access to veterinary care is critical to ensure the health and well being of these animals, and to ensure a safe and wholesome food supply. Veterinary oversight is also necessary to keep Wisconsin free of diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and pseudorabies, maintaining markets for livestock and products. Veterinarians are critical in providing appropriate medical care, and in reducing inappropriate and ineffective use of antimicrobials. With the increasing worldwide incidence of high consequence diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease, it is critical for all food animals to have access to high quality veterinary care to prevent and rapidly respond to these diseases. Lastly, many emerging pathogens are zoonotic. It is imperative for this area to retain veterinary services not only to protect animal health, but to protect human health and ecosystem health as well.
Community Aspects
Portage County and the surrounding counties are located in Central Wisconsin, within the Central Sands Region. The Central Sands Region lies east of the Wisconsin River and encompasses 1.75 million acres. The region is underlain by deposits of sand and gravel left by glaciers at the end of the last ice age. The 800 miles of trout stream and 300 lakes within the region provide recreation and tourism including hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, birding, wildlife watching, hiking and skiing (WI DNR Website). The southern part of the region is home to the International Crane Foundation, an organization working to conserve cranes and their ecosystems. The nearest city is Stevens Point (population 26,600), home to a vibrant community of schools, restaurants, theaters and entertainment, as well as a University of Wisconsin campus. The Wisconsin River runs through the shortage area, with access to parks, fishing and hiking. This area of the state is known for spectacular fall colors and is part of the central flyway with migrating birds of all types in the spring and fall. The area also boasts several championship-level public golf courses. Madison, the Wisconsin state capital, is a 90 minute drive south of the shortage area, with many more opportunities for recreation and entertainment.

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