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Shortage Region WY233

Shortage Location
Goshen County, Wyoming
Location Center
4548 Hwy 26/85, Torrington,WY 82240
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
Small Ruminant
May serve
Dairy Cattle
Carry Over
Nominator Name
Hallie Hasel
Nominator Title
Wyoming State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Wyoming Livestock Board
Nominator Email
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian

Goshen County, Wyoming is approximately 72 miles by 31 miles, total area 2,232 sq. miles, in southeastern Wyoming. The area offers excellent elk and antelope hunting, with the Black Hills region to the north, Laramie Peak to the west, and Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver to the south. Enjoy your dinner with local winery vintages. The county is additionally home to the Fort Laramie National Historic Site and original Oregon Trail ruts. Torrington is the county seat and largest town (population 6000). Goshen County has the highest market value of beef cattle sold in Wyoming due to several beef feeding operations (both large commercial and smaller farmer-owned), as well as numerous cow-calf operations. There are approximately 842 ranches raising 124K cattle/calves, as of 2017. Torrington also boasts the largest livestock market in the area, averaging 2-3 sales per week, handling all classes of cattle. There are additional opportunities for small ruminant work, with fairly significant obstetrical work in the spring. Consequently, adequate numbers of food animal veterinarians are vital to this area. Goshen Veterinary Clinic is the only brick-and-mortar clinic in Goshen County. The overall practice percentage is about 50/50 small animal/large animal, although there are many days where the entire day is spent with food animals. Ideally, the clinic would employ four full time veterinarians; however, today there are only two full time veterinarians.

Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services

Goshen County has great opportunities for outstanding veterinary entrepreneurship. Potential exists for herd health consultation, production management, embryo transfer, and artificial insemination. Species include beef cattle, small ruminants, and commercial swine. The average cow herd is 200-300 head, with a few in the 6-800 range, with additional backyard livestock enterprises. Much of the herd work is done outside the clinic, but smaller groups are encouraged to come to the clinic. Spring is busy with obstetrical work, although over time calving season has lengthened, extending from mid-January to mid-June. Obstetrical work is encouraged to come to the clinic, but occasionally an ambulatory call is required. Food animal surgeries include c-sections, urethrotomies/-ostomies, eye enucleations, claw removal, castration, dehorning, abscess treatment, trauma treatment, and lumpectomies. There are a large number of seed-stock producers in the area and much of the required bull fertility testing is done in early spring. Most of the herd bull testing is done in late spring or early summer. A strong desire exists within the communities for veterinary mentorship regarding livestock management, outreach, and production. Additional mentorship opportunities include the Eastern Wyoming College veterinary technician program and numerous livestock events, including 4-H and FFA. Interaction with state and federal veterinarians occurs regularly due to brucellosis surveillance.

Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian

Recruiting associate veterinarians is difficult due to increased debt and a smaller pool of interested candidates. Wyoming does not currently have a state funded student loan repayment program. Competing with states who have a loan repayment program is difficult, thus Wyoming's need for VMLRP. Eastern Wyoming is not as scenic as other areas in Wyoming and therefore not as attractive to vets from other areas or states. Because of our low population, the number of home-grown candidates tends to be small in number. Over the last 20 years, the clinic has employed 7-8 associates with duration of employment ranging from 1-5 years. We offer competitive salaries and other benefits to compete in the mixed practice market.

Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian

Wyoming must address this veterinary shortage to ensure a safe food supply, specifically for beef cattle coming out of Goshen County. In-person veterinary care is needed to mitigate increased risk to public health threats such as emerging diseases and drug residue exposure. Wyoming's #3 business is agriculture, and Goshen County is the leading producer of beef cattle in the state. These producers need continual veterinary care, advice on preventive medicine, and production management recommendations for their animals. Goshen County particularly needs veterinary care to enable access to nearby interstate markets. Livestock producers in Goshen County need reliable access to veterinary service, or may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage as compared to producers with this access. We continue to lose more food animal veterinarians annually than we are able to hire. Without access to veterinarians, our producers are unable to test their cattle in a timely manner, resulting in economic loss. Food animal veterinarians are needed for continually increasing regulations regarding veterinary feed directives and antibiotic usage, along with the continued demand for organic, grass-fed beef and niche marketing, difficult with the harsh winters we receive. Food animal veterinarians are ideally poised to offer education and outreach, to keep our producers economically viable. The Wyoming Livestock Board is in the process of developing an animal disease traceability program, and recruiting private practitioner input. Our food animal veterinarians are paramount for success of this program, especially with their highly valued, practical input.

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