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Shortage Region WY246

Shortage Location - Must Serve
Wyoming, Laramie County
Shortage Location - May Serve
Statewide response as required
Location Center
1934 Wyott Drive, Cheyenne, WY 82007
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 III Shortage: Public Practice
Other Must Serve
Other May Serve

State of Wyoming, Wyoming Livestock Board

Position Title
Assistant State Veterinarian-Statewide
Other disciplinary area

Livestock Disease Control and Elimination

Carry Over
Nominator Name
Hallie Hasel, DVM
Nominator Title
Wyoming State Veterinarian
Nominator Org
Wyoming Livestock Board
Nominator Email
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
Wyoming's "Cowboy State" identity is married to ranching and agriculture, which contributes more than $1B annually to the state's economy. Ranching is essential to the state; nearly 12K producers utilize two-thirds of the state's landmass for livestock grazing. Wyoming ranks first nationwide in average ranch size. Cattle is the dominant industry, with 1.3M cattle and calves and significant numbers of sheep (365K) and swine (90K). Due to the elevated risk of brucellosis within Wyoming's Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area, cattle herd surveillance is paramount for Wyoming's livestock producers. The Wyoming Livestock Board is a State of Wyoming executive branch agency that exercises supervision over and protects the livestock interests in the state. Wyoming Livestock Board – Animal Health protects the health of Wyoming livestock by focusing on disease prevention, surveillance, control, eradication, and educational outreach. It implements board rules and regulations, assists in enforcement, and monitors the import of livestock and biological agents into the state. The Assistant State Veterinarian is essential, with governance and veterinary specialty expertise. Regarding administration, the role serves as a professional liaison between the Livestock Board and veterinarians, producers, agriculture/livestock associations, other state, federal, and international agencies, the general public, and members of the Wyoming legislature. The role partners with USDA APHIS and NIFA experts to support foreign animal disease investigations, promote animal disease traceability, and manage regulatory and compliance matters. The veterinarian is critical in evaluating and responding to new and ongoing livestock disease cases to prevent and minimize disease impacts on the Wyoming livestock industry. Specific daily duties include testing, epidemiology, mitigation, producer education, and outreach statewide.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
The Assistant State Veterinarian provides substantive professional veterinary services for the people of Wyoming. The individual must be willing to perform twofold duties, providing both administrative and veterinary medicine expertise. To be successful in an organizational capacity, the individual must be willing to collaborate with the State Veterinarian and management staff to identify necessary legislative, rule, or policy changes. Further, the individual will participate in federal, state, and local emergency response and foreign animal disease exercises and response, implementing National Response Framework, Emergency Support Function #11. In addition, an applicant must be willing to provide regular education for producers, veterinarians, and legislators on animal health issues, programs, and solutions affecting Wyoming livestock. They must serve as professional liaisons between the Livestock Board and veterinarians, producers, agriculture/livestock associations, other state, federal, and international agencies, the general public, and members of the Wyoming legislature. They will maintain the state Reportable Disease List, oversee reporting, disseminate information to veterinary practitioners, and manage agency disease reports and statistics. Finally, the individual must be willing to promote animal disease traceability (ADT), uphold related regulations, and address compliance issues when necessary. In a practicing veterinary medicine capacity, an applicant must be willing to assist with field response to disease issues, including hands-on testing, epidemiology, mitigation, and producer education. They will lead and support foreign animal disease (FAD) investigations for reportable diseases and assist the State Veterinarian with all assigned duties to successfully promote the mission and agency goals.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
Current Wyoming veterinarians are aging and retiring faster than new veterinarians arrive. Due to the elevated risk of brucellosis within Wyoming's Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area, cattle herd surveillance is paramount for Wyoming's livestock producers. Recruiting an Assistant State Veterinarian is challenging due to increased debt and a smaller pool of interested candidates. Wyoming does not have a state-funded student loan repayment program. Competing with states with a loan repayment program is challenging, thus Wyoming's need for VMLRP. Because of our low population, the number of "home-grown" candidates tends to be small. The loan repayment incentive is a substantive motivation Wyoming can utilize to attract veterinarians to the state.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
The Wyoming Livestock Board must address the need to attract and retain an Assistant State Veterinarian to ensure a safe food supply, specifically for beef and dairy cattle in or transiting Wyoming's Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA). Due to the elevated risk of brucellosis within Wyoming's cattle herd, the state tests over 83,000 cattle annually. Without the required testing, surrounding states may be unwilling to accept Wyoming origin cattle. Further, Wyoming's ability to conduct brucellosis tracing in the event of positive test results is critical to the national effort to demonstrate functional animal disease traceability. If unable to achieve traceability, the risk of reduced consumer confidence in beef and dairy products detriments interstate movement of animals. Wyoming Livestock Board-Animal Health consists of an exceptionally small staff, making each individual vacancy challenging to mitigate. The staff positions include only three veterinarians--the State Veterinarian, Assistant State Veterinarian, and traveling Field Veterinarian. Failure to hire or retain any of the individuals results in severe damage to Wyoming's ability to maintain a disease-free food supply. The Assistant State Veterinarian leads several critical efforts, including the statewide brucellosis testing and reimbursement program, the state Reportable Disease List, and epidemiology, mitigation, and producer education functions. The Wyoming Livestock Board is in the process of developing a National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response program, an animal disease traceability program, and recruiting private practitioner input. Our Assistant State Veterinarian is paramount for success of this program, especially with their highly valued, practical input. VMLRP is essential to Wyoming's ability to attract and retain highly qualified individuals for this position, to achieve USDA NIFA's goal to ensure a safe food supply supported by high consumer confidence.
Community Aspects
Laramie County is situated in the southeastern most area of Wyoming. Home to the state capitol and Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Cheyenne offers an exceptional blend of outdoor opportunities and activities. Beautiful Curt Gowdy State Park is a 25-minute drive west, offering 35 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Continuing another 20 minutes offers world class rock climbing at the Vedauwoo Recreation Area and wintertime groomed cross country ski and snowshoe trails at Laramie summit. Local annual events range from the Western Spirit Art Show, Fridays on the downtown plaza, the Wyoming Brewers Festival, plays and musicals at the historic Atlas theater, and Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world's largest rodeo. Exploring further into Wyoming offers access to majestic Yellowstone National Park, towering Grand Teton National Park, blue ribbon wild trout rivers, national-best elk and antelope hunting, and premier dining and western experience events from Jackson Hole to Cody to Sheridan. Cheyenne additionally offers close proximity to Colorado's metropolitan Front Range, a bustling group of metropolitan cities including Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. The beautiful mountain landscape offers outdoor enjoyment in all seasons, with over 300 days of sunshine per year.

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