Details of the report $ 7.2 million in repayment of the USDA veterinary loan

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Earlier this year, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Rural Affairs released its FY2020 Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Annual Report, during which approximately $ 7.2 million went to support veterinary services in underserved areas.

The VMLRP provides up to $ 25,000 a year to pay off veterinary education debt in exchange for at least three years of work in the USDA designated veterinary scarcity area. In 2021, the USDA announced 221 deficit areas across 48 states.

Since its inception in 2010, NIFA has received over 1,700 applications for the VMLRP program and has provided support to over 600 veterinarians nationwide.

Farmer with veterinarian examining a calf

During the 2020 cycle, NIFA reported receiving a total of 150 applications. Repayment awards were awarded to 76 applicants – 59 new winners and 17 renewal winners.

Highlights of the VMLRP report include the following:

  • 44% of new laureates and 18% of renewal recipients had an educational debt of more than $ 150,000.
  • 25% of new laureates and 23% of renewal awards had an educational debt of between $ 100,001 and $ 150,000.
  • The average number of years after graduation for FY2020 applicants was 4.5, with graduation years ranging from 1999-2020.
  • The largest number of applicants (25) and the largest number of awardees (15) were graduates of the University of Iowa.

NIFA has established three VMLRP deficit classifications according to the type of practice and the percentage of full-time equivalent employees required to meet the specific needs in each area of ​​the deficit situation. FTE percentage is based on a 40 hour work week.

In areas with food shortages of Type I, a private veterinary practice is required to provide at least 80% of the FTE. Among the awarded Type I deficiency cases, 38% were filled with new winners and 5% with renewal winners.

The Type II food shortage situation is in rural areas and requires at least 30% of the FTE allocated to the private veterinary practice to supply food. Among the Type II deficiency cases awarded, 29% were filled with new winners and 22% with renewal winners.

Type III funding shortfalls require a commitment to government practice of at least 49% FTE. NIFA reserves 10% of the VMLRP premium for Type III deficit situations. Among the awarded Type III deficiency cases, 16% were filled with new laureates and 2% with renewal laureates.

As a result of the withholding tax on VMLRP awards, 37% of federal funding allocated to the program goes to the US Treasury Department.

For years, AVMA has lobbied Congress to abolish the tax by passing the bipartisan Veterinary Medicine Loan Expansion Act, re-introduced in April this year in the House of Representatives (HR 2447).

“Removing the VMLRP service reward tax will allow more veterinarians to reach rural communities that need their basic services,” AVMA President Douglas Kratt said in a statement.

The adoption of the law is supported by numerous veterinary and livestock organizations.

“Recruiting and retaining rural veterinarians continues to be a challenge for the profession,” Dr. K. Fred Gingrich, executive director of the American Association of Cattle Practitioners, said in a statement. “VMLRP has been successful with retention; however, the tax implications for the award reduce its impact factor. “

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