Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

May 10, 2017

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces New York State Veterinarians Can Apply for National Loan Repayment Program

Program Reimburses Qualified Veterinarians for Education Costs

Helps Bring Critical Veterinary Services to Underserved Communities to Protect Food Supply, Animal and Public Health

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that qualified veterinarians who agree to provide veterinary services for livestock in Delaware, Sullivan and St. Lawrence counties can now apply for the 2017 Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). It was created to incentivize veterinarians to fill the most serious veterinary shortage situations in the U.S. to protect the food supply and preserve animal and public health. 

Commissioner Ball said, “This program addresses critical veterinary needs in our state and across the nation while providing valuable work experience for many highly skilled doctors. It encourages veterinarians to practice in communities that play an important role in maintaining the food supply but that also have limited access to vital animal care. By improving veterinary medicine in these areas, we can ensure our animals are healthier and threats to public health are reduced.”

The VMLRP will pay up to $25,000 per year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve in a NIFA-designated veterinarian shortage area for three years. State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs) identify approximately 185 priority shortage situations across the U.S. each year. In New York State, Delaware, Sullivan and St. Lawrence counties are considered high-priority shortage areas. A map of all NIFA-designated veterinary shortage situations can be found here.

Approximately $4.2 million will be awarded nationwide to veterinarians serving in public, private or specialty practices in the areas of food animal medicine, public health, epidemiology, and food safety.  

To be eligible to apply to the VMLRP, an applicant must:

  • Have a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), or the equivalent, by July 1, 2017, from an eligible college;
  • Have a minimum qualifying educational loan debt of $15,000;
  • Secure an offer of employment or establish and/or maintain a practice in a NIFA-designated veterinary shortage situation;
  • Provide certifications and verifications as defined in the Request for Applications;
  • Satisfy any previous obligation for veterinary service to the Federal government, State, or other entity prior to beginning service under the VMLRP; and
  • Not have a federal judgment lien against his/her property arising from federal debt.

Applications for the VMLRP must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 26, 2017. Veterinarians awarded funding in 2014 and 2015 may submit a renewal application. More information about the program is available here. Instructions for applicants and the application documents are available here.

NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy said, “Many veterinarians are facing insurmountable student loan debt, so they choose to work in urban locations that offer higher pay. This is causing a critical shortage of veterinarians in rural America. This assistance will help veterinarians return to rural America where they can provide needed services to our farmers and ranchers, and continue to keep our food supply secure from diseases of farm animals.”

About the Department
The Department, through its various divisions and programs, promotes New York agriculture and its high-quality and diverse products, fosters agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguards the State’s food supply, land and livestock to ensure the viability and growth of New York’s agriculture industries. The Department’s Land and Water Division works to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation, and proactive environmental stewardship.

The Department operates the Great New York State Fair, and administers the Taste NY initiative, the FreshConnect and New York State Grown and Certified programs. Follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

2017 Press Releases