Farm Journal Foundation is partnering with the Zoetis Foundation to launch a new program to find solutions for relieving student debt in the veterinary industry. The effort’s long-term goal seeks to address shortages of veterinarians to work with farmers in rural areas. The new Veterinary Debt Solutions Program will convene leaders from across the livestock, academic, nonprofit, and veterinary sectors to address barriers that veterinarians face in building long-term careers in rural areas. High levels of student debt, combined with comparatively lower rural salaries and demanding workloads, discourage many young and diverse professionals from specializing in large animal veterinary science and entering the workforce, particularly in underserved rural areas. The veterinary profession is currently experiencing an urban-rural divide, with only about ten percent of final-year veterinary students expressing an interest in working with livestock after graduation, according to survey data from the American Veterinary Medical Association. As a result, about 500 counties across the U.S. now face shortages of veterinarians.
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