Bill passed to increase annual funding for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which increases annual funding for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program by $1 million to $9 million. The funding increase will help the program place more food animal veterinarians in rural areas to close veterinary access gaps.
“The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program has been a tremendous success in connecting food animal veterinarians in rural communities that so badly need their services and public health veterinarians that are essential to maintaining the health of animals and humans alike. This funding is an important step toward helping the program expand its reach,” says AVMA president John de Jong. “We're grateful to all of the lawmakers who in a bipartisan effort are committed to championing this program.”
The spending bill also maintains $3 million in funding for the Veterinary Services Grant Program, which similarly helps meet rural veterinary needs by providing grants to support education and extension activities and practice enhancement initiatives for food animal veterinary services.
Of additional importance to veterinary medicine, the bill provides a $30 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, maintains level funding of $16.3 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, provides a $2 million increase for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Center for Veterinary Biologics and provides an increase of $4.2 million for APHIS Veterinary Diagnostics.