Over the past several years, prominent livestock regions of Wisconsin, including Columbia, Adams and Marquette counties, have been facing veterinary shortages — hindering their ability to meet government regulations efficiently. Without easy access to veterinary care, livestock farmers often struggle to stay profitable.
In efforts to provide aid to these farming areas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded Lodi Veterinary Care with a Rural Practice Enhancement Grant (RPEG) in 2017. The objective of this three year grant is to provide high quality veterinary services that are economically sustainable to this shortage area.
“Over the years we have seen several livestock veterinarians either change over to small animal practice or retire without another veterinarian replacing them. This has left livestock owners without ready access to veterinary care for their animals.” said Dr. Scott Earnest, Lodi Veterinary Care owner and livestock veterinarian. “With the support of the RPEG, our team has been able to devote the time and resources needed to provide farm animals in the shortage area with the care and services they need.
The USDA recognizes that rural livestock veterinarians play a pivotal role not only treating sick animals but also helping farmers succeed by designing vaccination and disease prevention programs, reproductive programs, bio-security and treatment protocols, and proper drug use and diagnostic services.
Veterinarians are also involved in the execution of state and federal programs for disease control and protecting public health. In addition, veterinarians help shape younger generations through educational events with 4-H and FFA, volunteering at the county fairs, and hosting seminars covering best practices for livestock producers.
Dr. Scott Earnest spoke with Pam Jahnke and the Midwest Farm Report on conversations he’s been having with dairy farms specifically, on evaluating the herd on how to reduce milk supply on the short term while keeping an emphasis on quality.
“Lodi Veterinary Care is committed to rural communities and animal agriculture. We have made great progress toward our goal of building a sustainable veterinary presence in this area,” said Dr. Scott Pertzborn, owner and livestock veterinarian at Lodi Veterinary Care.