Good news for Ontario beef farmers who require access to veterinary care in underserviced areas

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Source: Beef Farmers of Ontario

The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) is grateful to hear support is on its
way to support livestock farmers who have been challenged with inadequate access to veterinary care and support in underserviced areas of the province like northern and eastern Ontario.

Today, The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and The Honourable Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, made a joint announcement that they are investing up to $4 million dollars through a Livestock Veterinary Innovation Initiative, which will provide cost-share funding to farmers and stakeholders in the veterinary sector to improve virtual care options, expand telemedicine access and address issues with mobile clinics.

Today’s announcement states that eligible applicants can receive up to 35 per cent cost-share for eligible expenses province-wide and up to 50 per cent cost-share in areas identified as underserviced in terms of available veterinary capacity. Veterinary businesses can apply for support through this initiative starting February 15, 2022 to March 31, 2022.

“Improving access to veterinary care and medicines for underserviced regions in the province continues to be a priority for BFO on behalf of our members, specifically in eastern and northern Ontario,” says Rob Lipsett, BFO President. “Animal welfare is of the upmost importance to beef farmers and having a strong relationship with veterinarians is a critical component of our industry’s commitment to animal care, quality assurance and to our consumers.”

BFO has been working to address this shortfall in the province for the last couple of years with a specific focus on increasing the number of food-animal veterinarians in Ontario. To help build a strong pipeline of veterinary leaders, BFO recently approved two scholarships with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph that will support students pursuing a career in large animal health and welfare.

  • The BFO DVM Entrance Scholarship is a renewable scholarship of $1,000 per year payable over four years for a student entering their first year of the DVM program with work and/or volunteer experience with beef cattle, and who have selected food animal practice as their career goal.
  • The BFO DVM Convocation Award is one prize of $5,000 that will be provided annually to a student who has successfully completed Phase 4 of the DVM program in the Food Animal or the Rural Community Practice stream, has completed the beef rotation with the Ontario Veterinary College, and has interest in and involvement with beef cattle.

In addition, BFO is involved in a couple of working groups with livestock and veterinary groups to develop initiatives and/or incentives to address the veterinary access issue and look for ways in which we can collaborate with government.

“We are grateful for the commitment by both levels of government to increase support for veterinary care,” shares Lipsett. “Beef farming takes place in every county and district in the province, and all of our members deserve proper access to veterinary care and medicine. The issue is complex, but we continue to look for ways to address service gaps and promote the opportunities for food-animal veterinarians in the livestock sector in Ontario.”

For more details on the Livestock Veterinary Innovation Initiative, click here.

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