Farmers and public health officials are growing increasingly concerned with a shortage of food animal veterinarians in Iowa and across the country.
The number of farm animal vets is shrinking at a time when worries over potential disease outbreaks are on the rise. Dr. John Thomson ran a veterinary clinic for 20 years just south of Creston.
“And it’s a very sparsely populated area, so it’s not always easy to attract veterinarians into those areas,” Thomson says. The retired Iowa State University professor is fighting for legislation that would lure more young animal doctors into rural or underserved areas.
Thomson says one of the biggest barriers involves student debt.”On average, (veterinary) students are graduating with $141,000 in debt and they’re looking for ways to reduce that as painlessly as they can.