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Sask. government supporting rural veterinarians

Sask. government supporting rural veterinarians

The government is expanding a loan forgiveness program

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Saskatchewan government is making more veterinarians eligible for loan forgiveness.

The provincial government announced an expansion of its Saskatchewan Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists program.

“Any Saskatchewan veterinary practice that offers veterinary services to livestock stakeholders from rural or remote communities is now eligible, which includes, but is not limited to, ambulatory service delivery,” a Sept. 6 release says.

The provincial government introduced the program in 2021 to attract more veterinarians to Saskatchewan.

The program forgives portions of Saskatchewan Student Loan debt for up to five years to a maximum of $20,000.

Canada is facing a shortage of veterinarians.

A 2020 study from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association indicated the next 15 years could see a vet shortage of up to 35 per cent.

That same study found between 10 and 16 per cent of surveyed veterinarians spend time with equine, beef cattle, dairy cattle or goats. Another 4 per cent spend time with pigs and 3 per cent with poultry.

Encouraging veterinarians to practice in Saskatchewan is important, said David Marit, Saskatchewan’s minister of agriculture.

“We recognize that the veterinarian shortages in rural Saskatchewan will take ongoing collaboration to resolve,” he said in a statement. “The Government of Saskatchewan takes this issue seriously and is committed to continuing to find additional solutions.”

Livestock groups welcome the program’s expansion.

Without the proper access to care, animals and the industry could suffer.

"Our industry, like many others, is facing a shortage of vets which can negatively impact our industry, our ability to expand, our need for an established vet/client relationship for access to drugs and even animal welfare,” he said in a statement. “We truly appreciate that they took our concerns to heart and made the necessary changes to allow clinics in larger centres such as Prince Albert, who also serve rural clients, to now qualify."

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Advancement Through Science: The Purpose of the Beef Cattle Research Council

Video: Advancement Through Science: The Purpose of the Beef Cattle Research Council

Every time a beef animal is sold in Canada, the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off is collected, and a portion of it funds research and extension through the Beef Cattle Research Council.

The BCRC has a vision of a transparent, competitive and sustainable Canadian beef industry. And, we’re on a mission to support growth in beef demand, increase productivity and earn public trust. Research investments by producers are making that happen.

The BCRC works to advance the Canadian beef industry through industry-led research and extension. We create practical tools and resources that help producers make improvements in:

?? animal health and welfare,

?? forage and grassland productivity

?? feed efficiency and nutrition

?? beef quality and safety and

??environmental sustainability.

Guided by a board of producers from across Canada, the BCRC has one goal -- to make every producer-paid research dollar count. For each dollar invested through the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off, we leverage two to three dollars from other funding sources.

By bridging the gap between research and real-life application, we empower producers to make economical, science-based decisions to help drive innovation, sustainability and profitability in their operations.

Where industry investment and collaboration intersect with research and ranching – that’s where we find advancement through science and the real purpose of the Beef Cattle Research Council.