VMLRP Veterinarian Shortage Situation Nomination Form (Form NIFA 2009-0001)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The VMLRP Shortage Nomination Form must be used for Nomination of Veterinarian Shortage Situations to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs) nominate shortage areas to be designated as a shortage situation. Once designated as a shortage situation, VMLRP applicants will use the information to select shortage situations they are willing and qualified to fill, and to guide the preparation of their applications. NIFA will use the information to assess contractual compliance of awardees. This page walks applicants through each section of the nomination form.

Please use only ONE form for each nominated shortage situation.


In the location field, enter the names of one or more contiguous or adjacent counties, parishes, or districts followed by any additional geographic qualifiers that approximate the span and extent of the shortage situation. The area must constitute a logistically plausible service area that a SINGLE veterinarian could be expected to cover and serve effectively. Do NOT indicate an area that is too large for a single veterinarian to cover (for example, "anywhere in State A" or "any service area in a 500 mile radius" is not acceptable).

For the approximate center of service area or location of position, enter an address, cross street, or combination of geocoordinates that approximates the center of the service area for Type I or Type II shortage nominations. For Type III nominations, enter the business address of the primary office the veterinarian would be working from.

Please ensure all location information is accurate as NIFA uses this information to map the shortage locations.


Congressional intent is for the VMLRP to incentivize applicants to serve in veterinary service shortage areas with the greatest need. Prioritization is needed to facilitate the nomination process and assist review panelists in their scoring of nominations and ranking of applicants.

  • MODERATE PRIORITY: An area lacking in some aspect of food supply veterinary services. Justified by the absence of, or insufficient access to, veterinary services needed for basic animal health, animal well-being, production profitability, food safety, or public health.
  • HIGH PRIORITY: An area lacking sufficient access to food supply veterinary services. Justified by meeting the criteria for Moderate Priority status plus any additional concerns relating to food supply veterinary medicine and/or public health. Examples include areas with especially large census of food animals in comparison to available veterinary services or special animal or public health threats unique to the area e.g., recent or ongoing disease outbreak of high consequence, or reportable, endemic animal and zoonotic diseases.
  • CRITICAL PRIORITY: An area severely lacking in some aspect of food supply or public health-related veterinary services. Justified by meeting the criteria for moderate and/or high priority status plus any additional serious concerns relating to the roles food supply veterinarians play in protecting animal and public health. Examples include areas with especially high potential for natural disasters or incursion of foreign animal disease e.g., high through-put international animal importation sites or proximity to international borders where wildlife and food animal species readily cross.

For all priority classifications the SAHO is invited to make a unique case based on other situation-specific risk criteria in order to justify the prioritization.


Only one shortage type can be designated per nomination. Shortage types are classified based on percent FTE and practice type. For all shortage types, the personal residence of the veterinarian and the address of the practice employing the veterinarian are not required to fall within the geographic bounds of the shortage situation.


The location may be anywhere so long as the veterinary service shortage to be mitigated is consistent with the definition of "practice of food supply veterinary medicine". A minimum of 80% (32 hours per week) commitment, in part, recognizes the fact that occasionally food animal veterinary practitioners are expected to meet the needs of other veterinary service sectors. These nominations are intended for shortage situations where the nominator believes the veterinarian can operate profitably by committing 80-100% time to food animal medicine activities based on the client base and other socio-economic factors impacting viability of veterinary practices in the area.


The location must be in an area satisfying the definition of "rural area". A minimum of 30% commitment (12 hours per week) in a rural shortage situation recognizes that some remote or economically depressed rural areas need food animal veterinary services but are unable to support a practitioner predominantly serving the food animal sector, yet the need is still great. These nominations are intended for shortage situations where the nominator believes the veterinarian can operate profitably committing at least 30% time to food animal medicine activities based on the client base and other socio-economic factors impacting viability of veterinary practices in the area. It is expected that a veterinarian may provide veterinary services to other veterinary sectors (e.g., companion animals) as a means of achieving financial viability.

This is a broad nomination category comprised of many types of specialized veterinary training and employment areas relating to food supply and public health veterinary workforce capacity and capability. These positions are typically located in city, county, state or federal governments and institutions of higher education. Examples are university faculty, staff or resident; veterinary laboratory diagnostician; State Veterinarian or Epidemiologist; County Public Health Official; USDA meat inspector or Area Veterinarian in Charge; and Federal Veterinary Medical Officer (VMO). A minimum of 49% (19.6 hours per week) commitment recognizes that some public practice employment opportunities are part-time. Type III awards are limited to 10% of total nominations and/or available funds.


Must serve and may serve species/species type are designated for Type I and II shortage areas. Select as many as may apply; however, a species/species type should fall under only one category.

  • Must serve species or species type are those animals a veterinarian MUST be prepared, willing, and committed to provide services for in order to mitigate the shortage situation.
  • May serve species or species type are those animals a veterinarian MAY provide services for in order to meet the required percent FTE. This recognizes that not all food animal species require the same level of services year round and a veterinarian may need the flexibility to provide services to other species during the "off season" to meet their percent FTE. Only a minor percentage of time can be devoted to these species.

Position, employer and specialty/discipline are designated for Type III shortage areas. Only one position may be listed per type III nomination. Select as many specialties/disciplines that may apply to that position.

  • Public health, food safety and epidemiology are listed as the primary disciplines supported by Type III shortage area positions. If the position does not fit into any of the specialties/disciplines listed, or an additional specialty/discipline is required, other should be selected and the specialty/discipline filled in.


This section is optional. The shortage type selected designates the minimum time requirement. However, if more than the minimum is expected for mitigating the shortage area, the percent FTE must be filled in. If this field is left blank, the minimum requirement will apply.


For all questions, nominators are strongly encouraged to present and cite verifiable quantitative and qualitative evidentiary information wherever possible. Sites such as AVMA's Food Supply Veterinary Medicine website provide workforce data while USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service website has agricultural animal census, production and sales data. State Departments of Agriculture or State colleges and universities may also have validated current information. NIFA recommends that nominators consult with officials or other stakeholders in a potential shortage area to verify a genuine need of additional veterinary services, especially if a shortage area will be carried over from one year to the next.

1. Importance and objectives of a veterinarian serving this shortage area.

Clearly state overarching and/or specific objectives the State hopes to achieve by incentivizing a veterinarian to serve a nominated situation and measure(s) awardees and NIFA could use to assess success.

2. Activities of a veterinarian mitigating this shortage situation.
State the principle professional activities to be conducted to achieve the objectives described in question 1.

3. Past efforts to recruit and retain a veterinarian in the shortage situation.

Explain any prior efforts to mitigate this veterinary service shortage and prospects for recruiting veterinarian(s) in the future.

4. Risk of this veterinarian position not being secured or retained.

Explain the consequences of not addressing this veterinary shortage situation.


Two boxes must checked. One provides assurance that the nominator understands the process while the other provides assurance that the shortage situation is bona fide. It is important to avoid placing a VMLRP awardee where sufficient veterinary coverage already exists and/or where undue competition could lead to insufficient clientele demand to support either the awardee or the veterinary practice originally serving the area.

The contact information provided must be that of the person nominating the shortage area and providing the affirmations.


The Nomination form Instructions document (found below) provides  a series of screen shots for preparing, submitting and saving the fillable PDF VMLRP Shortage nomination form.

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