VMLRP Nomination and Designation of Veterinary Shortage Situations

The following information is a step-by-step guide to preparing and submitting a shortage situation nomination to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program.

All State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs) and appropriate Federal Animal Health Officials (FAHOs; for federal lands allocation) are encouraged to submit up to the maximum number of shortage nominations they are allocated. Please be sure to review the Federal Register Notice (FRN) carefully before nominating an area. NIFA strongly encourages SAHOs to involve animal health experts and stakeholders in their state in the designation and prioritization of shortage nominations. Some SAHOs have created committees or workgroups to aide them in this process.

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. Therefore, it is important for the nominator to be clear when describing the activities of the veterinarian and to ensure that the activities described are consistent with the species to be served as identified on the first page of the form.


The VMLRP Allocation Table contains the maximum number of allocations per State per year. If a nomination is carried over from one year to the next, the total number of new and carry-over nominations cannot exceed the maximum number allocated. An explanation of the rationale used to create the allocation table is described in the Allocation Rationale document.

Guidance Specifying Veterinarian Shortage Situations Eligible For Nomination

The National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA, as amended) does not identify any areas of veterinary practice as ineligible. However, it does specify that priority should be given to food animal medicine shortage situations, and consideration should be given to specialty areas such as public health, epidemiology, and food safety. Accordingly, all nominated veterinary shortage situations will be considered eligible for submission but competitiveness of nominations will reflect Congressional intent. NIFA anticipates that the most competitive nominations will be those directly addressing food supply veterinary medicine shortage situations.

Nomination Form

The Nomination Form Instructions provide detailed instructions for submitting the form. Information provided by nominators should be consistent among all sections of the form. Additionally, nominations should be distinguishable from one another i.e., justifications and statistics supporting a nomination should be specific to the area nominated and not necessarily applicable to all areas nominated. Each section of the form is described in detail by clicking on each section below or by navigating to the VMLRP Veterinarian Shortage Situation Nomination Form webpage for all descriptions.

  1. Location of Veterinary Shortage
  2. Overall Priority of Shortage
  3. Type of Shortage
  4. Species & Discipline designations
  5. FTE Designation beyond minimum
  6. Short answer questions
  7. Affirmations & Contact Information

Shortage Situation nomination webinar

Please reference the 2019 SAHO Shortage Situation Nomination Webinar for additional information.


Nominations will be reviewed and scored by a panel of external experts. Criteria used by the review panel and NIFA for certifying a veterinary shortage situation will be consistent with the information requested in the shortage nomination form. NIFA understands that defining the risk landscape associated with shortages of veterinary services throughout a state is a process that may require consideration of many qualitative and quantitative factors. All nominations receiving a score of 70 or better and receiving a simple majority vote will be recommended for designation of a shortage situation. The method used for awarding points can be found on the VMLRP Shortage Nomination Review Process webpage.

Contact Information

For further information contact: VMLRP.