Thank you TE Sponsors for your generous donation to this scholarship program. This scholarship will greatly aid me during my time as a DVM student by helping give me financial peace of mind and focus on my school work. Thank you to the TE Board and Committee for working hard to make this scholarship opportunity possible.
At this time, my career goals branch down two distinct paths within the field of veterinary medicine. The first of these, owning a mixed animal veterinary clinic, is a more traditional approach to veterinary medicine and stems from my experience growing up on a beef cattle farm. As of this year, the region of Southeast Alabama I am from is listed by NIFA as a location of veterinary shortage. This region of Alabama contains 3,967 beef, hog, poultry, small ruminant, and dairy farms. Particularly, cow calf operations are prominent in this area and help to provide cattle to feedlots out West. While 51 veterinarians practice in this area, only 4 work with large animals. This is an under served area of Alabama, lacking sufficient farm animal veterinary care, and I would like to help the producers by providing that service. A mixed animal practice would work well in this area, allowing me to provide veterinary service to ag producers and to pets of rural clients in order to ensure financial security. The second path is entering the poultry industry as a broiler veterinarian. In 2018, the value of the broilers produced in Alabama was $3.3 billion, making broiler production a prominent economical industry in Alabama. I would likely pursue post-DVM training, such as a Masters of Avian Medicine, to ensure I would be properly trained in poultry medicine. As a poultry veterinarian for a broiler company, I would be responsible for formulating and monitoring preventative medication, vaccination, biosecurity, welfare, and sanitation programs. This is an important role, especially as the broiler industry is shifting to antibiotic-free production. This introduces some obstacles, especially with enteric diseases, which challenges the efficiency, sustainability, and food safety of the broiler industry. Ultimately, either serving producers Southeast Alabama as a mixed practice veterinarian or as a broiler veterinarian, I will serve to improve animal agriculture in my future career.