I really want to thank the Targeting Excellence sponsors, board, and committee! Receiving this scholarship means so much to me, especially during these unprecedented times. I am really looking forward to working in the agricultural industry after my graduation next year. Thank you all again!
Eventually, I plan to open a large animal practice in an underserved area, making it easier for farmers to access veterinary care. My interest is in working with family-run farms to improve herd health. During the summers when I worked at the cow-calf ranch in Montana, I gained a huge appreciation for the trials and limitations that they face. Many practices that can help improve herd health and productivity are simply unattainable for farms that are shorthanded and have limited funds. I am interested in working with farms individually to come up with methods that are attainable for their specific production system. Unfortunately, accepting a large animal job in a rural area may not be financially feasible due to my increasing debt. In 2018, the USDA approved 187 applications from areas that were requesting to be included in the Veterinary Service Shortage Situations Program. The majority of these were rural areas underserved by large animal veterinarians, meaning that food animal producers are unable to find proper veterinary care for their animals. For dairy producers, this can mean sending valuable cows to market several lactations before they otherwise would have needed to. Because of their large student debt, many new veterinarians who would like to practice large animal medicine are discouraged from doing so due to the financial difficulty of taking a lower paying job often associated with rural, underserved areas. My hope is that when I graduate I will be able to choose a position based on how well it will fit the above goals without being limited by the financial concerns accompanying an extensive debt load. Because any scholarships that I receive will significantly enhance my ability to do this, I greatly appreciate any financial assistance that I receive.