Application period opens for loan repayment program and a scrapie quarantine order

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

February 2020

Russian expert shares ASF advice in Iowa

Ilia Zubtsov speaking about ASF prevention in Russia

What can we learn from Russia's experience with African Swine Fever?

Farmers are the last buffer to prevent disease from entering their farm. A technical specialist who works with swine in Russia spoke about this reality and the precautions and reactions the industry has exercised in light of ASF in his country. He spoke at the 2020 Iowa Pork Congress and shared key ideas producers in America need to utilize against this disease.

Here is a Farm Journal summary of his top five points:

  1. Protect your farm.
  2. Build a culture of transparency.
  3. Adopt regionalization and compartmentalization measures.
  4. Get meat out of the food chain.
  5. Listen and learn.

Read a detailed breakdown of each point in this Farm Journal PORK article.

Keep reading...

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) has posted available Shortage Situation Areas across the country and opened the application period until April 2, 2020.

The shortage situation area map displays available areas where veterinarians can apply. Visit the VMLRP Applicants page for details on how to apply.

The VMLRP pays up to $25,000 each year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve in a designated veterinarian shortage situation for a period of three years.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the mean debt of a new veterinarian has increased by an average of more than $5,000 each year for nearly two decades. This debt makes it increasingly difficult for rural, food animal practices to competitively recruit and retain qualified veterinarians. The VMLRP offers a solution by incentivizing service in designated shortage areas by paying off a portion of qualified loans.

Contact Dr. Courtney Wheeler at or 651-201-6800 if you have questions about the Minnesota opportunities.

Pennsylvania issues scrapie quarantine order

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recently issued an Interstate/International Scrapie Quarantine Order. The order impacts the importation of ovine and caprine animals into Pennsylvania and will become effective, and therefore be enforced, as of May 1, 2020.

The Quarantine Order replaces the 2006 Order and mandates official individual identification for all ovine and caprine animals being imported into the state. Those animals must also be accompanied by a valid interstate health certificate or, if traveling in slaughter channel, a valid owner-shipper statement. If not properly identified, they shall either be issued a slaughter-only tag upon arrival or returned to farm of origin for tagging prior to offload and commingling.

New Requirements for Submitting Samples for EIA Testing

USDA APHIS Veterinary Services (VS) has updated its guidance related to Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) laboratory testing.

National Accreditation Number Required

Approved EIA laboratories are required to accept samples only from Category II veterinarians authorized to perform accredited duties in the state in which samples were obtained. Veterinarians must list their national accreditation number on every EIA submission form.

Three ways to lookup your national accreditation number:

  1. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service "Look Up Tool" to check accreditation status.
  2. Call your area office. Lisa Liddell (651) 234-5683
  3. Create an account with Veterinary Services Process Streamlining (VSPS).

Updated Submission Forms

There is a new requirement to use only USDA approved forms for sample submission. The electronic form (VS 10-11) currently available on VSPS and GVL is approved. New paper forms are available and can be ordered through the USDA area office by following this link for supplies of paper VS 10-11s.

Forms dated prior to February 2018 will be accepted until April 15, 2020.

When completing the form, a complete written description of the animal is required; tattoos, brands, microchips, whorls and scars must all be recorded. Leave no fields blank on the form, instead use “NONE” if no markings are present. Field #5 on the VS 10-11, (location of animal) should reflect the current home premises of equine: ranch/farm/stable/market and field #6 should reflect the county of home premises of equine.

Confirmatory Testing

Laboratories must refer all non-negative test samples to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for confirmatory testing. This may delay results up to 5 days; please modify your client’s expectations and plan accordingly.

For general questions please contact the Minnesota USDA-APHIS VS area office at 651-234-5680 or

About our Board

Everything you need to know about our Board (members, meetings and minutes) is available on our website: Save the bookmark and check back often to find:

  • An audio recording of the most recent quarterly meeting.
  • An archive of meeting minutes from the past few years.
  • The most recent agenda for the next quarterly meeting.
  • A list of current Board members.