Keeping poultry safe at events and exhibitions, plus a call for communities in need of a veterinarian

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

October 2022

Does your corner of the state need a veterinarian?

Map of Minnesota with thumbtack

Let us know if you have a shortage of veterinarians, and the USDA could offer a student loan repayment incentive in your area.

It's back! The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is on the hunt for veterinary shortage situations across the U.S. We've had good support for this program in the past and this year Minnesota has up to seven spots to fill.

Here's how it works. Anyone (veterinarians, technicians, farmers) can suggest a geographic location in Minnesota that's missing a much needed veterinarian. All you have to do is contact Dr. Courtney Wheeler at the Board of Animal Health and let her know which area of the state needs to be nominated and why. Call or email Dr. Wheeler at 651-201-6800 or Nominations are due Monday, November 14.

Then in a few months NIFA reviews all the nominations and announces the qualifying shortage areas. If a nomination is approved by NIFA, veterinarians can apply to work there in exchange for partial student loan repayment via the USDA’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP).

The VMLRP incentivizes service in these designated shortage areas and pays off a portion of qualified loans. Veterinarians selected for the program must commit to at least three years in rural practice to receive $25,000 annually in loan repayment.

Visit the VMLRP website to learn more about the entire process.

Keep reading...

Board receives federal grant to support research of white-tailed deer susceptibility to chronic wasting disease

White-tailed deer producers are encouraged to enroll their deer in a study to determine future herd breeding values and predict if offspring might be less susceptible to CWD. The Board of Animal Health was awarded funding from the USDA to pay for the testing of each sample submitted to this study. Producers will still be responsible for purchasing tissue tubes, collecting samples, and shipping them to the North American Deer Registry (NADR). Please refer to NADR’s website for additional information on collection and shipment procedures.

The NADR started in 2007 as a non profit organization collaborating with the Texas Deer Association and North American Deer Farmers Association. The NADR does genetic testing looking at thousands of points within the genetic code of farmed white-tailed deer. The results from the test are used to score each deer with a genomically-estimated breeding value, which can be used to reduce a herd's susceptibility to CWD.

Producers do not need to be members of NADR to participate. However, there are some other requirements:

  • All white-tailed deer enrolled in this study that die or are killed for any reason must submit samples to the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for CWD testing. If participants sell an enrolled deer, the new owner will need to submit samples from this animal for CWD testing when it dies or is killed.
  • Participants must give NADR permission to share the results with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health in an anonymized report.
  • Participants can submit a sample from any white-tailed deer in their herd for testing.

If you're a farmed white-tailed deer producer and are interested in participating, please email us at or call 651-201-6804. 


Do you own or work with poultry?

Give us less than 60 minutes on Wednesday, October 19 to introduce you to some of the statewide team at the ready to answer your calls or questions.

Meet a Farm Advocate from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, new leadership at the Board of Animal Health and Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, and get to know Minnesota’s ag mental health specialists.

These folks can relate to how things are going on the farm, the stress of HPAI in the poultry world, and offer advice on business decisions.

Join the Zoom webinar at 12 p.m. next Wednesday, October 19:

HPAI prevention for poultry events

While the summer show season has come and gone, there are still a few poultry events on the calendar in the coming months. Whether an event is big or small the managers or organizers should have a plan in place to prevent the potential for HPAI to spread and to know what to do if it looks like birds are infected.

The Board has a short flyer with common questions and answers for event organizers, including:

  • What are the signs of HPAI?
  • What should I do if I see a bird at the event with signs of HPAI?
  • What kind of biosecurity can I implement at the event?
  • What kind of precautions should event attendees take when going home?

Find the answers on the full HPAI Guidance for Poultry Events flyer.

Fourth quarter Board meeting scheduled

The next quarterly meeting of the Board of Animal Health is scheduled for Tuesday, December 6, 2022, both in person at the Oliver Kelley Farm (15788 Kelly Farm Rd NW, Elk River, MN 55330) and on Microsoft Teams.

Visit the Board website for updates to the agenda and to meet our Board members.