National Institute of Food and Agriculture announces Veterinary Services Grant Program

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requests applications for the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) for fiscal years 2023 to develop, implement and sustain food and large animal veterinary services and relieve veterinary shortage situations in the United States and U.S. Insular Areas.

Donor Name: National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

State: All States

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline: 03/29/2023

Size of the Grant: $250,000

Grant Duration: 36 months


The goals of the VSGP are to fund accredited schools and organizations in education, extension, and training (EET) for food animal veterinary medicine, and for rural practice enhancement (RPE) for veterinary clinics that provide services in veterinary shortage situations.

Purpose and Priorities

Veterinarians play significant roles in assuring food and fiber animal health and wellbeing, food safety and security, public health, and producer profitability, especially in rural areas of the United States where most livestock production occurs. The VSGP, Assistance Listing 10.336 and its companion Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) authorized by the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA), were born out of concerns that long-term maldistributions in the veterinary workforce have left some rural communities with insufficient access to food/large animal veterinary services. By appropriating funds in FY 2005 to implement the NVMSA (previously authorized in 2003), Congress sought to lessen one cause of this workforce problem, i.e., the tremendous educational debt burden of graduating veterinarians. This incentive program helped reduce educational debt of veterinarians in exchange for service in designated veterinary shortage areas.

Educational activities should include broad types of learning and engagement (e.g., hands-on learning, experiential, and innovative methods of teaching and disseminating information), emphasize leadership and development of interpersonal and team skills, and include virtual options, as appropriate.

To complement the work being done under the VMLRP, and to address this veterinary shortage problem, the VSGP is designed to support two types of grants.

  • Education, extension, and training (EET) grants are initiatives that will enable veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and veterinary technician students to gain specialized skills through formal coursework, clinical training, and practice enhancement to mitigate veterinary service shortages more effectively in the United States and Insular Areas.
  • Rural practice enhancement (RPE) grants ultimately bolster the capacity of private clinics that provide food/large animal veterinary services in designated veterinarian shortage situations.

Grants will be made available on a competitive basis to:

  • Establish or expand accredited veterinary education programs, veterinary residency and fellowship programs, or veterinary internship and externship programs carried out in coordination with accredited colleges of veterinary medicine.
  • Provide continuing education and extension, including veterinary telemedicine and other distance-based education, for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other health professionals needed to strengthen veterinary programs and enhance food safety and public health,
  • Cover travel and living expenses of veterinary students, veterinary interns, externs, fellows, and residents, and veterinary technician students attending training programs in food safety, public health, or food animal medicine.
  • To expose students in grades 11 and 12 to education and career opportunities in food animal medicine.
  • Expand or enhance private practice capabilities, services, and resources.

The VSGP is aligned with the following USDA Strategic Goals:

  • Strategic Goal 2: Ensure America’s Agriculture System is Equitable, Resilient, and Prosperous;
  • Strategic Goal 4: Provide All Americans Safe and Nutritious Food;
  • Strategic Goal 5: Expand Opportunities for Economic Development and Improve Quality of Life in Rural and Tribal Communities

Funding Information

  • Education, Extension and Training (EET) Grants
    • Maximum Award Amount: $250,000
    • Grant Duration: 36 Months
  • Rural Practice Enhancement (RPE) Grants
    • Maximum Award Amount: $125,000
    • Grant Duration: 36 Months (require a three-year service commitment)

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Requirements Applicants for the VSGP must meet all the requirements cited in this RFA. Failure to meet the eligibility criteria by the application deadline may result in exclusion from consideration or preclude NIFA from making an award. For those new to Federal financial assistance, NIFA’s Grants Overview provides highly recommended information about grants and other resources to help understand the Federal awards process. Applications may only be submitted by the entities listed below if they carry out programs or activities that will: substantially relieve veterinary shortage situations; and support or facilitate private veterinary practices engaged in the care of food animals and address food safety and public health concerns for the community

Table 4: Eligible Applicants for EET

  • State, national, allied, regional, or professional food animal veterinary organization recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association,
  • College or school of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association,
  • University research foundation or veterinary medical foundation,
  • Department of veterinary science or department of comparative medicine accredited by the U.S. Department of Education,
  • State agricultural experiment station or Research Farm (1890 institutions),
  • State, local, or tribal government agency.

Table 5: Eligible Applicants for RPE

  • For-profit or non-profit entity located in the United States, such as a veterinary clinic or hospital, that provides mixed/large animal veterinary services in a rural area, as defined in section 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)), within a current VMLRP shortage area. FY2023 shortage situation areas are found here.
  • Clinic or hospital that employs a current VMLRP awardee from any qualifying year (i.e., those with a current service obligation at the time of this application) and applies with reference to the single shortage area to which they are obligated to serve;
  • RPE awards are made to clinics, not individuals. Therefore, only a clinic, not an individual practitioner, may apply for and be awarded an RPE grant.

For more information, visit