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Factors affecting use of veterinarians by small-scale food animal operations

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  • 1 Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, Veterinary Services, APHIS, USDA, 2150 Centre Ave, Building B, Fort Collins, CO 80526.
  • | 2 Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 3 Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, Veterinary Services, APHIS, USDA, 2150 Centre Ave, Building B, Fort Collins, CO 80526.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 5 Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, Veterinary Services, APHIS, USDA, 2150 Centre Ave, Building B, Fort Collins, CO 80526.
  • | 6 Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, Veterinary Services, APHIS, USDA, 2150 Centre Ave, Building B, Fort Collins, CO 80526.
  • | 7 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To identify factors associated with use of a veterinarian by small-scale food animal operations.

Design—Cross-sectional descriptive survey.

Sample—16,000 small-scale farm or ranch operations in all 50 states.

Procedures—Surveys were conducted via mail or telephone during 2011 for small-scale operations (gross annual agricultural sales between $10,000 and $499,999) in which an animal or animal product comprised the highest percentage of annual sales.

Results—8,186 (51.2%) operations responded to the survey; 7,849 surveys met the inclusion criteria. For 6,511 (83.0%) operations, beef cattle were the primary animal species. An estimated 82.1% of operations (95% confidence interval [CI], 81.1% to 83.0%) had a veterinarian available ≤ 29 miles away; 1.4% (95% CI, 1.2% to 1.7%) did not have a veterinarian available within 100 miles of the operation. Operations for which the nearest veterinarian was ≥ 100 miles away or for which a veterinarian was not available were located in 40 US states. Overall, 61.7% of operations (95% CI, 60.6% to 62.9%) had used a veterinarian during the 12 months prior to the survey. Producers with college degrees were significantly more likely to use a veterinarian (675%) versus those who did not complete high school (52.9%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicated most small-scale operations had adequate access to veterinarians during 2011, but there seemed to be localized shortages of veterinarians in many states.

Abstract

Objective—To identify factors associated with use of a veterinarian by small-scale food animal operations.

Design—Cross-sectional descriptive survey.

Sample—16,000 small-scale farm or ranch operations in all 50 states.

Procedures—Surveys were conducted via mail or telephone during 2011 for small-scale operations (gross annual agricultural sales between $10,000 and $499,999) in which an animal or animal product comprised the highest percentage of annual sales.

Results—8,186 (51.2%) operations responded to the survey; 7,849 surveys met the inclusion criteria. For 6,511 (83.0%) operations, beef cattle were the primary animal species. An estimated 82.1% of operations (95% confidence interval [CI], 81.1% to 83.0%) had a veterinarian available ≤ 29 miles away; 1.4% (95% CI, 1.2% to 1.7%) did not have a veterinarian available within 100 miles of the operation. Operations for which the nearest veterinarian was ≥ 100 miles away or for which a veterinarian was not available were located in 40 US states. Overall, 61.7% of operations (95% CI, 60.6% to 62.9%) had used a veterinarian during the 12 months prior to the survey. Producers with college degrees were significantly more likely to use a veterinarian (675%) versus those who did not complete high school (52.9%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicated most small-scale operations had adequate access to veterinarians during 2011, but there seemed to be localized shortages of veterinarians in many states.

Contributor Notes

This manuscript represents a portion of a thesis submitted by Dr. Beam to the Academic Faculty of Colorado State University as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Science degree.

Address correspondence to Dr. Beam (andrea.l.beam@aphis.usda.gov).