USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will host two webinars, Feb. 17 and Feb 25, 1-2:30 p.m. EST to seek public comment and input regarding the new Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP).

The Veterinary Services Grant Program is authorized by Section 7104 of the 2014 Farm Bill and received a first-time appropriation of $2.5 million in the FY16 Federal budget. NIFA will be developing and implementing the VSGP over the next several months. NIFA anticipates releasing the first Request for Applications for this program in April 2016 and announcing the first grants awarded under this program by Sept. 30, 2016.

Broad eligibility includes for-profit or non-profit entities, or individual veterinarians operating clinics in rural veterinarian shortage situations, as well as institutions carrying out programs or activities to relieve veterinarian shortage situations.

The Veterinary Services Grant Program is intended to relieve veterinarian shortage situations and support veterinary services in the United States. Grants will be made available on a competitive basis to qualified entities to develop, implement and sustain veterinary services through education, training, recruitment, placement, and retention of veterinarians and veterinary students. Grants will also be awarded to establish, equip, or expand veterinary practices in underserved areas.

Any U.S. citizen interested in the program may submit written comments, suggestions, or questions about the VSGP at www.nifa.usda.gov/vsgp. Submissions will be accepted beginning Feb. 17 through 5 p.m. EST, Feb. 29. A link on that page for submitting comments will become live on Feb. 17.

Those attending the webinar may offer brief (2 min. max) oral comments or ask questions. A transcript of each listening session and copies of materials presented will be made available here. If one is unable to connect to the webinar or via telephone on Feb. 17, try again on Feb. 25.

Webinar Schedules:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 1-2:30 p.m. EST

Webinar: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/r1o9d3vxe12/ Audio:  1-877-369-5243  Access Code: 0450284#

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 1-2:30 p.m. EST

Webinar: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/r1o9d3vxe12/ Audio:  1-877-369-5243  Access Code: 0532084#