Solicitation of Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), 77008-77015 [2012-31407]

Download as PDF 77008 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices owned lands, including improvements, is hereby vested in the Secretary of the Interior, to be held in trust for the Yurok Tribe. The lands are described as follows: Six Rivers National Forest, Northern Redwood Purchase Unit, California mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with Humboldt Meridian, Del Norte County, California T.13 N., R. 1 E. Sec. 3, Lot 3 excepting parcel 3C, Lot 4 excepting parcel 4D, SW1/4NW1/ 4 excepting parcel E, SE1/4NW1/4 excepting parcel F, NE1/4SW1/4 excepting parcel J, NW1/4SE1/4 excepting parcel J, SW1/4SE1/4 excepting parcel K, all as shown on the Bureau of Land Management plat of the resurvey of T.13 N., R.1 E., H.M., approved June 24, 1971; Sec. 10, Lot 1 excepting parcel 1C, Lot 6 excepting parcel 6D, NW1/4NE1/ 4 excepting parcel B, SE1/4NE1/4 excepting parcel E, NE1/4SE1/4 excepting parcel F, all as shown on the Bureau of Land Management plat of the resurvey of T.13 N., R.1 E., H.M., approved June 24, 1971, and (1) excepting from lands in Sec. 10, a piece or parcel of land conveyed to the State of California by Willis C. Ward, et al., by deed dated June 18, 1934, and recorded August 21, 1935, on pages 92 to 95 of Book 54 of Deeds, Records of Del Norte County, California, said piece or parcel of land being fully described in said deed, and (2) also excepting those lands in Sec. 10 conveyed to the County of Del Norte by the United States of America by deed dated November 3, 1970, and recorded January 3, 1971, on pages 7 to 10 of Book 154 of Official Records of Del Norte County, California, said lands being fully described in said deed, and (3) also together with that parcel in Lot 6 of Sec. 10 conveyed to the United States of America by the County of Del Norte, by deed dated August 10, 1970, and recorded August 25, 1970, on pages 374 to 375 of Book 151 of Official Records of Del Norte County, California, said parcel being fully described in said deed; Sec. 15, Portion of Lot 2 lying southerly of the northern boundary and the easterly prolongation of the northern boundary of parcels 2A and B, excepting parcel 2A, Lot 3 excepting parcel 3C, and Lot 6 excepting parcel 6G, all as shown on the Bureau of Land Management plat of the resurvey of T.13 N., R.1 E., H.M., approved June 24, 1971. T.13 N., R.2 E. VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 Sec. 19, Lot 1 and Lot 5; Sec. 20, W1/2SW1/4NW1/4 T. 14 N., R. 1 E. That portion of Lot 6, Sec. 28, as per map titles Record of Survey for Six Rivers National Forest, recorded in Book 10 of Maps at Pages 154 to 157 in the office of Del Norte County Recorder, State of California, described as follows: Beginning at a monument marked AP–1 distant N 89° 14′42″W 350.00 feet from the Center 1⁄4 corner of said Sec. 28, North 117.17 feet to a monument marked AP–2, N 40°00′00″ W 507.49 feet to a monument marked AP–3, N 47°04′17″ W 263.59 feet to a monument marked AP–4, N 04°15′38″ E 367.17 feet to a monument marked AP–5, N 89°14′42″ W 456.56 feet to a monument marked AP–6, S 04°15′43″ W 426.05 feet along the N–S Centerline of the NW1⁄4, Sec. 28, to a monument marked AP–7, Thence along a non-tangent curve concave southwesterly with a radius of 2040 feet through a central angle of 04°32′48″ a distance of 161.89 feet (chord length) to a monument marked M29R, S 22°44′12E 516.87 feet along the easterly right of way line for Highway 101 to a monument marked AP–9, S 89 14′42″E 711.98 feet along the south line of the NW1/4,Sec. 28, to the point of beginning, EXCEPT that parcel lying east of the N– S Centerline of the NW 1⁄4, Sec. 28, between AP–6 and AP–7, conveyed to Freda D. Davidson by the United States of America by deed dated April 18, 1991, and recorded May 1, 1991, on pages 512 to 514 of Book 373 of Official Records of Del Norte County, California, said land being further described on the Record of Survey filed in Book 10 of Maps at Page 199 in the office of Del Norte County Recorder, State of California. And including: correction deed recorded June 5, 1991, on pages 811 and 812 of Book 374 of the Official Records of Del Norte County, California. The correction deed changed the location of the conveyance parcel from being in a portion of the NW1/4 NW1/4 Section 28, T14N R1E HM to a portion of Lot 6 in the same section, township and range. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: December 19, 2012. Calvin N. Joyner, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest Service. [FR Doc. 2012–31342 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture Solicitation of Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. ACTION: Notice and solicitation for nominations. AGENCY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is soliciting nominations of veterinary service shortage situations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) for fiscal year (FY) 2013, as authorized under the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA), 7 U.S.C. 3151a. This notice initiates a 60-day nomination period and prescribes the procedures and criteria to be used by State, Insular Area, DC and Federal Lands to nominate veterinary shortage situations. Each year all eligible nominating entities may submit nominations, up to the maximum indicated for each entity in this notice. NIFA is conducting this solicitation of veterinary shortage situation nominations under a previously approved information collection (OMB Control Number 0524– 0046). DATES: Shortage situation nominations, both new and carry over, must be submitted on or before March 1, 2013. ADDRESSES: Submissions must be made by email at vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Sherman; National Program Leader, Veterinary Science; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; STOP 2220; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW.; Washington, DC 20250–2220; Voice: 202–401–4952; Fax: 202–401–6156; Email: vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background and Purpose A landmark series of three peerreviewed studies published in 2007 in E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), and sponsored by the Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition (www.avma.org/fsvm/recognition.asp), gave considerable attention to the growing shortage of food supply veterinarians, the causes of shortages in this sector, and the consequences to the US food safety infrastructure and to the general public if this trend continues to worsen. Food supply veterinary medicine embraces a broad array of veterinary professional activities, specialties and responsibilities, and is defined as the full range of veterinary medical practices contributing to the production of a safe and wholesome food supply and to animal, human, and environmental health. However, the privately practicing food animal veterinary practitioner population within the US is, numerically, the largest, and arguably the most important single component of the food supply veterinary medical sector. Food animal veterinarians, working closely with livestock producers and State and Federal officials, constitute the first line of defense against spread of endemic and zoonotic diseases, introduction of high consequence foreign animal diseases, and other threats to the health and wellbeing of both animals and humans who consume animal products. Among the most alarming findings of the Coalition-sponsored studies was objective confirmation that insufficient numbers of veterinary students are selecting food supply veterinary medical careers. This development has led both to current shortages and to projections for worsening shortages over the next 10 years. Burdensome educational debt was the leading concern students listed for opting not to choose a career in food animal practice or other food supply veterinary sectors. According to a survey of veterinary medical graduates conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in the spring of 2012, the average educational debt for students graduating from veterinary school is approximately $151,000. Such debt loads incentivize students to select other veterinary careers, such as companion animal medicine, which tend to be more financially lucrative and, therefore, enable students to more quickly repay their outstanding educational loans. Furthermore, when this issue was studied in the Coalition report from the perspective of identifying solutions to this workforce imbalance, panelists were asked to rate 18 different strategies for addressing shortages. Responses from the panelists VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 overwhelmingly showed that student debt repayment and scholarship programs were the most important strategies in addressing future shortages (JAVMA 229:57–69). Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations (5 CFR part 1320) that implement the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection and recordkeeping requirements imposed by the implementation of these guidelines have been approved by OMB Control Number 0524–0046. List of Subjects in Guidelines for Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations I. Preface and Authority II. Nomination of Veterinary Shortage Situations A. General 1. Eligible Shortage Situations 2. Authorized Respondents and Use of Consultation 3. Rationale for Capping Nominations and State Allocation Method 4. State Allocation of Nominations 5. FY 2013 Shortage Situation Nomination Process 6. Submission and Due Date 7. Period Covered 8. Definitions B. Nomination Form and Description of Fields 1. Access to Nomination Form 2. Physical Location of Shortage Area or Position 3. Overall Priority of Shortage 4. Type I Shortage 5. Type II Shortage 6. Type III Shortage 7. Written Response Sections C. NIFA Review of Shortage Situation Nominations 1. Review Panel Composition and Process 2. Review Criteria Guidelines for Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations I. Preface and Authority In January 2003, the National Veterinary Medical Service Act (NVMSA) was passed into law adding section 1415A to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1997 (NARETPA). This law established a new Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (7 U.S.C. 3151a) authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out a program of entering into agreements with veterinarians under which they agree to provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations. In FY 2010, NIFA announced the first funding opportunity for the VMLRP and received 260 applications from which PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77009 NIFA issued 53 awards totaling $5,186,000 to fill veterinary shortage areas in 31 states. In FY 2011, NIFA received 159 applications from which NIFA issued 75 awards totaling $7,251,000 to fill veterinary shortage areas in 35 states. There was a cumulative total of up to $4,500,000 available for awards heading into the FY 2012 funding opportunity. Funding for FY 2013 and future years will be based on annual appropriations and balances, if any, carried forward from prior years, and may vary from year to year. Section 7105 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110–246, (FCEA) amended section 1415A to revise the determination of veterinarian shortage situations to consider (1) geographical areas that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians; and (2) areas of veterinary practice that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as food animal medicine, public health, epidemiology, and food safety. This section also added that priority should be given to agreements with veterinarians for the practice of food animal medicine in veterinarian shortage situations. NARETPA section 1415A requires the Secretary, when determining the amount of repayment for a year of service by a veterinarian to consider the ability of USDA to maximize the number of agreements from the amounts appropriated and to provide an incentive to serve in veterinary service shortage areas with the greatest need. The Secretary delegated the authority to carry out this program to NIFA pursuant to 7 CFR § 2.66(a)(141). Pursuant to the requirements enacted in the NVMSA of 2004 (as revised), and the implementing regulation for this Act, Part 3431 Subpart A of the VMLRP Final Rule [75 FR 20239–20248], NIFA hereby implements guidelines for authorized State Animal Health Officials (SAHO) to nominate veterinary shortage situations for the FY 2013 program cycle: II. Nomination of Veterinary Shortage Situations A. General 1. Eligible Shortage Situations Section 1415A of NARETPA, as amended and revised by Section 7105 of FCEA directs determination of veterinarian shortage situations to consider (1) geographical areas that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians; and (2) areas of veterinary practice that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as food animal medicine, public health, E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 77010 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with epidemiology, and food safety. This section also added that priority should be given to agreements with veterinarians for the practice of food animal medicine in veterinarian shortage situations. While the NVMSA (as amended) specifies priority be given to food animal medicine shortage situations, and that consideration also be given to specialty areas such as public health, epidemiology and food safety, the Act does not identify any areas of veterinary practice as ineligible. Accordingly, all nominated veterinary shortage situations will be considered eligible for submission. However, the competitiveness of submitted nominations, upon evaluation by the external review panel convened by NIFA, will reflect the intent of Congress that priority be given to certain types of veterinary service shortage situations. NIFA therefore anticipates that the most competitive nominations will be those directly addressing food supply veterinary medicine shortage situations. NIFA has adopted definitions of the practice of veterinary medicine and the practice of food supply medicine that are broadly inclusive of the critical roles veterinarians serve in both public practice and private practice situations. Nominations describing either public or private practice veterinary shortage situations will therefore be eligible for submission. However, NIFA interprets that Congressional intent is to give priority to the private practice of food animal medicine. NIFA is grateful to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and other stakeholders for their recommendations regarding the appropriate balance of program emphasis on public and private practice shortage situations. NIFA will seek to achieve a final distribution of approximately 90 percent of nominations (and eventual agreements) that are geographic, private practice, food animal veterinary medicine shortage situations, and approximately 10 percent of nominations that reflect public practice shortage situations. 2. State Respondents and Use of Consultation Respondents on behalf of each State include the chief State Animal Health Official (SAHO), as duly authorized by the Governor or the Governor’s designee in each State. The SAHOs are requested to submit nominations to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov by way of the Veterinarian Shortage Situation Nomination Form (OMB Control Number 0524–0046), which is available VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 in the State Animal Health Officials section on the VMLRP Web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. One form must be submitted for each nominated shortage situation. NIFA strongly encourages the SAHO to involve leading health animal experts in the State in the identification and prioritization of shortage situation nominations. 3. Rationale for Capping Nominations and State Allocation Method In its consideration of fair, transparent and objective approaches to solicitation of shortage area nominations, NIFA evaluated three alternative strategies before deciding on the appropriate strategy. The first option considered was to impose no limits on the number of nominations submitted. The second was to allow each state the same number of nominations. The third (eventually selected) was to differentially cap the number of nominations per state based on defensible and intuitive criteria. The first option, providing no limits to the number of nominations per state, is fair to the extent that each state and insular area has equal opportunity to nominate as many situations as desired. However, funding for the VMLRP is limited (relative to anticipated demand), so allowing potentially high and disproportionate submission rates of nominations could both unnecessarily burden the nominators and the reviewers with a potential avalanche of nominations and dilute highest need situations with lower need situations. Moreover, NIFA believes that the distribution of opportunity under this program (i.e., distribution of mapped shortage situations resulting from the nomination solicitation and review process) should roughly reflect the national distribution of food supply veterinary service demand. By not capping nominations based on some objective criteria, it is likely there would be no correlation between the mapped pattern and density of certified shortage situations and the actual pattern and density of need. This in turn could undermine confidence in the program with Congress, the public, and other stakeholders. The second option, limiting all states and insular areas to the same number of nominations suffers from some of the same disadvantages as option one. It has the benefit of limiting administrative burden on both the SAHO and the nomination review process. However, like option one, there would be no correlation between the mapped pattern of certified shortage situations and the actual pattern of need. For example, Guam and Rhode Island would be allowed to submit the same number of PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 nominations as Texas and Nebraska, despite the large difference in the sizes of their respective animal agriculture industries and rural land areas requiring veterinary service coverage. The third option, to cap the number of nominations in relation to major parameters correlating with veterinary service demand, achieves the goals both of practical control over the administrative burden to the states and NIFA, and of achieving a mapped pattern of certified nominations that approximates the theoretical actual shortage distribution. In addition, this method limits dilution of highest need areas with lower need areas. The disadvantage of this strategy is that there is no validated, unbiased, direct measure of veterinary shortage, and so it is necessary to employ parameters that correlate with the hypothetical cumulative relative need for each state in comparison to other states. In the absence of a validated unbiased direct measure of relative veterinary service need or risk for each state and insular area, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provided NIFA with reliable and public data that correlate with demand for food supply veterinary service. NIFA consulted with NASS and determined that the NASS variables most strongly correlated with state-level food supply veterinary service need are ‘‘Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($)’’ and ‘‘Land Area’’ (acres). The ‘‘Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($)’’ variable broadly predicts veterinary service need in a State because this is a normalized (to cash value) estimate of the extent of (live) animal agriculture in the state. The State ‘‘land area’’ variable predicts veterinary service need because there is positive correlation between state land area, percent of state area classified as rural and the percent of land devoted to actual or potential livestock production. Importantly, land area is also directly correlated with the number of veterinarians needed to provide veterinary services in a state because of the practical limitations relating to the maximum radius of a standard veterinary service area. Due to fuel and other cost factors, the maximum radius a veterinarian operating a mobile veterinary service can cover is approximately 60 miles, which roughly corresponds to two or three contiguous counties of average size. Although these two NASS variables are not perfect predictors of veterinary service demand, NIFA believes they account for a significant proportion of several of the most relevant factors influencing veterinary service need and E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with risk for the purpose of fairly and transparently estimating veterinary service demand. To further ensure fairness and equitability, NIFA is employing these variables in a straightforward and transparent manner that ensures every state and insular area is eligible for at least one nomination and that all States receive an apportionment of nominations, relative to their geographic size and size of agricultural animal industries. Following this rationale, the Secretary is specifying the maximum number of nominations per state in order to (1) Assure distribution of designated shortage areas in a manner generally reflective of the differential overall demand for food supply veterinary services in different states, (2) assure the number of shortage situation nominations submitted fosters emphasis on selection by nominators and applicants of the highest priority need areas, and (3) provide practical and proportional limitations of the administrative burden borne by SAHOs preparing nominations, and by panelists serving on the NIFA nominations review panel. Furthermore, instituting a limit on the number of nominations is consistent with language in the Final Rule stating, ‘‘The solicitation may specify the maximum number of nominations that may be submitted by each State animal health official.’’ 4. State Allocation of Nominations The number of designated shortage situations per state will be limited by NIFA, and this has an impact on the number of new nominations a state may submit each time NIFA solicits shortage nominations. In the 2013 cycle, NIFA is again accepting the number of nominations equivalent to the allowable number of designated shortage areas for each state. All eligible submitting entities will, for the 2013 cycle, have an opportunity to do the following: (1) Retain designated status for any shortage situation successfully designated in 2012 (if there is no change to any information, the nomination will be approved for 2013 without the need for re-review by the merit panel), (2) rescind any nomination officially designated in 2012, and (3) submit new nominations. The total of the number of new nominations plus designated nominations retained (carried over) may not exceed the maximum number of nominations each entity is permitted. Any amendment to an existing shortage nomination is presumed to constitute a significant change. Therefore, an amended nomination must be rescinded and resubmitted to NIFA as a new VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 nomination and it will be evaluated by the 2013 review panel. The maximum number of nominations (and potential designations) will remain the same in 2013 as they were for the previous three years. Thus, all states have the opportunity to re-establish the maximum number of designated shortage situations. Awards from previous years have no bearing on a state’s maximum number of allowable shortage nomination submissions or number of designations for subsequent years. NIFA reserves the right in the future to proportionally adjust the maximum number of designated shortage situations per state to ensure a balance between available funds and the requirement to ensure priority is given to mitigating veterinary shortages corresponding to situations of greatest need. Nomination Allocation tables for FY 2013 are available under the State Animal Health Officials section of the VMLRP web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/ vmlrp. Table I lists ‘‘Special Consideration Areas’’ which include any State or Insular Area not reporting data, and/or reporting less than $1,000,000 in annual Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($), and/or possessing less than 500,000 acres, as reported by NASS. One nomination is allocated to any State or Insular Area classified as a Special Consideration Area. Table II shows how NIFA determined nomination allocation based on quartile ranks of States for two variables broadly correlated with demand for food supply veterinary services: ‘‘Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($)’’ (LPTS) and ‘‘Land Area (acres)’’ (LA). The total number of NIFA- designated shortage situations per state in any given program year is based on the quartile ranking of each state in terms of LPTS and LA. States for which NASS has both LPTS and LA values, and which have at least $1,000,000 LPTS and at least 500,000 acres LA (typically all states plus Puerto Rico), were independently ranked from least to greatest value for each of these two composite variables. The two ranked lists were then divided into quartiles with quartile 1 containing the lowest variable values and quartile 4 containing the highest variable values. Each state then received the number of designated shortage situations corresponding to the number of the quartile in which the state falls. Thus a state that falls in the second quartile for LA and the third quartile for LPTS may submit a maximum of five shortage situation nominations (2 + 3). This transparent computation was made for PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77011 each state thereby giving a range of 2 to 8 shortage situation nominations, contingent upon each state’s quartile ranking for the two variables. The maximum number of designated shortage situations for each State in 2013 is shown in Table III. While Federal Lands are widely dispersed within States and Insular Areas across the country, they constitute a composite total land area over twice the size of Alaska. If the 200-mile limit U.S. coastal waters and associated fishery areas are included, Federal Land total acreage would exceed 1 billion. Both State and Federal Animal Health officials have responsibilities for matters relating to terrestrial and aquatic food animal health on Federal Lands. Interaction between wildlife and domestic livestock, such as sheep and cattle, is particularly common in the plains states where significant portions of Federal lands are leased for grazing. Therefore, both SAHOs and the Chief Federal Animal Health Officer (Deputy Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or designee) may submit nominations to address shortage situations on or related to Federal Lands. NIFA emphasizes that shortage nomination allocation is set to broadly balance the number of designated shortage situations across states prior to the application and award phases of the VMLRP. Awards will be made based strictly on the peer review panels’ assessment of the quality of the match between the knowledge, skills and abilities of the applicant and the attributes of the specific shortage situation applied for, thus no state will be given a preference for placement of awardees. Additionally, unless otherwise specified in the shortage nomination form, each designated shortage situation will be limited to one award. 5. FY 2013 Shortage Situation Nomination Process As described in Section 4 above, all SAHOs will, for the FY 2013 cycle, have an opportunity to do the following: (1) Retain (carry over) designated status for any shortage situation successfully designated in 2012 and not revised, without need for reevaluation by merit review panel, (2) rescind any nomination officially designated in 2012, and (3) submit new nominations. The total number of new nominations and designated nominations retained (carried over) may not exceed the maximum number of shortages each state is allocated. An amendment to an existing shortage nomination constitutes a significant change and therefore must E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 77012 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices be rescinded and resubmitted to NIFA as a new nomination, to be evaluated by the 2013 review panel. The maximum number of nominations (and potential designations) for each state is the same in 2013 as it was in previous years. The following process is the mechanism by which a SAHO should retain or rescind a designated nomination: NIFA will initiate the process by sending an email to each SAHO with a PDF copy of the nomination form of each designated area that went unfilled in FY 2012. If the SAHO wishes to retain (carry over) one or more designated nomination(s), the SAHO shall copy and paste the prior year information (unrevised) into the current year’s nomination form. The SAHO will then email the carry over nomination(s), along with any new nominations, to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov by the published deadline. Both new and retained nominations must be submitted on the Veterinary Shortage Situation Nomination form provided in the State Animal Health Officials section at www.nifa.usda.gov/ vmlrp. 6. Submission and Due Date Shortage situation nominations, both new and carry over, must be submitted on or before March 1, 2013, by email at vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with 7. Period Covered Each designated shortage situation shall be certified and remain certified until it is filled with a VMLRP award or withdrawn by the SAHO. A SAHO may request that NIFA remove a previously certified and designated shortage situation by sending an email to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov. The request should specifically identify the shortage situation the SAHO wishes to withdraw and the reason(s) for its withdrawal. The program manager will review the request, make a determination, and inform the requesting SAHO of the final action taken. When a request for withdrawal of a designated shortage situation leads to its removal from the list of NIFA-designated shortage situations, the withdrawn situation may not be replaced with a new shortage situation nomination until NIFA issues its next solicitation of shortage situation nominations for this program. 8. Definitions For the purpose of implementing the solicitation for veterinary shortage VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 situations, the definitions provided in 7 CFR part 3431 are applicable. B. Nomination Form and Description of Fields 1. Access to Nomination Form The veterinary shortage situation nomination form is available in the State Animal Health Officials section at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. The completed form must be emailed to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov. 2. Physical Location of Shortage Area or Position Following conclusion of the nomination and designation process, NIFA will prepare lists and/or maps that include all designated shortage situations for the current program year. This effort requires a physical location that represents the center of the service area for a geographic shortage or the location of the main office or work address for a public practice and/or specialty practice shortage. For example, if the state seeks to certify a tri-county area as a food animal veterinary service (i.e., Type I) shortage situation, a road intersection approximating the center of the tricounty area would constitute a satisfactory physical location for NIFA’s listing and mapping purposes. By contrast, if the state is identifying ‘‘veterinary diagnostician’’, a Type III nomination, as a shortage situation, then the nominator would complete this field by filling in the address of the location where the diagnostician would work (e.g., State animal disease diagnostic laboratory). 3. Overall Priority of Shortage Congressional intent is for this program to incentivize applicants to ‘‘serve in veterinary service shortage areas with the greatest need.’’ There is therefore the presumption that all areas nominated as shortage situations should be classified as at least ‘‘moderate priority’’ shortages. To assist nomination merit review panelists and award phase peer panelists in scoring shortage nominations and ranking applications from VMLRP applicants, SAHOs are asked to characterize each shortage situation nomination as ‘‘Moderate Priority’’, ‘‘High Priority’’, or ‘‘Critical Priority’’ shortages. Moderate Priority: This shortage prioritization corresponds to an area lacking in some aspect of food supply veterinary services, commensurate with the service percent full-timeequivalency (FTE) specified. Absence of, or insufficient, trained ‘‘eyes and ears’’ of a veterinarian serving a food PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 animal production area is sufficient to constitute moderate priority shortage status. This is because access to veterinary services is necessary for basic animal health, animal well-being, production profitability, and for food safety, and because high consequence disease outbreaks in agricultural animals or natural catastrophes can occur spontaneously anywhere. In such cases, early detection of disease and/or treatment of animals are essential. These activities are the authorized purview of a licensed veterinarian. In addition to the above examples, the SAHO is invited to make a unique case based on other situation-specific risk criteria, for classifying a nominated area as a Moderate Priority shortage. High Priority: This shortage prioritization corresponds to an area lacking sufficient access to food supply veterinary services, commensurate with the service percent FTE specified. High Priority status is justified by meeting the criteria for Moderate Priority status plus any of a variety of additional concerns relating to food supply veterinary medicine and/or public health. For example, the area may exhibit an especially large census of food animals in comparison to available veterinary services. Special animal or public health threats unique to the area, such as a recent history of outbreaks of high consequence, reportable, endemic animal and zoonotic diseases (e.g., Brucellosis, TB, etc) could also constitute a high priority threat. In addition to the above examples, the SAHO is invited to make a unique case based on other situation-specific risk criteria, for classifying a nominated area as a High Priority shortage. Critical Priority: This shortage prioritization corresponds to an area severely lacking in some aspect of food supply or public health-related veterinary services, commensurate with the service percent FTE specified. Critical priority status is justified by meeting the criteria for moderate and/or high priority status plus any of a variety of additional serious concerns relating to the roles food supply veterinarians play in protecting animal and public health. For example, an area may exhibit an especially high potential for natural disasters or for incursion of catastrophic foreign animal disease such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Mad Cow Disease, or Foot and Mouth Disease. High risk areas could include high through-put international animal importation sites and areas where wild life and domestic food animals cross national borders carrying infectious disease agents (e.g., the US-Mexico border). In addition to the above E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices examples, the submitting SAHO is invited to make a unique case based on other situation-specific risk criteria for classifying a nominated area as a Critical Priority shortage. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with 4. Type I Shortage—80 Percent or Greater Private Practice Food Supply Veterinary Medicine SAHOs identifying this shortage type must check one or more boxes indicating which specie(s) constitute the veterinary shortage situation. Indicate either ‘‘Must Cover’’ or ‘‘May Cover’’ to stipulate which species a future awardee must be prepared, willing, and committed to provide services for, versus which species an awardee could treat using a minor percentage of their time obligated under a VMLRP contract. The Type I shortage situation must entail at least an 80 percent time commitment to private practice food supply veterinary medicine. The nominator will specify the minimum percent time (between 80 and 100 percent of a standard 40 hour week) a veterinarian must commit in order to satisfactorily fill the specific nominated situation. The shortage situation may be located anywhere (rural or non-rural) so long as the veterinary service shortages to be mitigated are consistent with the definition of ‘‘practice of food supply veterinary medicine.’’ The minimum 80 percent time commitment is, in part, recognition of the fact that occasionally food animal veterinary practitioners are expected to meet the needs of other veterinary service sectors such as clientele owning companion and exotic animals. Type I nominations are intended to address those shortage situations where the nominator believes a veterinarian can operate profitably committing between 80 and 100 percent time to food animal medicine activities in the designated shortage area, given the client base and other socioeconomic factors impacting viability of veterinary practices in the area. This generally corresponds to a shortage area where clients can reasonably be expected to pay for professional veterinary services and where food animal populations are sufficiently dense to support a (or another) veterinarian. The personal residence of the veterinarian (VMLRP awardee) and the address of veterinary practice employing the veterinarian may or may not fall within the geographic bounds of the designated shortage area. VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 5. Type II Shortage—30 Percent or Greater Private Practice Food Supply Veterinary Medicine in a Rural Area (as defined) SAHOs identifying this shortage type must check one or more boxes indicating which specie(s) constitute the veterinary shortage situation. Indicate either ‘‘Must Cover’’ or ‘‘May Cover’’ to stipulate which species a future awardee must be prepared, willing, and committed to provide services for, versus which species an awardee could treat using a minor percentage of their time obligated under a VMLRP contract. The shortage situation must be in an area satisfying the definition of ‘‘rural.’’ The minimum 30 percent-time (12 hr/ wk) commitment of an awardee to serve in a rural shortage situation is in recognition of the fact that there may be some remote or economically depressed rural areas in need of food animal veterinary services that are unable to support a practitioner predominately serving the food animal sector, yet the need for food animal veterinary services for an existing, relatively small, proportion of available food animal business is nevertheless great. The Type II nomination is therefore intended to address those rural shortage situations where the nominator believes there is a shortage of food supply veterinary services, and that a veterinarian can operate profitably committing 30 to 100 percent to food animal medicine in the designated rural shortage area. The nominator will specify the minimum percent time (between 30 and 100 percent) a veterinarian must commit in order to satisfactorily fill the specific nominated situation. Under the Type II nomination category, the expectation is that the veterinarian may provide veterinary services to other veterinary sectors (e.g., companion animal clientele) as a means of achieving financial viability. As with Type I nominations, the residence of the veterinarian (VMLRP awardee) and/or the address of veterinary practice employing the veterinarian may or may not fall within the geographic bounds of the designated shortage area. However, the awardee is required to verify the specified minimum percent time commitment (30 percent to 100 percent, based on a standard 40 hour work week) to service within the specified geographic shortage area. 6. Type III Shortage—Public Practice Shortage (49 Percent or Greater Public Practice) SAHOs identifying this shortage type must, in the spaces provided, identify the ‘‘Employer’’ and the presumptive PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77013 ‘‘Position Title’’, and check one or more of the appropriate boxes identifying the specialty/disciplinary area(s) being nominated as a shortage situation. This is a broad nomination category comprising many types of specialized veterinary training and employment areas relating to food supply veterinary workforce capacity and capability. These positions are typically located in city, county, State and Federal Government, and institutions of higher education. Examples of positions within the public practice sector include university faculty and staff, veterinary laboratory diagnostician, County Public Health Officer, State Veterinarian, State Public Health Veterinarian, State Epidemiologist, FSIS meat inspector, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC), and Federal Veterinary Medical Officer (VMO). Veterinary shortage situations such as those listed above are eligible for consideration under Type III nomination. However, nominators should be aware that Congress has stipulated that the VMLRP must emphasize private food animal practice shortage situations. Accordingly, NIFA anticipates that loan repayments for the Public Practice sector will be limited to approximately 10 percent of total nominations and available funds. The minimum time commitment serving under a Type III shortage nomination is 49 percent. The nominator will specify the minimum percent time (between 49 percent and 100 percent) a veterinarian must commit in order to satisfactorily fill the specific nominated situation. NIFA understands that some public practice employment opportunities that are shortage situations may be part-time positions. For example, a veterinarian pursuing an advanced degree (in a shortage discipline area) on a part-time basis may also be employed by the university for the balance of the veterinarian’s time to provide part-time professional veterinary service(s) such as teaching, clinical service, or laboratory animal care that may or may not also qualify as veterinary shortage situations. The 49 percent minimum therefore provides flexibility to nominators wishing to certify public practice shortage situations that would be ineligible under more stringent minimum percent time requirements. E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 77014 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices 7. Written Response Sections a. Importance and objectives of a veterinarian meeting this shortage situation Within the allowed word limit the nominator should clearly state overarching objectives the State hopes to achieve by placing a veterinarian in the nominated situation. Include the minimum percent time commitment (within the range of the shortage type selected) the awardee is expected to devote to filling the specific food supply veterinary shortage situation. b. Activities of a veterinarian meeting this shortage situation percentage is too high for an awardee to achieve, he or she could fall into breach status under the program and owe substantial financial penalties. NIFA requires formal quarterly certification that minimum service time was worked before each quarterly loan repayment is paid to the awardee’s lender(s). Accordingly, NIFA advises that a nomination be submitted only if the SAHO is confident that an awardee can meet the default, or optionally specified, minimum FTE percentage each and every one of the 12 quarters (i.e, twelve 3-month periods) constituting the 3-year duration of service under the program. f. Affirmation checkboxes Within the allowed word limit the nominator should clearly state the principal day-to-day professional activities that would have to be conducted in order to achieve the objectives described in a) above. Within the allowed word limit the nominator should explain the consequences of not addressing this veterinary shortage situation. SAHOs submitting shortage nominations should check both ‘‘affirmation’’ boxes on the last page of the nomination form. These two affirmations provide assurance that submitting SAHOs understand the shortage nomination process and the importance of the SAHO having reasonable confidence that the nomination submitted describes a bona fide shortage area. The second assurance is particularly important to help avoid the placement of a VMLRP awardee where veterinary coverage already exists, and where undue competition could lead to insufficient clientele demand to support either the awardee or the veterinary practice originally serving the area. e. Specifying a different service time requirement (optional) C. NIFA Review of Shortage Situation Nominations Minimum percent FTE service obligated under the VMLRP is specified for each of the three shortage types. However, the nominator may indicate, in the box provided on page 2 of the nomination form, a greater percent FTE than the specified minimum, according to the following guidelines. For a Type I shortage, the minimum FTE obligation is 80%, but the nominator may specify up to 100% (100% FTE corresponds to 40 hrs/week). The minimum FTE obligation is 30% for Type II shortage situation, but the nominator may specify up to 79%. Higher percentages should be submitted as Type I shortages. The minimum FTE obligation is 49% for Type III (public practice) shortage situations, but the nominator may specify up to 100%. An entry should be made in the box for specification of percent FTE if the percentage specified is other than the default minimum. Otherwise the box should be left blank. In assigning a percentage FTE, SAHOs should be cognizant of the impact this has on an eventual awardee. If the 1. Review Panel Composition and Process c. Past efforts to recruit and retain a veterinarian in the shortage situation Within the allowed word limit the nominator should explain any prior efforts to mitigate this veterinary service shortage and prospects for recruiting veterinarian(s) in the future. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with d. Risk of this veterinarian position not being secured or retained VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 NIFA will convene a panel of food supply veterinary medicine experts from Federal and state agencies, as well as institutions receiving Animal Health and Disease Research Program funds under section 1433 of NARETPA, who will review the nominations and make recommendations to the NIFA Program Manager. NIFA explored the possibility of including experts from nongovernmental professional organizations and sectors for this process, but under NARETPA section 1409A(e), panelists for the purposes of this process are limited to Federal and State agencies and cooperating state institutions (i.e., NARETPA section 1433 recipients). NIFA will review the panel recommendations and designate the VMLRP shortage situations. The list of shortage situations will be made available on the VMLRP Web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2. Review Criteria Criteria used by the shortage situation nomination review panel and NIFA for certifying a veterinary shortage situation will be consistent with the information requested in the shortage situations nomination form. NIFA understands that defining the risk landscape associated with shortages of veterinary services throughout a state is a process that may require consideration of many qualitative and quantitative factors. In addition, each shortage situation will be characterized by a different array of subjective and objective supportive information that must be developed into a cogent case identifying, characterizing, and justifying a given geographic or disciplinary area as one deficient in certain types of veterinary capacity or service. To accommodate the uniqueness of each shortage situation, the nomination form provides opportunities to present a case using both supportive metrics and narrative explanations to define and explain the proposed need. At the same time, the elements of the nomination form provide a common structure for the information collection process which will in turn facilitate fair comparison of the relative merits of each nomination by the evaluation panel. While NIFA anticipates some arguments made in support of a given shortage situation will be qualitative, respondents are encouraged to present verifiable quantitative and qualitative evidentiary information where ever possible. Absence of quantitative data such as animal and veterinarian census data for the proposed shortage area(s) may lead the panel to recommend not approving the shortage nomination. The maximum point value review panelists may award for each element is as follows: 20 points: Describe the objectives of a veterinarian meeting this shortage situation as well as being located in the community, area, state/insular area, or position requested above. 20 points: Describe the activities of a veterinarian meeting this shortage situation and being located in the community, area, state/insular area, or position requested above. 5 points: Describe any past efforts to recruit and retain a veterinarian in the shortage situation identified above. 35 points: Describe the risk of this veterinarian position not being secured or retained. Include the risk(s) to the production of a safe and wholesome food supply and/or to animal, human, and environmental health not only in the community but in the region, state/ E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices insular area, nation, and/or international community. An additional 20 points will be used to evaluate overall merit/quality of the case made for each nomination. Prior to the panel being convened, shortage situation nominations will be evaluated and scored according to the established scoring system by a primary reviewer. When the panel convenes, the primary reviewer will present each nomination orally in summary form. After each presentation, panelists will have an opportunity, if necessary, to discuss the nomination, with the primary reviewer leading the discussion and recording comments. After the panel discussion is complete, any scoring revisions will be made by and at the discretion of the primary reviewer. The panel is then polled to recommend, or not recommend, the shortage situation for designation. Nominations scoring 70 or higher by the primary reviewer (on a scale of 0 to 100), and receiving a simple majority vote in support of designation as a shortage situation will be ‘‘recommended for designation as a shortage situation.’’ Nominations scoring below 70 by the primary reviewer, and failure to achieve a simple majority vote in support of designation will be ‘‘not recommended for designation as a shortage situation.’’ In the event of a discrepancy between the primary reviewer’s scoring and the panel poll results, the VMLRP program manager will be authorized to make the final determination on the nomination’s designation. Done in Washington, DC, this 19th day of December, 2012. Meryl Broussard, Deputy Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. [FR Doc. 2012–31407 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of Advocacy and Outreach Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Request for Nominations Office of Advocacy and Outreach, USDA. ACTION: Extension of time for submitting nominations. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with AGENCY: We are giving notice that the Secretary of Agriculture will extend the time to submit nominations and applications to serve on the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (the ‘‘Committee’’) for an SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 additional term of 2 years through December 14, 2014. This will give interested persons additional time to prepare and submit nomination packages. Consideration will be given to nominations received on or before January 15, 2013. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. R. J. Cabrera, Designated Federal Official, USDA OAO, 1400 Independence Avenue, Room 520–A, Washington, DC 20250–0170; Telephone (202) 720–6350; Fax (202) 720–7704; Email: rj.cabrera@osec.usda.gov. DATES: Nomination packages may be sent by postal mail or commercial delivery to: Mrs. R. J. Cabrera, Designated Federal Official, USDA OAO, 1400 Independence Avenue, Room 520–A, Washington, DC 20250– 0170. Nomination packages may also be faxed to (202) 720–7704. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 20, 2012 we published in the Federal Register (FR DOC# 2012–30471, Pages 75105–75106) a Notice of Intent To Renew and Request for Nominations. Applications were required to be received on or before December 31, 2012. We are extending the submission period to January 16, 2013.We will also consider all applications received between December 19, 2012 and January 1, 2013 (the day after the original submission period). We are soliciting nominations from interested organizations and individuals from among ranching and farming producers (industry), related government, State, and Tribal agricultural agencies, academic institutions, commercial banking entities, trade associations, and related nonprofit enterprises. An organization may nominate individuals from within or outside its membership; alternatively, an individual may nominate herself or himself. Nomination packages should include a nomination form along with a cover letter or resume that documents the nominee’s background and experience. Nomination forms are available on the Internet at http:// www.ocio.usda.gov/forms/doc/AD– 755.pdf or may be obtained from Mrs. R. J. Cabrera at the address or telephone number noted above. The Secretary will select up to 20 members from among those organizations and individuals solicited, in order to obtain the broadest possible representation on the Committee. Equal opportunity practices, in line with the USDA policies, will be followed in all appointments to the Committee. To ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77015 ensure that the recommendations of the Committee have taken into account the needs of the diverse groups served by the Department, membership should include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. Signed in Washington, DC, this 20th day of December, 2012. Dexter Pearson, Associate Director, Office of Advocacy and Outreach. [FR Doc. 2012–31343 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the emergency provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). Agency: National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Title: State and Local Implementation Grant Program Application Requirements. OMB Control Number: None. Form Number(s): None. Type of Request: Emergency submission (new information collection). Number of Respondents: 56. Average Hours per Response: Application, 10 hours; Quarterly report, 4 hours. Burden Hours: 1,456. Needs and Uses: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act, Pub. L. 112–96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012).) was signed by the President on February 22, 2012. The Act meets a long-standing priority of the Administration, as well as a critical national infrastructure need, to create a single, nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network (PSBN) that will, for the first time, allow police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety officials to effectively communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions. Public safety workers have long been hindered in their ability to respond in a crisis situation because of incompatible communications networks and often outdated communications equipment. The Act establishes the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 250 (Monday, December 31, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77008-77015]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31407]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Solicitation of Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the 
Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Notice and solicitation for nominations.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is 
soliciting nominations of veterinary service shortage situations for 
the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) for fiscal year 
(FY) 2013, as authorized under the National Veterinary Medical Services 
Act (NVMSA), 7 U.S.C. 3151a. This notice initiates a 60-day nomination 
period and prescribes the procedures and criteria to be used by State, 
Insular Area, DC and Federal Lands to nominate veterinary shortage 
situations. Each year all eligible nominating entities may submit 
nominations, up to the maximum indicated for each entity in this 
notice. NIFA is conducting this solicitation of veterinary shortage 
situation nominations under a previously approved information 
collection (OMB Control Number 0524-0046).

DATES: Shortage situation nominations, both new and carry over, must be 
submitted on or before March 1, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Submissions must be made by email at vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov to 
the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of 
Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Sherman; National Program Leader, 
Veterinary Science; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. 
Department of Agriculture; STOP 2220; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW.; 
Washington, DC 20250-2220; Voice: 202-401-4952; Fax: 202-401-6156; 
Email: vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background and Purpose

    A landmark series of three peer-reviewed studies published in 2007 
in

[[Page 77009]]

the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), and 
sponsored by the Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition 
(www.avma.org/fsvm/recognition.asp), gave considerable attention to the 
growing shortage of food supply veterinarians, the causes of shortages 
in this sector, and the consequences to the US food safety 
infrastructure and to the general public if this trend continues to 
worsen. Food supply veterinary medicine embraces a broad array of 
veterinary professional activities, specialties and responsibilities, 
and is defined as the full range of veterinary medical practices 
contributing to the production of a safe and wholesome food supply and 
to animal, human, and environmental health. However, the privately 
practicing food animal veterinary practitioner population within the US 
is, numerically, the largest, and arguably the most important single 
component of the food supply veterinary medical sector. Food animal 
veterinarians, working closely with livestock producers and State and 
Federal officials, constitute the first line of defense against spread 
of endemic and zoonotic diseases, introduction of high consequence 
foreign animal diseases, and other threats to the health and wellbeing 
of both animals and humans who consume animal products.
    Among the most alarming findings of the Coalition-sponsored studies 
was objective confirmation that insufficient numbers of veterinary 
students are selecting food supply veterinary medical careers. This 
development has led both to current shortages and to projections for 
worsening shortages over the next 10 years. Burdensome educational debt 
was the leading concern students listed for opting not to choose a 
career in food animal practice or other food supply veterinary sectors. 
According to a survey of veterinary medical graduates conducted by the 
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in the spring of 2012, 
the average educational debt for students graduating from veterinary 
school is approximately $151,000. Such debt loads incentivize students 
to select other veterinary careers, such as companion animal medicine, 
which tend to be more financially lucrative and, therefore, enable 
students to more quickly repay their outstanding educational loans. 
Furthermore, when this issue was studied in the Coalition report from 
the perspective of identifying solutions to this workforce imbalance, 
panelists were asked to rate 18 different strategies for addressing 
shortages. Responses from the panelists overwhelmingly showed that 
student debt repayment and scholarship programs were the most important 
strategies in addressing future shortages (JAVMA 229:57-69).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
regulations (5 CFR part 1320) that implement the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements imposed by the implementation of these 
guidelines have been approved by OMB Control Number 0524-0046.

List of Subjects in Guidelines for Veterinary Shortage Situation 
Nominations

I. Preface and Authority
II. Nomination of Veterinary Shortage Situations
    A. General
    1. Eligible Shortage Situations
    2. Authorized Respondents and Use of Consultation
    3. Rationale for Capping Nominations and State Allocation Method
    4. State Allocation of Nominations
    5. FY 2013 Shortage Situation Nomination Process
    6. Submission and Due Date
    7. Period Covered
    8. Definitions
    B. Nomination Form and Description of Fields
    1. Access to Nomination Form
    2. Physical Location of Shortage Area or Position
    3. Overall Priority of Shortage
    4. Type I Shortage
    5. Type II Shortage
    6. Type III Shortage
    7. Written Response Sections
    C. NIFA Review of Shortage Situation Nominations
    1. Review Panel Composition and Process
    2. Review Criteria

Guidelines for Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations

I. Preface and Authority

    In January 2003, the National Veterinary Medical Service Act 
(NVMSA) was passed into law adding section 1415A to the National 
Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1997 
(NARETPA). This law established a new Veterinary Medicine Loan 
Repayment Program (7 U.S.C. 3151a) authorizing the Secretary of 
Agriculture to carry out a program of entering into agreements with 
veterinarians under which they agree to provide veterinary services in 
veterinarian shortage situations.
    In FY 2010, NIFA announced the first funding opportunity for the 
VMLRP and received 260 applications from which NIFA issued 53 awards 
totaling $5,186,000 to fill veterinary shortage areas in 31 states. In 
FY 2011, NIFA received 159 applications from which NIFA issued 75 
awards totaling $7,251,000 to fill veterinary shortage areas in 35 
states. There was a cumulative total of up to $4,500,000 available for 
awards heading into the FY 2012 funding opportunity. Funding for FY 
2013 and future years will be based on annual appropriations and 
balances, if any, carried forward from prior years, and may vary from 
year to year.
    Section 7105 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, 
Public Law 110-246, (FCEA) amended section 1415A to revise the 
determination of veterinarian shortage situations to consider (1) 
geographical areas that the Secretary determines have a shortage of 
veterinarians; and (2) areas of veterinary practice that the Secretary 
determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as food animal 
medicine, public health, epidemiology, and food safety. This section 
also added that priority should be given to agreements with 
veterinarians for the practice of food animal medicine in veterinarian 
shortage situations.
    NARETPA section 1415A requires the Secretary, when determining the 
amount of repayment for a year of service by a veterinarian to consider 
the ability of USDA to maximize the number of agreements from the 
amounts appropriated and to provide an incentive to serve in veterinary 
service shortage areas with the greatest need.
    The Secretary delegated the authority to carry out this program to 
NIFA pursuant to 7 CFR Sec.  2.66(a)(141).
    Pursuant to the requirements enacted in the NVMSA of 2004 (as 
revised), and the implementing regulation for this Act, Part 3431 
Subpart A of the VMLRP Final Rule [75 FR 20239-20248], NIFA hereby 
implements guidelines for authorized State Animal Health Officials 
(SAHO) to nominate veterinary shortage situations for the FY 2013 
program cycle:

II. Nomination of Veterinary Shortage Situations

A. General

1. Eligible Shortage Situations
    Section 1415A of NARETPA, as amended and revised by Section 7105 of 
FCEA directs determination of veterinarian shortage situations to 
consider (1) geographical areas that the Secretary determines have a 
shortage of veterinarians; and (2) areas of veterinary practice that 
the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as food 
animal medicine, public health,

[[Page 77010]]

epidemiology, and food safety. This section also added that priority 
should be given to agreements with veterinarians for the practice of 
food animal medicine in veterinarian shortage situations.
    While the NVMSA (as amended) specifies priority be given to food 
animal medicine shortage situations, and that consideration also be 
given to specialty areas such as public health, epidemiology and food 
safety, the Act does not identify any areas of veterinary practice as 
ineligible. Accordingly, all nominated veterinary shortage situations 
will be considered eligible for submission. However, the 
competitiveness of submitted nominations, upon evaluation by the 
external review panel convened by NIFA, will reflect the intent of 
Congress that priority be given to certain types of veterinary service 
shortage situations. NIFA therefore anticipates that the most 
competitive nominations will be those directly addressing food supply 
veterinary medicine shortage situations.
    NIFA has adopted definitions of the practice of veterinary medicine 
and the practice of food supply medicine that are broadly inclusive of 
the critical roles veterinarians serve in both public practice and 
private practice situations. Nominations describing either public or 
private practice veterinary shortage situations will therefore be 
eligible for submission. However, NIFA interprets that Congressional 
intent is to give priority to the private practice of food animal 
medicine. NIFA is grateful to the Association of American Veterinary 
Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the American Veterinary Medical Association 
(AVMA), and other stakeholders for their recommendations regarding the 
appropriate balance of program emphasis on public and private practice 
shortage situations. NIFA will seek to achieve a final distribution of 
approximately 90 percent of nominations (and eventual agreements) that 
are geographic, private practice, food animal veterinary medicine 
shortage situations, and approximately 10 percent of nominations that 
reflect public practice shortage situations.
2. State Respondents and Use of Consultation
    Respondents on behalf of each State include the chief State Animal 
Health Official (SAHO), as duly authorized by the Governor or the 
Governor's designee in each State. The SAHOs are requested to submit 
nominations to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov by way of the Veterinarian Shortage 
Situation Nomination Form (OMB Control Number 0524-0046), which is 
available in the State Animal Health Officials section on the VMLRP Web 
site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. One form must be submitted for each 
nominated shortage situation. NIFA strongly encourages the SAHO to 
involve leading health animal experts in the State in the 
identification and prioritization of shortage situation nominations.
3. Rationale for Capping Nominations and State Allocation Method
    In its consideration of fair, transparent and objective approaches 
to solicitation of shortage area nominations, NIFA evaluated three 
alternative strategies before deciding on the appropriate strategy. The 
first option considered was to impose no limits on the number of 
nominations submitted. The second was to allow each state the same 
number of nominations. The third (eventually selected) was to 
differentially cap the number of nominations per state based on 
defensible and intuitive criteria.
    The first option, providing no limits to the number of nominations 
per state, is fair to the extent that each state and insular area has 
equal opportunity to nominate as many situations as desired. However, 
funding for the VMLRP is limited (relative to anticipated demand), so 
allowing potentially high and disproportionate submission rates of 
nominations could both unnecessarily burden the nominators and the 
reviewers with a potential avalanche of nominations and dilute highest 
need situations with lower need situations. Moreover, NIFA believes 
that the distribution of opportunity under this program (i.e., 
distribution of mapped shortage situations resulting from the 
nomination solicitation and review process) should roughly reflect the 
national distribution of food supply veterinary service demand. By not 
capping nominations based on some objective criteria, it is likely 
there would be no correlation between the mapped pattern and density of 
certified shortage situations and the actual pattern and density of 
need. This in turn could undermine confidence in the program with 
Congress, the public, and other stakeholders.
    The second option, limiting all states and insular areas to the 
same number of nominations suffers from some of the same disadvantages 
as option one. It has the benefit of limiting administrative burden on 
both the SAHO and the nomination review process. However, like option 
one, there would be no correlation between the mapped pattern of 
certified shortage situations and the actual pattern of need. For 
example, Guam and Rhode Island would be allowed to submit the same 
number of nominations as Texas and Nebraska, despite the large 
difference in the sizes of their respective animal agriculture 
industries and rural land areas requiring veterinary service coverage.
    The third option, to cap the number of nominations in relation to 
major parameters correlating with veterinary service demand, achieves 
the goals both of practical control over the administrative burden to 
the states and NIFA, and of achieving a mapped pattern of certified 
nominations that approximates the theoretical actual shortage 
distribution. In addition, this method limits dilution of highest need 
areas with lower need areas. The disadvantage of this strategy is that 
there is no validated, unbiased, direct measure of veterinary shortage, 
and so it is necessary to employ parameters that correlate with the 
hypothetical cumulative relative need for each state in comparison to 
other states.
    In the absence of a validated unbiased direct measure of relative 
veterinary service need or risk for each state and insular area, the 
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provided NIFA with 
reliable and public data that correlate with demand for food supply 
veterinary service. NIFA consulted with NASS and determined that the 
NASS variables most strongly correlated with state-level food supply 
veterinary service need are ``Livestock and Livestock Products Total 
Sales ($)'' and ``Land Area'' (acres). The ``Livestock and Livestock 
Products Total Sales ($)'' variable broadly predicts veterinary service 
need in a State because this is a normalized (to cash value) estimate 
of the extent of (live) animal agriculture in the state. The State 
``land area'' variable predicts veterinary service need because there 
is positive correlation between state land area, percent of state area 
classified as rural and the percent of land devoted to actual or 
potential livestock production. Importantly, land area is also directly 
correlated with the number of veterinarians needed to provide 
veterinary services in a state because of the practical limitations 
relating to the maximum radius of a standard veterinary service area. 
Due to fuel and other cost factors, the maximum radius a veterinarian 
operating a mobile veterinary service can cover is approximately 60 
miles, which roughly corresponds to two or three contiguous counties of 
average size.
    Although these two NASS variables are not perfect predictors of 
veterinary service demand, NIFA believes they account for a significant 
proportion of several of the most relevant factors influencing 
veterinary service need and

[[Page 77011]]

risk for the purpose of fairly and transparently estimating veterinary 
service demand. To further ensure fairness and equitability, NIFA is 
employing these variables in a straightforward and transparent manner 
that ensures every state and insular area is eligible for at least one 
nomination and that all States receive an apportionment of nominations, 
relative to their geographic size and size of agricultural animal 
industries.
    Following this rationale, the Secretary is specifying the maximum 
number of nominations per state in order to (1) Assure distribution of 
designated shortage areas in a manner generally reflective of the 
differential overall demand for food supply veterinary services in 
different states, (2) assure the number of shortage situation 
nominations submitted fosters emphasis on selection by nominators and 
applicants of the highest priority need areas, and (3) provide 
practical and proportional limitations of the administrative burden 
borne by SAHOs preparing nominations, and by panelists serving on the 
NIFA nominations review panel.
    Furthermore, instituting a limit on the number of nominations is 
consistent with language in the Final Rule stating, ``The solicitation 
may specify the maximum number of nominations that may be submitted by 
each State animal health official.''
4. State Allocation of Nominations
    The number of designated shortage situations per state will be 
limited by NIFA, and this has an impact on the number of new 
nominations a state may submit each time NIFA solicits shortage 
nominations. In the 2013 cycle, NIFA is again accepting the number of 
nominations equivalent to the allowable number of designated shortage 
areas for each state. All eligible submitting entities will, for the 
2013 cycle, have an opportunity to do the following: (1) Retain 
designated status for any shortage situation successfully designated in 
2012 (if there is no change to any information, the nomination will be 
approved for 2013 without the need for re-review by the merit panel), 
(2) rescind any nomination officially designated in 2012, and (3) 
submit new nominations. The total of the number of new nominations plus 
designated nominations retained (carried over) may not exceed the 
maximum number of nominations each entity is permitted. Any amendment 
to an existing shortage nomination is presumed to constitute a 
significant change. Therefore, an amended nomination must be rescinded 
and resubmitted to NIFA as a new nomination and it will be evaluated by 
the 2013 review panel.
    The maximum number of nominations (and potential designations) will 
remain the same in 2013 as they were for the previous three years. 
Thus, all states have the opportunity to re-establish the maximum 
number of designated shortage situations. Awards from previous years 
have no bearing on a state's maximum number of allowable shortage 
nomination submissions or number of designations for subsequent years. 
NIFA reserves the right in the future to proportionally adjust the 
maximum number of designated shortage situations per state to ensure a 
balance between available funds and the requirement to ensure priority 
is given to mitigating veterinary shortages corresponding to situations 
of greatest need. Nomination Allocation tables for FY 2013 are 
available under the State Animal Health Officials section of the VMLRP 
web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.
    Table I lists ``Special Consideration Areas'' which include any 
State or Insular Area not reporting data, and/or reporting less than 
$1,000,000 in annual Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($), 
and/or possessing less than 500,000 acres, as reported by NASS. One 
nomination is allocated to any State or Insular Area classified as a 
Special Consideration Area.
    Table II shows how NIFA determined nomination allocation based on 
quartile ranks of States for two variables broadly correlated with 
demand for food supply veterinary services: ``Livestock and Livestock 
Products Total Sales ($)'' (LPTS) and ``Land Area (acres)'' (LA). The 
total number of NIFA- designated shortage situations per state in any 
given program year is based on the quartile ranking of each state in 
terms of LPTS and LA. States for which NASS has both LPTS and LA 
values, and which have at least $1,000,000 LPTS and at least 500,000 
acres LA (typically all states plus Puerto Rico), were independently 
ranked from least to greatest value for each of these two composite 
variables. The two ranked lists were then divided into quartiles with 
quartile 1 containing the lowest variable values and quartile 4 
containing the highest variable values. Each state then received the 
number of designated shortage situations corresponding to the number of 
the quartile in which the state falls. Thus a state that falls in the 
second quartile for LA and the third quartile for LPTS may submit a 
maximum of five shortage situation nominations (2 + 3). This 
transparent computation was made for each state thereby giving a range 
of 2 to 8 shortage situation nominations, contingent upon each state's 
quartile ranking for the two variables.
    The maximum number of designated shortage situations for each State 
in 2013 is shown in Table III.
    While Federal Lands are widely dispersed within States and Insular 
Areas across the country, they constitute a composite total land area 
over twice the size of Alaska. If the 200-mile limit U.S. coastal 
waters and associated fishery areas are included, Federal Land total 
acreage would exceed 1 billion. Both State and Federal Animal Health 
officials have responsibilities for matters relating to terrestrial and 
aquatic food animal health on Federal Lands. Interaction between 
wildlife and domestic livestock, such as sheep and cattle, is 
particularly common in the plains states where significant portions of 
Federal lands are leased for grazing. Therefore, both SAHOs and the 
Chief Federal Animal Health Officer (Deputy Administrator, Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service or designee) may submit nominations to 
address shortage situations on or related to Federal Lands.
    NIFA emphasizes that shortage nomination allocation is set to 
broadly balance the number of designated shortage situations across 
states prior to the application and award phases of the VMLRP. Awards 
will be made based strictly on the peer review panels' assessment of 
the quality of the match between the knowledge, skills and abilities of 
the applicant and the attributes of the specific shortage situation 
applied for, thus no state will be given a preference for placement of 
awardees. Additionally, unless otherwise specified in the shortage 
nomination form, each designated shortage situation will be limited to 
one award.
5. FY 2013 Shortage Situation Nomination Process
    As described in Section 4 above, all SAHOs will, for the FY 2013 
cycle, have an opportunity to do the following: (1) Retain (carry over) 
designated status for any shortage situation successfully designated in 
2012 and not revised, without need for reevaluation by merit review 
panel, (2) rescind any nomination officially designated in 2012, and 
(3) submit new nominations. The total number of new nominations and 
designated nominations retained (carried over) may not exceed the 
maximum number of shortages each state is allocated. An amendment to an 
existing shortage nomination constitutes a significant change and 
therefore must

[[Page 77012]]

be rescinded and resubmitted to NIFA as a new nomination, to be 
evaluated by the 2013 review panel. The maximum number of nominations 
(and potential designations) for each state is the same in 2013 as it 
was in previous years.
    The following process is the mechanism by which a SAHO should 
retain or rescind a designated nomination: NIFA will initiate the 
process by sending an email to each SAHO with a PDF copy of the 
nomination form of each designated area that went unfilled in FY 2012. 
If the SAHO wishes to retain (carry over) one or more designated 
nomination(s), the SAHO shall copy and paste the prior year information 
(unrevised) into the current year's nomination form. The SAHO will then 
email the carry over nomination(s), along with any new nominations, to 
vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov by the published deadline.
    Both new and retained nominations must be submitted on the 
Veterinary Shortage Situation Nomination form provided in the State 
Animal Health Officials section at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.
6. Submission and Due Date
    Shortage situation nominations, both new and carry over, must be 
submitted on or before March 1, 2013, by email at vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov 
to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute 
of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture.
7. Period Covered
    Each designated shortage situation shall be certified and remain 
certified until it is filled with a VMLRP award or withdrawn by the 
SAHO. A SAHO may request that NIFA remove a previously certified and 
designated shortage situation by sending an email to 
vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov. The request should specifically identify the 
shortage situation the SAHO wishes to withdraw and the reason(s) for 
its withdrawal. The program manager will review the request, make a 
determination, and inform the requesting SAHO of the final action 
taken. When a request for withdrawal of a designated shortage situation 
leads to its removal from the list of NIFA-designated shortage 
situations, the withdrawn situation may not be replaced with a new 
shortage situation nomination until NIFA issues its next solicitation 
of shortage situation nominations for this program.
8. Definitions
    For the purpose of implementing the solicitation for veterinary 
shortage situations, the definitions provided in 7 CFR part 3431 are 
applicable.

B. Nomination Form and Description of Fields

1. Access to Nomination Form
    The veterinary shortage situation nomination form is available in 
the State Animal Health Officials section at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. 
The completed form must be emailed to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov.
2. Physical Location of Shortage Area or Position
    Following conclusion of the nomination and designation process, 
NIFA will prepare lists and/or maps that include all designated 
shortage situations for the current program year. This effort requires 
a physical location that represents the center of the service area for 
a geographic shortage or the location of the main office or work 
address for a public practice and/or specialty practice shortage. For 
example, if the state seeks to certify a tri-county area as a food 
animal veterinary service (i.e., Type I) shortage situation, a road 
intersection approximating the center of the tri-county area would 
constitute a satisfactory physical location for NIFA's listing and 
mapping purposes. By contrast, if the state is identifying ``veterinary 
diagnostician'', a Type III nomination, as a shortage situation, then 
the nominator would complete this field by filling in the address of 
the location where the diagnostician would work (e.g., State animal 
disease diagnostic laboratory).
3. Overall Priority of Shortage
    Congressional intent is for this program to incentivize applicants 
to ``serve in veterinary service shortage areas with the greatest 
need.'' There is therefore the presumption that all areas nominated as 
shortage situations should be classified as at least ``moderate 
priority'' shortages. To assist nomination merit review panelists and 
award phase peer panelists in scoring shortage nominations and ranking 
applications from VMLRP applicants, SAHOs are asked to characterize 
each shortage situation nomination as ``Moderate Priority'', ``High 
Priority'', or ``Critical Priority'' shortages.
    Moderate Priority: This shortage prioritization corresponds to an 
area lacking in some aspect of food supply veterinary services, 
commensurate with the service percent full-time-equivalency (FTE) 
specified. Absence of, or insufficient, trained ``eyes and ears'' of a 
veterinarian serving a food animal production area is sufficient to 
constitute moderate priority shortage status. This is because access to 
veterinary services is necessary for basic animal health, animal well-
being, production profitability, and for food safety, and because high 
consequence disease outbreaks in agricultural animals or natural 
catastrophes can occur spontaneously anywhere. In such cases, early 
detection of disease and/or treatment of animals are essential. These 
activities are the authorized purview of a licensed veterinarian. In 
addition to the above examples, the SAHO is invited to make a unique 
case based on other situation-specific risk criteria, for classifying a 
nominated area as a Moderate Priority shortage.
    High Priority: This shortage prioritization corresponds to an area 
lacking sufficient access to food supply veterinary services, 
commensurate with the service percent FTE specified. High Priority 
status is justified by meeting the criteria for Moderate Priority 
status plus any of a variety of additional concerns relating to food 
supply veterinary medicine and/or public health. For example, the area 
may exhibit an especially large census of food animals in comparison to 
available veterinary services. Special animal or public health threats 
unique to the area, such as a recent history of outbreaks of high 
consequence, reportable, endemic animal and zoonotic diseases (e.g., 
Brucellosis, TB, etc) could also constitute a high priority threat. In 
addition to the above examples, the SAHO is invited to make a unique 
case based on other situation-specific risk criteria, for classifying a 
nominated area as a High Priority shortage.
    Critical Priority: This shortage prioritization corresponds to an 
area severely lacking in some aspect of food supply or public health-
related veterinary services, commensurate with the service percent FTE 
specified. Critical priority status is justified by meeting the 
criteria for moderate and/or high priority status plus any of a variety 
of additional serious concerns relating to the roles food supply 
veterinarians play in protecting animal and public health. For example, 
an area may exhibit an especially high potential for natural disasters 
or for incursion of catastrophic foreign animal disease such as Highly 
Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Mad Cow Disease, or Foot and Mouth Disease. 
High risk areas could include high through-put international animal 
importation sites and areas where wild life and domestic food animals 
cross national borders carrying infectious disease agents (e.g., the 
US-Mexico border). In addition to the above

[[Page 77013]]

examples, the submitting SAHO is invited to make a unique case based on 
other situation-specific risk criteria for classifying a nominated area 
as a Critical Priority shortage.
4. Type I Shortage--80 Percent or Greater Private Practice Food Supply 
Veterinary Medicine
    SAHOs identifying this shortage type must check one or more boxes 
indicating which specie(s) constitute the veterinary shortage 
situation. Indicate either ``Must Cover'' or ``May Cover'' to stipulate 
which species a future awardee must be prepared, willing, and committed 
to provide services for, versus which species an awardee could treat 
using a minor percentage of their time obligated under a VMLRP 
contract. The Type I shortage situation must entail at least an 80 
percent time commitment to private practice food supply veterinary 
medicine. The nominator will specify the minimum percent time (between 
80 and 100 percent of a standard 40 hour week) a veterinarian must 
commit in order to satisfactorily fill the specific nominated 
situation. The shortage situation may be located anywhere (rural or 
non-rural) so long as the veterinary service shortages to be mitigated 
are consistent with the definition of ``practice of food supply 
veterinary medicine.'' The minimum 80 percent time commitment is, in 
part, recognition of the fact that occasionally food animal veterinary 
practitioners are expected to meet the needs of other veterinary 
service sectors such as clientele owning companion and exotic animals. 
Type I nominations are intended to address those shortage situations 
where the nominator believes a veterinarian can operate profitably 
committing between 80 and 100 percent time to food animal medicine 
activities in the designated shortage area, given the client base and 
other socio-economic factors impacting viability of veterinary 
practices in the area. This generally corresponds to a shortage area 
where clients can reasonably be expected to pay for professional 
veterinary services and where food animal populations are sufficiently 
dense to support a (or another) veterinarian. The personal residence of 
the veterinarian (VMLRP awardee) and the address of veterinary practice 
employing the veterinarian may or may not fall within the geographic 
bounds of the designated shortage area.
5. Type II Shortage--30 Percent or Greater Private Practice Food Supply 
Veterinary Medicine in a Rural Area (as defined)
    SAHOs identifying this shortage type must check one or more boxes 
indicating which specie(s) constitute the veterinary shortage 
situation. Indicate either ``Must Cover'' or ``May Cover'' to stipulate 
which species a future awardee must be prepared, willing, and committed 
to provide services for, versus which species an awardee could treat 
using a minor percentage of their time obligated under a VMLRP 
contract. The shortage situation must be in an area satisfying the 
definition of ``rural.'' The minimum 30 percent-time (12 hr/wk) 
commitment of an awardee to serve in a rural shortage situation is in 
recognition of the fact that there may be some remote or economically 
depressed rural areas in need of food animal veterinary services that 
are unable to support a practitioner predominately serving the food 
animal sector, yet the need for food animal veterinary services for an 
existing, relatively small, proportion of available food animal 
business is nevertheless great. The Type II nomination is therefore 
intended to address those rural shortage situations where the nominator 
believes there is a shortage of food supply veterinary services, and 
that a veterinarian can operate profitably committing 30 to 100 percent 
to food animal medicine in the designated rural shortage area. The 
nominator will specify the minimum percent time (between 30 and 100 
percent) a veterinarian must commit in order to satisfactorily fill the 
specific nominated situation. Under the Type II nomination category, 
the expectation is that the veterinarian may provide veterinary 
services to other veterinary sectors (e.g., companion animal clientele) 
as a means of achieving financial viability. As with Type I 
nominations, the residence of the veterinarian (VMLRP awardee) and/or 
the address of veterinary practice employing the veterinarian may or 
may not fall within the geographic bounds of the designated shortage 
area. However, the awardee is required to verify the specified minimum 
percent time commitment (30 percent to 100 percent, based on a standard 
40 hour work week) to service within the specified geographic shortage 
area.
6. Type III Shortage--Public Practice Shortage (49 Percent or Greater 
Public Practice)
    SAHOs identifying this shortage type must, in the spaces provided, 
identify the ``Employer'' and the presumptive ``Position Title'', and 
check one or more of the appropriate boxes identifying the specialty/
disciplinary area(s) being nominated as a shortage situation. This is a 
broad nomination category comprising many types of specialized 
veterinary training and employment areas relating to food supply 
veterinary workforce capacity and capability. These positions are 
typically located in city, county, State and Federal Government, and 
institutions of higher education. Examples of positions within the 
public practice sector include university faculty and staff, veterinary 
laboratory diagnostician, County Public Health Officer, State 
Veterinarian, State Public Health Veterinarian, State Epidemiologist, 
FSIS meat inspector, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 
Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC), and Federal Veterinary Medical 
Officer (VMO).
    Veterinary shortage situations such as those listed above are 
eligible for consideration under Type III nomination. However, 
nominators should be aware that Congress has stipulated that the VMLRP 
must emphasize private food animal practice shortage situations. 
Accordingly, NIFA anticipates that loan repayments for the Public 
Practice sector will be limited to approximately 10 percent of total 
nominations and available funds.
    The minimum time commitment serving under a Type III shortage 
nomination is 49 percent. The nominator will specify the minimum 
percent time (between 49 percent and 100 percent) a veterinarian must 
commit in order to satisfactorily fill the specific nominated 
situation. NIFA understands that some public practice employment 
opportunities that are shortage situations may be part-time positions. 
For example, a veterinarian pursuing an advanced degree (in a shortage 
discipline area) on a part-time basis may also be employed by the 
university for the balance of the veterinarian's time to provide part-
time professional veterinary service(s) such as teaching, clinical 
service, or laboratory animal care that may or may not also qualify as 
veterinary shortage situations. The 49 percent minimum therefore 
provides flexibility to nominators wishing to certify public practice 
shortage situations that would be ineligible under more stringent 
minimum percent time requirements.

[[Page 77014]]

7. Written Response Sections
a. Importance and objectives of a veterinarian meeting this shortage 
situation
    Within the allowed word limit the nominator should clearly state 
overarching objectives the State hopes to achieve by placing a 
veterinarian in the nominated situation. Include the minimum percent 
time commitment (within the range of the shortage type selected) the 
awardee is expected to devote to filling the specific food supply 
veterinary shortage situation.
b. Activities of a veterinarian meeting this shortage situation
    Within the allowed word limit the nominator should clearly state 
the principal day-to-day professional activities that would have to be 
conducted in order to achieve the objectives described in a) above.
c. Past efforts to recruit and retain a veterinarian in the shortage 
situation
    Within the allowed word limit the nominator should explain any 
prior efforts to mitigate this veterinary service shortage and 
prospects for recruiting veterinarian(s) in the future.
d. Risk of this veterinarian position not being secured or retained
    Within the allowed word limit the nominator should explain the 
consequences of not addressing this veterinary shortage situation.
e. Specifying a different service time requirement (optional)
    Minimum percent FTE service obligated under the VMLRP is specified 
for each of the three shortage types. However, the nominator may 
indicate, in the box provided on page 2 of the nomination form, a 
greater percent FTE than the specified minimum, according to the 
following guidelines. For a Type I shortage, the minimum FTE obligation 
is 80%, but the nominator may specify up to 100% (100% FTE corresponds 
to 40 hrs/week). The minimum FTE obligation is 30% for Type II shortage 
situation, but the nominator may specify up to 79%. Higher percentages 
should be submitted as Type I shortages. The minimum FTE obligation is 
49% for Type III (public practice) shortage situations, but the 
nominator may specify up to 100%. An entry should be made in the box 
for specification of percent FTE if the percentage specified is other 
than the default minimum. Otherwise the box should be left blank. In 
assigning a percentage FTE, SAHOs should be cognizant of the impact 
this has on an eventual awardee. If the percentage is too high for an 
awardee to achieve, he or she could fall into breach status under the 
program and owe substantial financial penalties. NIFA requires formal 
quarterly certification that minimum service time was worked before 
each quarterly loan repayment is paid to the awardee's lender(s). 
Accordingly, NIFA advises that a nomination be submitted only if the 
SAHO is confident that an awardee can meet the default, or optionally 
specified, minimum FTE percentage each and every one of the 12 quarters 
(i.e, twelve 3-month periods) constituting the 3-year duration of 
service under the program.
f. Affirmation checkboxes
    SAHOs submitting shortage nominations should check both 
``affirmation'' boxes on the last page of the nomination form. These 
two affirmations provide assurance that submitting SAHOs understand the 
shortage nomination process and the importance of the SAHO having 
reasonable confidence that the nomination submitted describes a bona 
fide shortage area. The second assurance is particularly important to 
help avoid the placement of a VMLRP awardee where veterinary coverage 
already exists, and where undue competition could lead to insufficient 
clientele demand to support either the awardee or the veterinary 
practice originally serving the area.

C. NIFA Review of Shortage Situation Nominations

1. Review Panel Composition and Process
    NIFA will convene a panel of food supply veterinary medicine 
experts from Federal and state agencies, as well as institutions 
receiving Animal Health and Disease Research Program funds under 
section 1433 of NARETPA, who will review the nominations and make 
recommendations to the NIFA Program Manager. NIFA explored the 
possibility of including experts from non-governmental professional 
organizations and sectors for this process, but under NARETPA section 
1409A(e), panelists for the purposes of this process are limited to 
Federal and State agencies and cooperating state institutions (i.e., 
NARETPA section 1433 recipients).
    NIFA will review the panel recommendations and designate the VMLRP 
shortage situations. The list of shortage situations will be made 
available on the VMLRP Web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.
2. Review Criteria
    Criteria used by the shortage situation nomination review panel and 
NIFA for certifying a veterinary shortage situation will be consistent 
with the information requested in the shortage situations nomination 
form. NIFA understands that defining the risk landscape associated with 
shortages of veterinary services throughout a state is a process that 
may require consideration of many qualitative and quantitative factors. 
In addition, each shortage situation will be characterized by a 
different array of subjective and objective supportive information that 
must be developed into a cogent case identifying, characterizing, and 
justifying a given geographic or disciplinary area as one deficient in 
certain types of veterinary capacity or service. To accommodate the 
uniqueness of each shortage situation, the nomination form provides 
opportunities to present a case using both supportive metrics and 
narrative explanations to define and explain the proposed need. At the 
same time, the elements of the nomination form provide a common 
structure for the information collection process which will in turn 
facilitate fair comparison of the relative merits of each nomination by 
the evaluation panel.
    While NIFA anticipates some arguments made in support of a given 
shortage situation will be qualitative, respondents are encouraged to 
present verifiable quantitative and qualitative evidentiary information 
where ever possible. Absence of quantitative data such as animal and 
veterinarian census data for the proposed shortage area(s) may lead the 
panel to recommend not approving the shortage nomination.
    The maximum point value review panelists may award for each element 
is as follows:
    20 points: Describe the objectives of a veterinarian meeting this 
shortage situation as well as being located in the community, area, 
state/insular area, or position requested above.
    20 points: Describe the activities of a veterinarian meeting this 
shortage situation and being located in the community, area, state/
insular area, or position requested above.
    5 points: Describe any past efforts to recruit and retain a 
veterinarian in the shortage situation identified above.
    35 points: Describe the risk of this veterinarian position not 
being secured or retained. Include the risk(s) to the production of a 
safe and wholesome food supply and/or to animal, human, and 
environmental health not only in the community but in the region, 
state/

[[Page 77015]]

insular area, nation, and/or international community.
    An additional 20 points will be used to evaluate overall merit/
quality of the case made for each nomination.
    Prior to the panel being convened, shortage situation nominations 
will be evaluated and scored according to the established scoring 
system by a primary reviewer. When the panel convenes, the primary 
reviewer will present each nomination orally in summary form. After 
each presentation, panelists will have an opportunity, if necessary, to 
discuss the nomination, with the primary reviewer leading the 
discussion and recording comments. After the panel discussion is 
complete, any scoring revisions will be made by and at the discretion 
of the primary reviewer. The panel is then polled to recommend, or not 
recommend, the shortage situation for designation. Nominations scoring 
70 or higher by the primary reviewer (on a scale of 0 to 100), and 
receiving a simple majority vote in support of designation as a 
shortage situation will be ``recommended for designation as a shortage 
situation.'' Nominations scoring below 70 by the primary reviewer, and 
failure to achieve a simple majority vote in support of designation 
will be ``not recommended for designation as a shortage situation.'' In 
the event of a discrepancy between the primary reviewer's scoring and 
the panel poll results, the VMLRP program manager will be authorized to 
make the final determination on the nomination's designation.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 19th day of December, 2012.
Meryl Broussard,
Deputy Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2012-31407 Filed 12-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P