Solicitation of Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), 42270-42273 [2017-18927]

Download as PDF 42270 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 172 / Thursday, September 7, 2017 / Notices oral statement should request in writing by September 12, 2017, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time to make oral comments must be sent to Brad Bolton, Designated Federal Officer, 107 McKinley Road, Mio, Michigan 48647; by email to blbolton@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 989–826–6073. Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices, or other reasonable accommodation. For access to the facility or proceedings, please contact the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis. Dated: July 5, 2017. Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–18949 Filed 9–6–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Nevada and Placer Counties Resource Advisory Committee Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: The Nevada and Placer Counties Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Truckee, California. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (the Act) as reauthorized by Public Law 114–10 and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. RAC information can be found at the following Web site: http:// cloudapps-usda-gov.force.com/FSSRS/ RAC_Page?id=001t0000002JcwUAAS. DATES: The meeting will be held on Monday, September 25, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. mstockstill on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:42 Sep 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 The meeting will be held at the Truckee Ranger Station, Conference Room, 10811 Stockrest Springs Road, Truckee, California. Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at Truckee Ranger Station. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Woodbridge, RAC Coordinator, by phone at 530–478–6205 or via email at mjwoodbridge@fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the meeting is to: 1. Welcome and oriententation of members, 2. Federal Advisory Committee Act overview, 3. Development of project ranking citeria and voting process, 4. Elect a RAC chairperson, 5. Project proponent presentations, and 6. Review and selection of project proposals. The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should submit a request in writing at least one week prior to the meeting to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time to make oral comments must be sent to Michael Woodbridge, RAC Coordinator, 631 Coyote Street, Nevada City, California 95959; by email to mjwoodbridge@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 530–478–6109. Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices, or other reasonable accommodation. For access to the facility or proceedings, please contact the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: July 17, 2017. Jeanne M. Higgins, Acting Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–18948 Filed 9–6–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–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) 2018, as authorized under the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA). This notice initiates the nomination period and prescribes the procedures and criteria to be used by eligible nominating officials (State, Insular Area, DC and Federal Lands) to nominate veterinary shortage situations. Each year all eligible nominating officials 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 an approved information collection (OMB Control Number 0524–0050). DATES: Shortage situation nominations must be submitted on or before October 20, 2017. ADDRESSES: Submissions must be made by clicking the submit button on the Veterinarian Shortage Situation nomination form provided in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section of the NIFA Web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. This form is sent as a data file directly to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Robinson; National Program Leader; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Stop 2240; 1400 Independence Avenue SW.; Washington, DC 20250–2220; Voice: 202–401–1990; Fax: 202–401–6156; Email: vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07SEN1.SGM 07SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 172 / Thursday, September 7, 2017 / Notices SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background and Purpose Food supply veterinary medicine embraces a broad array of veterinary professional activities, specialties and responsibilities, and is defined as all aspects of veterinary medicine’s involvement in food supply systems, from traditional agricultural production to consumption. A series of studies and reports 1 2 3 4 5 6 have drawn attention to maldistributions in the veterinary workforce leaving some communities, especially rural areas, with insufficient access to food supply veterinary services. Two programs, born out of this concern, aim to mitigate the maldistribution of the veterinary workforce: The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP), both administered by USDA– NIFA. VMLRP addresses increasing veterinary school debt by offering veterinary school debt payments in exchange for service in shortage situations, while VSGP addresses other factors contributing to the maldistribution of veterinarians serving the agricultural sector. Specifically, the VSGP promotes availability and access to (1) specialized education and training which will enable veterinarians and veterinary technicians to provide services in designated veterinarian shortage situations, and (2) practiceenhancing equipment and personnel resources to enable veterinary practices to expand or improve access to veterinary services. mstockstill on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations (5 CFR part 1320) that 1 Government Accountability Office, Veterinary Workforce: Actions Are Needed to Ensure Sufficient Capacity for Protecting Public and Animal Health, GAO–09–178: Feb 18, 2009). 2 National Academies of Science, Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine, 2013. 3 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition Report: Estimating FSM Demand and Maintaining the Availability of Veterinarians in Food Supply Related Disciplines in the United States and Canada, 2016. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/ Reference/Pages/Food-Supply-Veterinary-MedicineCoalition-Report.aspx. 4 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Future demand, probable shortages and strategies for creating a better future in food supply veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 229(1):57–69. 5 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Attracting students to careers in food supply veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 228(1):16931704. 6 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Job satisfaction, changes in occupational area and commitment to a career in food supply veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 228(12):1884–1893. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:42 Sep 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 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 0524–0050. Table of Contents 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. State Allocation of Nominations 4. FY 2018 Shortage Situation Nomination Process 5. Submission and Due Date 6. Period Covered 7. Definitions B. Nomination Form 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. Section 7104 of the 2014 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 113–79) added section 1415B to NARETPA, as amended, (7 U.S.C. 3151b) to establish the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP). This amendment authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to make competitive grants to qualified entities and individual veterinarians that carry out programs in veterinarian shortage situations and for the purpose of developing, implementing, and sustaining veterinary services. Funding for the VSGP was first appropriated in FY 2016 through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114–113). 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 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 42271 hereby implements guidelines for eligible nominating officials to nominate veterinary shortage situations for the FY 2018 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 the Food, Conservation and Energy Act, directs determination of veterinarian shortage situations for the VMLRP 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. 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. A subset of the shortages designated for VMLRP applicants are also available to satisfy requirements, as applicable, for VSGP applicants. In addition, a shortage situation under the VSGP must also be designated rural as defined in section 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)). Nominations describing either public or private practice veterinary shortage situations are eligible for submission. 2. State Respondents and Use of Consultation The only authorized respondent on behalf of each State is the chief State Animal Health Official (SAHO), as duly authorized by the Governor or the Governor’s designee in each State. The eligible nominating official must submit nominations using the instructions provided in section A.4, FY 2018 Shortage Situation Nomination Process. NIFA strongly encourages the SAHO to involve leading health animal experts in the State in the identification and prioritization of shortage situation nominations. E:\FR\FM\07SEN1.SGM 07SEN1 42272 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 172 / Thursday, September 7, 2017 / Notices mstockstill on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES 3. State Allocation of Nominations NIFA will accept the number of nominations equivalent to the maximum number of designated shortage areas for each State. For historical background and more information on the rationale for capping nominations and State allocation method, visit https://nifa.usda.gov/ vmlrp-nomination-and-designationveterinary-shortage-situations. The maximum number of nominations (and potential designations) is based on data from the 2012 Agricultural Census conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Awards from previous years have no bearing on a State’s maximum number of allowable shortage nomination submissions or designations in any given year, or number of nominations or designations allowed 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 that priority is given to mitigating veterinary shortages corresponding to situations of greatest need. Nomination Allocation tables for FY 2018 are available under the VMLRP Shortage Situations section of the VMLRP Web site at https:// nifa.usda.gov/resource/vmlrp-shortageallocations. Table I lists the maximum nomination allocations by State. Table II lists ‘‘Special Consideration Areas’’ which include any State or Insular Area not reporting data to NASS, reporting less than $1,000,000 in annual Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($), and/ or possessing less than 500,000 acres. One nomination is allocated to any State or Insular Area classified as a Special Consideration Area. Table III shows the values and 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 maximum number of NIFAdesignated shortage situations per State is based on the sum of quartile rankings for LPTS and LA for each State and can be found in Table IV. 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:42 Sep 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 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 of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or designee) may submit nominations to address shortage situations on or related to Federal Lands. NIFA emphasizes that the shortage nomination allocation is set to broadly balance the number of designated shortage situations across States prior to the nomination and award phases of the VMLRP and VSGP. Awards will be made based strictly on the peer review panels’ assessment according to each program’s review criteria; thus no State will be given a preference for placement of awardees. Additionally, each designated shortage situation will be limited to one award per program. 4. FY 2018 Shortage Situation Nomination Process For the FY 2018 program cycle, all eligible nominating officials submitting may: (1) Request to retain designated status for any shortage situation successfully designated in FY 2017 and/ or (2) submit new nominations. Any shortage from FY 2017 not retained or submitted as a new nomination will not be considered a shortage situation in FY 2018. The total number of new nominations plus designated nominations retained (carried over) may not exceed the maximum number of nominations each eligible nominating official is permitted. The following process is the mechanism for retaining a designated nomination: Each SAHO should review the map of VMLRP designated shortage situations for FY 2017 (https:// go.usa.gov/xRP2U) and download a PDF copy of the nomination form for each designated area that remains open (not awarded) in FY 2017. If the SAHO wishes to retain (carry over) one or more designated nomination(s), the SAHO shall copy and paste the prior year information into the current year’s nomination form and select ‘‘SUBMIT’’. Both new and retained nominations must be submitted on the Veterinary Shortage Situation Nomination form provided in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section at https:// nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-shortage-situations. Nominations retained (carried over) will be designated without review unless major changes in content are PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 identified during administrative processing or the shortage has been retained for three years. Major changes in content or shortages already retained for three consecutive years will be treated as new submissions and undergo merit review. 5. Submission and Due Date Submissions must be made by clicking the submit button on the Veterinarian Shortage Situation nomination form provided in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section at https://nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-shortagesituations. This form is sent as a data file directly to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Shortage situation nominations. Both new and retained (carry-over) nominations must be submitted on or before October 20, 2017. 6. Period Covered Each shortage situation is approved for one program year cycle only. However, any previously approved shortage situation not filled in a given program year may be resubmitted as a retained (carry-over) nomination. Retained (carry-over) shortage nominations (without any revisions) will be automatically approved for up to three years before requiring another merit review. By resubmitting a carryover nomination, the SAHO is affirming that in his or her professional judgment the original case made for shortage status, and the original description of needs, remain current and accurate. 7. 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 The VMLRP Shortage Nomination Form must be used to nominate veterinarian shortage situations. Once designated as a shortage situation, VMLRP applicants will use the information to select shortage situations they are willing and qualified to fill, and to guide the preparation of their applications. NIFA will use the information to assess contractual compliance of awardees. The form is available in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section at https:// nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-shortage-situations. See Part II A. 5. for submission information. Detailed directions for each field can be found at https:// nifa.usda.gov/resource/vmlrp- E:\FR\FM\07SEN1.SGM 07SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 172 / Thursday, September 7, 2017 / Notices veterinarian-shortage-situationnomination-form-form-nifa-2009-0001. C. NIFA Review of Shortage Situation Nominations mstockstill on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES 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, to review the nominations and make recommendations to the NIFA Program Manager. NIFA will review the panel’s recommendations and designate the VMLRP shortage situations. The list of approved 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 the process for defining the risk landscape associated veterinary service shortages within a State 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 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. 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 wherever possible. Absence of quantitative data such as animal and veterinarian census data for the proposed shortage area(s) may lead the panel to recommend disapproval of the shortage nomination. The maximum point value that panelists may award for each element is as follows: 20 points: Describe the objectives of a veterinarian to meet the needs of the shortage situation in the community, area, State/insular area, or position requested above. 20 points: Describe the activities required of a veterinarian to meet the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:42 Sep 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 needs of the shortage situation located in the community, area, State/insular area, or position requested above. 5 points: Describe any past efforts to recruit and retain a veterinarian to achieve the objectives and activities in the shortage situation identified above. 35 points: Describe the risk of this veterinarian position not being filled 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/ 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. Done in Washington, DC, this day of August 31, 2017. Robert Holland, Associate Director for Operations, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. [FR Doc. 2017–18927 Filed 9–6–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection Rural Housing Service, USDA. Proposed collection; comments requested. AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Rural Housing Service’s intention to request an extension for a currently approved information collection in support of the program for Fire and Rescue Loans. DATES: Comments on this notice must be received by November 6, 2017 to be assured of consideration. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anita Outen, Community Programs Division, RHS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stop 0787, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–0787. Telephone (202) 690–5273. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Fire and Rescue Loans. OMB Number: 0575–0120. Expiration Date of Approval: January 31, 2018. Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved information collection. Abstract: The Fire and Rescue Loan program is authorized by Section 306 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1926) to SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 42273 make loans to public entities, nonprofit corporations, and Indian tribes for the development of community facilities for public use in rural areas and is covered by 7 CFR 1942–C. The primary regulation for administering the Community Facilities program is 7 CFR 1942–A (OMB Number 0575–0015) that outlines eligibility, project feasibility, security, and monitoring requirements. The Community Facilities fire and rescue program has been in existence for many years. This program has financed a wide range of fire and rescue projects varying in size and complexity from construction of a fire station with fire fighting and rescue equipment to financing a 911 emergency system. These facilities are designed to provide fire protection and emergency rescue services to rural communities. Information will be collected by the field offices from applicants, borrowers, and consultants. This information will be used to determine applicant/ borrower eligibility, project feasibility, and to ensure borrowers operate on a sound basis and use funds for authorized purposes. Failure to collect proper information could result in improper determination of eligibility, improper use of funds, and/or unsound loans. Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 2.15 hours per response. Respondents: Not-for-profit institutions, State, local, or tribal governments. Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,970. Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 4.06. Estimated Number of Responses: 12,058. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 25,925 hours. Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Jeanne Jacobs, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, (202) 692–0040. Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Rural Housing Service (RHS), including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of RHS’ estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including E:\FR\FM\07SEN1.SGM 07SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 172 (Thursday, September 7, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 42270-42273]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-18927]


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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) 2018, as authorized under the National Veterinary Medical Services 
Act (NVMSA). This notice initiates the nomination period and prescribes 
the procedures and criteria to be used by eligible nominating officials 
(State, Insular Area, DC and Federal Lands) to nominate veterinary 
shortage situations.
    Each year all eligible nominating officials 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 an approved information collection (OMB Control 
Number 0524-0050).

DATES: Shortage situation nominations must be submitted on or before 
October 20, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Submissions must be made by clicking the submit button on 
the Veterinarian Shortage Situation nomination form provided in the 
VMLRP Shortage Situations section of the NIFA Web site at 
www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.
    This form is sent as a data file directly to the Veterinary 
Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Robinson; National Program 
Leader; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of 
Agriculture; Stop 2240; 1400 Independence Avenue SW.; Washington, DC 
20250-2220; Voice: 202-401-1990; Fax: 202-401-6156; Email: 
vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov.

[[Page 42271]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background and Purpose

    Food supply veterinary medicine embraces a broad array of 
veterinary professional activities, specialties and responsibilities, 
and is defined as all aspects of veterinary medicine's involvement in 
food supply systems, from traditional agricultural production to 
consumption. A series of studies and reports 1 2 3 4 5 6 
have drawn attention to maldistributions in the veterinary workforce 
leaving some communities, especially rural areas, with insufficient 
access to food supply veterinary services.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Government Accountability Office, Veterinary Workforce: 
Actions Are Needed to Ensure Sufficient Capacity for Protecting 
Public and Animal Health, GAO-09-178: Feb 18, 2009).
    \2\ National Academies of Science, Workforce Needs in Veterinary 
Medicine, 2013.
    \3\ Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Food Supply Veterinary 
Medicine Coalition Report: Estimating FSM Demand and Maintaining the 
Availability of Veterinarians in Food Supply Related Disciplines in 
the United States and Canada, 2016. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Food-Supply-Veterinary-Medicine-Coalition-Report.aspx.
    \4\ Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Future demand, probable 
shortages and strategies for creating a better future in food supply 
veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 229(1):57-69.
    \5\ Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Attracting students to 
careers in food supply veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 
228(1):16931704.
    \6\ Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Job satisfaction, changes 
in occupational area and commitment to a career in food supply 
veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 228(12):1884-1893.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two programs, born out of this concern, aim to mitigate the 
maldistribution of the veterinary workforce: The Veterinary Medicine 
Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and Veterinary Services Grant Program 
(VSGP), both administered by USDA-NIFA. VMLRP addresses increasing 
veterinary school debt by offering veterinary school debt payments in 
exchange for service in shortage situations, while VSGP addresses other 
factors contributing to the maldistribution of veterinarians serving 
the agricultural sector. Specifically, the VSGP promotes availability 
and access to (1) specialized education and training which will enable 
veterinarians and veterinary technicians to provide services in 
designated veterinarian shortage situations, and (2) practice-enhancing 
equipment and personnel resources to enable veterinary practices to 
expand or improve access to veterinary services.

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 0524-0050.

Table of Contents 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. State Allocation of Nominations
    4. FY 2018 Shortage Situation Nomination Process
    5. Submission and Due Date
    6. Period Covered
    7. Definitions
    B. Nomination Form
    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.
    Section 7104 of the 2014 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 113-79) added section 
1415B to NARETPA, as amended, (7 U.S.C. 3151b) to establish the 
Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP). This amendment authorizes the 
Secretary of Agriculture to make competitive grants to qualified 
entities and individual veterinarians that carry out programs in 
veterinarian shortage situations and for the purpose of developing, 
implementing, and sustaining veterinary services. Funding for the VSGP 
was first appropriated in FY 2016 through the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113).
    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 eligible nominating officials to nominate 
veterinary shortage situations for the FY 2018 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 
the Food, Conservation and Energy Act, directs determination of 
veterinarian shortage situations for the VMLRP 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.
    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.
    A subset of the shortages designated for VMLRP applicants are also 
available to satisfy requirements, as applicable, for VSGP applicants. 
In addition, a shortage situation under the VSGP must also be 
designated rural as defined in section 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm 
and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)).
    Nominations describing either public or private practice veterinary 
shortage situations are eligible for submission.
2. State Respondents and Use of Consultation
    The only authorized respondent on behalf of each State is the chief 
State Animal Health Official (SAHO), as duly authorized by the Governor 
or the Governor's designee in each State. The eligible nominating 
official must submit nominations using the instructions provided in 
section A.4, FY 2018 Shortage Situation Nomination Process. NIFA 
strongly encourages the SAHO to involve leading health animal experts 
in the State in the identification and prioritization of shortage 
situation nominations.

[[Page 42272]]

3. State Allocation of Nominations
    NIFA will accept the number of nominations equivalent to the 
maximum number of designated shortage areas for each State. For 
historical background and more information on the rationale for capping 
nominations and State allocation method, visit https://nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-nomination-and-designation-veterinary-shortage-situations.
    The maximum number of nominations (and potential designations) is 
based on data from the 2012 Agricultural Census conducted by the USDA 
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Awards from previous 
years have no bearing on a State's maximum number of allowable shortage 
nomination submissions or designations in any given year, or number of 
nominations or designations allowed 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 that priority is given to 
mitigating veterinary shortages corresponding to situations of greatest 
need. Nomination Allocation tables for FY 2018 are available under the 
VMLRP Shortage Situations section of the VMLRP Web site at https://nifa.usda.gov/resource/vmlrp-shortage-allocations.
    Table I lists the maximum nomination allocations by State. Table II 
lists ``Special Consideration Areas'' which include any State or 
Insular Area not reporting data to NASS, reporting less than $1,000,000 
in annual Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($), and/or 
possessing less than 500,000 acres. One nomination is allocated to any 
State or Insular Area classified as a Special Consideration Area.
    Table III shows the values and 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 maximum number of NIFA-designated 
shortage situations per State is based on the sum of quartile rankings 
for LPTS and LA for each State and can be found in Table IV.
    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 of the Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service or designee) may submit nominations 
to address shortage situations on or related to Federal Lands.
    NIFA emphasizes that the shortage nomination allocation is set to 
broadly balance the number of designated shortage situations across 
States prior to the nomination and award phases of the VMLRP and VSGP. 
Awards will be made based strictly on the peer review panels' 
assessment according to each program's review criteria; thus no State 
will be given a preference for placement of awardees. Additionally, 
each designated shortage situation will be limited to one award per 
program.
4. FY 2018 Shortage Situation Nomination Process
    For the FY 2018 program cycle, all eligible nominating officials 
submitting may: (1) Request to retain designated status for any 
shortage situation successfully designated in FY 2017 and/or (2) submit 
new nominations. Any shortage from FY 2017 not retained or submitted as 
a new nomination will not be considered a shortage situation in FY 
2018. The total number of new nominations plus designated nominations 
retained (carried over) may not exceed the maximum number of 
nominations each eligible nominating official is permitted.
    The following process is the mechanism for retaining a designated 
nomination: Each SAHO should review the map of VMLRP designated 
shortage situations for FY 2017 (https://go.usa.gov/xRP2U) and download 
a PDF copy of the nomination form for each designated area that remains 
open (not awarded) in FY 2017. If the SAHO wishes to retain (carry 
over) one or more designated nomination(s), the SAHO shall copy and 
paste the prior year information into the current year's nomination 
form and select ``SUBMIT''.
    Both new and retained nominations must be submitted on the 
Veterinary Shortage Situation Nomination form provided in the VMLRP 
Shortage Situations section at https://nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-shortage-situations.
    Nominations retained (carried over) will be designated without 
review unless major changes in content are identified during 
administrative processing or the shortage has been retained for three 
years. Major changes in content or shortages already retained for three 
consecutive years will be treated as new submissions and undergo merit 
review.
5. Submission and Due Date
    Submissions must be made by clicking the submit button on the 
Veterinarian Shortage Situation nomination form provided in the VMLRP 
Shortage Situations section at https://nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-shortage-situations.
    This form is sent as a data file directly to the Veterinary 
Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Shortage situation 
nominations. Both new and retained (carry-over) nominations must be 
submitted on or before October 20, 2017.
6. Period Covered
    Each shortage situation is approved for one program year cycle 
only. However, any previously approved shortage situation not filled in 
a given program year may be resubmitted as a retained (carry-over) 
nomination. Retained (carry-over) shortage nominations (without any 
revisions) will be automatically approved for up to three years before 
requiring another merit review. By resubmitting a carry-over 
nomination, the SAHO is affirming that in his or her professional 
judgment the original case made for shortage status, and the original 
description of needs, remain current and accurate.
7. 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

    The VMLRP Shortage Nomination Form must be used to nominate 
veterinarian shortage situations. Once designated as a shortage 
situation, VMLRP applicants will use the information to select shortage 
situations they are willing and qualified to fill, and to guide the 
preparation of their applications. NIFA will use the information to 
assess contractual compliance of awardees. The form is available in the 
VMLRP Shortage Situations section at https://nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-shortage-situations. See Part II A. 5. for submission information. 
Detailed directions for each field can be found at https://
nifa.usda.gov/resource/vmlrp-

[[Page 42273]]

veterinarian-shortage-situation-nomination-form-form-nifa-2009-0001.

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, to review the nominations and make 
recommendations to the NIFA Program Manager. NIFA will review the 
panel's recommendations and designate the VMLRP shortage situations. 
The list of approved 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 the process for defining the risk landscape 
associated veterinary service shortages within a State 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 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.
    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 
wherever possible. Absence of quantitative data such as animal and 
veterinarian census data for the proposed shortage area(s) may lead the 
panel to recommend disapproval of the shortage nomination.
    The maximum point value that panelists may award for each element 
is as follows:
    20 points: Describe the objectives of a veterinarian to meet the 
needs of the shortage situation in the community, area, State/insular 
area, or position requested above.
    20 points: Describe the activities required of a veterinarian to 
meet the needs of the shortage situation located in the community, 
area, State/insular area, or position requested above.
    5 points: Describe any past efforts to recruit and retain a 
veterinarian to achieve the objectives and activities in the shortage 
situation identified above.
    35 points: Describe the risk of this veterinarian position not 
being filled 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/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.

     Done in Washington, DC, this day of August 31, 2017.
Robert Holland,
Associate Director for Operations, National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2017-18927 Filed 9-6-17; 8:45 am]
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