Large-animal veterinary services can be lacking, even in rural counties that contain large numbers of livestock. Nationwide, 1,300 counties have less than 1 farm veterinarian per 25,000 animals. Average, one-way drive times from the veterinarian’s office to a farm can be more than 90 minutes. This coupled with an average livestock inventory of 30 animal units per farm, make the cost preventative veterinary care visits high on a per animal basis, discouraging small, part-time producers from establishing an on-going relationship with a veterinarian. Without an established relationship, veterinarians are reluctant to make emergency calls that can easily take 4 or more hours, mostly in travel time. The educational approach to solve this problem is to use town-hall type activities to reach as many small, part-time producers as possible (600 goal) and 1) provide education on the benefits routine preventative veterinary care and 2) gather information regarding the current state of veterinary support and willingness to make management decisions to improve access to veterinary care. As need and willingness from the initial group of producers is assessed, they will be targeted to participate in on-farm learning demonstrations followed by recruitment to form a producer pools. Producer pools will consist of 3 to 6 farms located within approximately 5 miles of each other and provide 100 to 200 animal units to attract veterinarian support with a reasonable per head per visit cost. The initial group of producers will also be assessed about their willingness to use smartphone technology to sustain Veterinarain-Client-Patient-Relationships (VCPR), by providing a means to assess animal conditions before investing in an expensive emergency on-farm visit. The technology will provide a mechanism for a producer to provide a description, vital statistics, and video to a veterinarian’s clinic where the information will be immediately available for assessment and recommendations. Ultimate goal is for 100 producers to participate in preventative veterinarian care pooled visits and another 100 producers to adopt smartphone technology to interact with their veterinarian.
One hundred (100) livestock producers, averaging 30 animal units each, will schedule preventative veterinary services for brood stock. Twenty (20) pools consisting of 5 producers each will schedule 2 preventative veterinary care visits: 1) to administer vaccinations and 2) to pregnancy check brood cows.
A media campaign lead by the WVU Extension Service will generate interest in the veterinary care crisis and stimulate attendance at town-hall type meetings and on-farm demonstration programs. Our strategy is to use attendees at various educational programs to form the nucleus of producers that will ultimately lead producer pools to coordinate preventative veterinary care visits and also to lead the use of the newly developed smartphone application in preventative veterinary care protocol. Educational program topics include 1) the economic value of a veterinarian/client relationship, 2) the value of quality assurance programs such as Beef Quality Assurance in livestock care and marketing, 3) business management systems that apply to both farm operations and veterinary clinics, and 4) applying pooling principles used in livestock marketing programs to entice veterinarians to work with small-herd livestock producers. Educational topics specific to producers for the smartphone application will include 1) downloading and operating applications, 2) entering data and taking videos, 3) selecting the veterinarian and sending data, 4) receiving data and instruction from veterinarian, and 5) acknowledging and clarifying the veterinarian’s instructions. Additional topics specific to veterinarians will include receiving input from producers, opening the data file, sending replies to clients.
1. Six hundred livestock producers will learn about the interactive, hands-on educational opportunities to empower their establishment of routine, preventative veterinary care and receive a 20 question survey designed to determine demographics and attitude towards preventative veterinary care. (Nov 2017 - Jan 2018)
Planning and organizational meetings were scheduled with the co-investigators of the grant on November 1, 2017; in-service presentation to all county agricultural extension agents in the state on November 15, 2017; and as a poster session to the collaborating members of the WV Cattlemen’s Association on December 1 and 2, 2017.
Final funding documents were competed in mid-October so completion dates of this milestone is delayed until March 31, 2018. After funding activities were finalized town-hall type events using previously scheduled meetings of conservation agencies, extension conferences, and extension educational events were used to educate 54 producers on the scope of the project and complete the verification tool and survey.
2. Two-hundred livestock producers will learn the use of a smartphone application designed to allow veterinarians to prioritize on-site visits, diagnose and direct treatment remotely, document veterinarian-client relationships and increase number of clientele served. (Nov 2017 - Jan 2018)
3. One hundred of those that receive instruction will initiate contact with a veterinarian using the smartphone application. (Feb - Jun 2018)
4. One-hundred fifty livestock producers will attend an on-farm demonstration program designed to educate livestock producers on the essential planning factors required to facilitate a successful preventative veterinary service call. Demonstrations will include biosecurity measures, injection protocols, pregnancy checks, and breeding soundness examinations (Apr – Aug 2018)
5. Twenty livestock producers will coordinate preventative veterinary care pools with four other livestock producers and one veterinarian (20 coordinators plus 80 cooperators = 100 total livestock producers) and complete a 20 question survey designed to determine changes in demographics or attitude towards preventative veterinary care. (Aug 2018 – Jun 2019)
Milestone Activities and Participation Summary
Willingness to use Android-based smartphone application to interact with veterinarian/producer. For farmers this was determined based on answer to Question #21 on initial survey tool. For service providers (veterinarians) this was from one-on-one interview.