FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 9, 2023
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Bobbi Ann Brady is echoing the voices of local livestock groups in calling for the area to be part of the government’s recently announced Veterinary Incentive Program.
First announced in this spring’s budget, details of the Veterinary Incentive Program were released in late October when the intake opened. The program will provide grants of up to $50,000 over five years to veterinarians who care for livestock and poultry in northern and underserviced communities.
Brady heard of the shortage of large animal veterinarians locally during farm meetings this spring and during tours over the summer.
“This program is one step towards steering some of the Ontario Veterinary College graduates to large animal medicine instead of small animals,” Brady said, adding there is also a need for it in Haldimand-Norfolk.
She plans on communicating with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to rally for the inclusion in the program. The program could include incentives for up to 100 future vets.
Larry Chanda, a director with Norfolk Cattlemen’s Association, said it was good the program was launched for farmers in the north, but questioned why Haldimand-Norfolk wasn’t included.
“We in Norfolk are in the same situation,” he said. “We no longer have a large animal vet in Norfolk. Some raising cattle don’t have a vet (at all). We are as desperate here in Norfolk as those in some other areas.”
He said positions aren’t being filled as veterinarians are retiring. Many of those attending OVC specialize in small animal medicine.
Henk Lise, who raises broiler chickens near Hagersville, said the poultry veterinarian is nearing retirement.
“We need vets here in H-N 100 per cent. You throw in the breeders, the broilers, there’s a lot of poultry,” said Henk Lise, chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario Haldimand-Norfolk. “They want to farm the north but why not support the farmers farming right now.”
For more information, contact MPP Brady at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]