Improving veterinary care for organic livestock producers

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Project Description: 
This project will survey organic livestock producers in Iowa to assess the quality of available veterinary care and develop recommendations to improve veterinary outreach and education.
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Lead Investigator: 
Betty L. Wells
Lead Investigator Affiliation: 
ISU Sociology
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Lead Investigator Bio: 

Betty Wells is professor and extension sociologist at Iowa State. Her expertise is in cross-cultural applications of community development programming, gender relations in agricultural organizations and institutions, and rural women's networks.

Jennifer O'Neill is a graduate student in Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. The proposed research project will serve as Ms. O'Neill's graduate study thesis.

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Jennifer O'Neill, Viroqua, Wisconsin

Organic producers and Iowa veterinarians were questioned about the existing veterinary systems and care available to organic livestock producers.

Key Question: 

How well does the current system of veterinary care fit the needs of organic livestock producers in Iowa, and how might the fit be improved?


The answers to those questions varied from one stakeholder group to the next. Most producers were satisfied with the availability of veterinary services and reported a large degree of independence in dealing with herd health challenges. In contrast, the veterinarians pointed out a variety of health concerns possible on organic farms and stressed the importance of veterinary involvement in those systems. They also indicated overwhelmingly that suitable information was either unavailable or difficult to access.

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