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Pick A Vet’s Brain On The Government’s Tab

“You can ask as many questions as you want regarding the animal’s and flock health, what you want to do, what you want to treat, what things you want to see – all those things that normally cost a lot.”

– MAMOON RASHID

Ever look around your farm and wish you could walk a vet around the place and ask questions about your operation and livestock? Now you can, because producers are eligible for up to $1,000 in funding under the On Farm Food Safety, Biosecurity and Traceability program of Growing Forward to cover confidential veterinary consultations.

That covers two visits up to a maximum of $500 each, a minimum of nine months apart.

“You can have a veterinarian come to your farm and all the costs including mileage and consultation fees will be covered,” said MAFRI sheep and goat specialist Mamoon Rashid, speaking at the Manitoba Sheep Association AGM last week.

The program, which aims to improve various aspects of farm production in those three areas, is aimed at providing incentives for sheep producers to establish a working relationship with a local veterinarian.

“Some producers, especially those with sheep and goats, don’t call the vet because they know that it’s going to cost them,” said Rashid.

“Once you have a relationship established, down the road if you need a prescription, you can get it over the phone. But the first step, getting a vet onto your farm, that’s what costs the most.”

Then, when the vet is standing in the barn, the farmer can ask as many questions as they wish.

To help keep the focus of discussion on flock health and to ensure that producers cover as many bases as possible, Rashid can provide a checklist for determining sheep flock health status.

The two-page document covers known sheep ailments such as Johne’s disease, caseous lymphadenitis, foot rot, brucellosis, scrapie, contagious abortions and external and internal parasites, as well as the risk level for each as assessed by the vet.

“You can ask as many questions as you want regarding the animal’s and flock health, what you want to do, what you want to treat, what things you want to see – all those things that normally cost a lot,” he said.

The program will not cover emergency visits, such as during lambing. All licensed vets in Manitoba who have received training are eligible under the program, he added.

Applicants must complete a short application form, which includes an Manitoba premises identification declaration, and submit it to their local MAFRI Go office. [email protected]

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