Understanding the Economics of Rural Veterinary Businesses

Veterinarians support both human health and animal health, which are interconnected in every locale. Veterinary businesses in rural areas also bolster rural economies and help maintain a safe food supply. Broadly speaking, however, rural veterinary businesses in the United States are in decline. Challenges to their economic viability put the nation’s food supply at risk.

Clinton L. Neill, Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, is investigating challenges to the commercial success of rural veterinary businesses as well as the contributions that veterinary businesses make to rural economies. As part of this project, researchers will evaluate the economic activity supported by rural veterinarians; identify areas in the United States that may experience shortages of veterinary services; evaluate policies that offer incentives to veterinarians to practice in rural areas; survey how a business’s decision to utilize advanced data services and its access to broadband internet affect the business’s competitiveness; compare prices for various veterinary services for companion animals in urban and rural areas; and assess differences in consumers’ willingness to pay for various services for companion animals in rural and urban markets.

This project will quantify the economic contributions that veterinary businesses make to rural communities. It will also characterize market forces and other factors that impact their economic success. Policymakers and stakeholders can use the findings of this research to develop effective strategies that sustain rural veterinary businesses and their roles in the United States economy and public health.

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$650 Thousand spanning 4 years

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