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Weekly Address — February 6, 2020

From the beautiful and busy hallways of your historic state Capitol, this is Senator Keith Ingram.

Livestock producers will tell you that we have a shortage of veterinarians in Arkansas. That’s one reason Arkansas State University is seriously exploring the idea of opening the state’s first Veterinary Medicine School.

The university hopes to enroll 120 students every year, and it would immediately initiate the process of having national veterinary programs accredit the school.

That means that graduates would be assured that their academic credentials are recognized nationwide.

ASU’s College of Agriculture supports the initiative, in large part because of the positive economic impact it would have on the east Arkansas agriculture industry.

The Farm Bureau supports the creation of the school, due to the current shortage of large animal veterinarians.

Actually, the shortage is not only a problem in Arkansas, but across much of the United States.

ASU has an agreement with a private firm with experience in veterinary medicine, and the school would be a public-private partnership. The private company, Adtelem Global Education, would help with capital expenses, operating costs and expertise with obtaining accreditation.

The exploratory committee has 180 days to determine the feasibility of a veterinary school, and the ASU chancellor is emphasizing that we’re still in the early days of the process.

Twenty-eight states have an accredited veterinary school, including all six states that border on Arkansas. It’s past time that we explored this exciting opportunity.

From the Capitol, it is always my greatest honor and most sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.


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