At its regular council meeting Nov. 22, Northern Sunrise County extended its contract with V.S.I. Services Ltd.
The program was created to help livestock producers with the cost of veterinary services for cattle, swine, goats, and sheep within contracted municipalities.
“It helps ranchers to have access to reduced cost of required veterinary services for animal health,” says Reeve Corinna Williams.
“We hope this encourages large animal veterinarians to stay in the rural areas for the benefit of our local producers,” she adds.
Williams explains the agreement in 2022 was $19,000 but has been reduced to $16,500 for 2023. Council has been assisting ranchers with the program since at least 1997, when they have records of providing it, but they believe it has been in existence longer.
“For county livestock producers and ranchers, it is a 50/50 split for the services that are covered under the agreement,” says Williams.
“The County provides the annual funding, and it is administered from there. The producer is responsible for half of the cost.”
Ranchers can go to their local municipal office to see if their county or municipal district partakes in the VSI Services program. Assisted veterinary services can include things like clinic outpatient fees, epidurals, some injections, stall fees, oral drug administration, and a list of other medical procedures that will all be provided by the municipality when the rancher applies for the card.
“Animal health is important to the success of ranchers in the county,” says Willilams.
“Providing assistance to reduce the cost of veterinary services helps to ensure this success.”
County of Northern Lights, Northern Sunrise County, and the municipal districts of Smoky River No. 130 and Peace No. 13 all utilize the same fee structure. There is a maximum $2,500 coverage per V.S.I. participant each calendar year in the M.D. of Smoky River.
There are some exclusions to coverage areas including things like castrations, dehorning, dockings, embryo transplants, scrotal or umbilical hernias, and a list of other common procedures done on a ranch. A complete list will be provided to the rancher when they get their card from their municipality.
The municipal contract with V.S.I. Services Ltd. is reviewed annually by the municipal councils.