Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the M.D. of Smoky River will be setting a $2,500 cap on the benefits livestock producers will be allowed to claim under VSI each year.
The M.D. Council made this decision to control costs under the program. Likely many of you have no idea what VSI is and if this change will affect you, so allow me to explain. VSI is Veterinary Services Incorporated, it is a program offered to Livestock producers in 12 of 13 rural Peace Region municipalities, as well as several other municipalities outside the Peace Region.
The program helps offset veterinarian costs for certain procedures on cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. There is no cost to the producer to have a VSI number, and the program pays for 50 per cent of certain vet costs.
However, if costs exceed the annual amount budgeted by the M.D. for VSI, the M.D. may request repayment of the overage on a pro-rated basis; i.e. if one producer received $2,000 benefit and the program was 15 per cent over budget, that producer might be asked to reimburse $300.
If another producer received $600 from the program, they would be asked to reimburse $90. The $2,500 cap for producers is another way the M.D. is trying to keep costs down, while still being able to offer the program.
The M.D. reviewed how other municipalities curb costs, some have an overall cap in place, others limit the number of specific procedures a producer can use (i.e. how many bull semen tests), council decided the fairest and simplest way was to set an overall cap.
VSI doesn’t only help keep veterinary costs affordable for livestock producers by offsetting costs; it’s also a way for the rural municipalities to negotiate with participating veterinarians to set costs for procedures covered under the program. All veterinarians who participate under the program agree to a set fee structure.
The program also encourages producers to use veterinary services by keeping costs lower, this helps protect the livestock industry to the benefit of all producers, and people who depend on a healthy livestock industry.
M.D. council amended the VSI Policy and the agreement which producers enter into to acquire a VSI number. The M.D. will be sending updated agreements for signature to all livestock producers who ýcurrently have a VSI number.
If you are a livestock producer raising cattle, pigs, sheep or goats in the M.D. of Smoky River and you don’t have a VSI number, contact me if you’d like one.
Contact me at (780) 837-0043 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding VSI or other M.D. of Smoky River agricultural programs.