WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) President Dr. Rene Carlson and AVMA CEO Dr. Ron DeHaven today presented U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, D-SD, with the AVMA Advocacy Award. The Advocacy Award is presented to an individual recognized for his or her significant leadership and contributions to advancing AVMA's legislative agenda and for supporting the veterinary profession.
"The AVMA recognizes Senator Johnson for championing legislation that helps to protect animal health and welfare as well the veterinary medical profession," said Dr. Carlson. "As a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee he's ensured that funding has been allocated for vital food-safety, agriculture research, and animal-health and welfare programs. "AVMA greatly appreciates Senator Johnson's leadership and support for the veterinary community."
"It is an honor to be recognized for my work supporting the veterinary profession and South Dakota's agriculture sector," said Sen. Tim Johnson. "We are dealing with many pressing issues, but I am committed to pushing my bipartisan legislation to bring more veterinarians to rural areas because it is essential that our agriculture industry has access to quality animal care."
Senator Johnson is the lead sponsor of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act (VMLRP), S. 518, which would exempt loan repayment awards from federal income taxation. In exchange for signing a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to practice food animal medicine or public health in a federally designated veterinary shortage situation for three years, veterinarians participating in the program receive up to $25,000 annually to repay student loans. Presently VMLRP awards are taxed at 39 percent.
"Exempting the VMLRP awards from federal income taxation will lead to more communities having needed veterinary services sooner than they may otherwise. It will help to ensure that our nation's livestock are healthy, that our food supply is safe and secure, and our nation's public health is protected," said DeHaven, "Senator Johnson fully understands the important role veterinarians play in keeping our nation's animal agriculture economy strong, healthy and growing. He is a stalwart ally of the profession, and AVMA is proud to call him a friend."
For more information on AVMA's congressional activities, visit www.avma.org.
The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 81,500 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. The year 2011 is being celebrated by veterinarians around the world as Vet2011, the 250th anniversary of the birth of veterinary medicine and education.
SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association