TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer, a long-time champion of measures that provide New Jersey farmers better access to veterinary medicine services, recently introduced a resolution supporting the newly-announced Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine.
The school, New Jersey’s first school of veterinary medicine, plans to welcome its inaugural class of 60 students in fall 2025 and will offer the state’s first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. There are currently only 33 institutions of higher education in the nation, and just five on the East Coast, that offer programs in veterinary sciences.
Rowan University’s announcement is a welcome one, said Dancer, in an agricultural-rich state that is hurting from a lack of veterinarians, particularly those who specialize in large animals like cows and horses.
“Rowan’s veterinary medicine school is an investment in our state’s agricultural future and a big win for farmers and people who desire a more affordable pathway to a degree,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “New Jersey, the Garden State, has more horses per square mile than any other state in the nation, but we have a shortage of veterinarians. That is largely because students have had to leave to pursue degrees, pay out-of-state tuition costs, and then often don’t return. If they do, they are more likely to choose lucrative small animal practices, even if they have an interest in large animals, just to pay off their schooling.”
Dancer also sponsors a bill (A323) that addresses the state’s shortage of large animal veterinarians by creating a school loan repayment program to incentivize graduates to practice in New Jersey for at least five years in a designated underserved area.
“Coupled with the new veterinary school, my bill will make it more financially viable for those interested in treating large animals to choose that area of practice,” Dancer added.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs for veterinarians, veterinary technicians and technologists will grow 16% between 2019 and 2029. As recently as May 2021, there were 18 positions open for every veterinarian seeking a job, six for every technician and assistant, and 12 for related positions.
In addition to the DVM degree, Rowan University is developing a graduate program in veterinary biomedical science, an accelerated DVM/MBA, bachelor’s degrees in veterinary studies and veterinary technology, as well as certificates and training pathways for veterinary technicians and assistants.
Dancer’s resolution states that “many graduates of the School of Veterinary Medicine will choose to work and establish practices in New Jersey, providing much-needed animal health care and contributing to the economic development of New Jersey’s communities.”
“Rowan’s veterinary school is a game changer in terms of meeting the state’s demands for animal medicine and skilled professionals and boosting New Jersey’s food and agriculture industry,” Dancer said. “My resolution is a legislative gesture of support for their efforts and recognizes the importance of advancing veterinary medicine in New Jersey.”