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2019/2020 AABP Manage Your Rural Practice for Success Workshop Grants for Recent Food Animal Veterinary Graduates

In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $2.4 million in available funding to relieve veterinarian shortage situations through education, extension and training as well as support for veterinary practices in designated shortage areas. This funding was authorized by the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) in the 2014 Farm Bill and has been funded each year since 2014

In 2016 the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Veterinary Practice Sustainability (VPS) committee applied for and received a grant to fund the Next Generation Veterinary Practice Analysis Workshops initiated in 2017 and running through 2019.

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Veterinary Practice Sustainability (VPS) committee has received a second grant for more than $238,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) for a second two-year series of practice management workshops for recently graduated rural veterinarians. The VSGP is intended to relieve veterinarian shortage situations and support veterinary services in the United States.

The workshops are tailored for recent veterinary graduates who are looking to buy/build a practice, those needing help understanding practice finances, and those needing more instruction on human resources management. The grant will fund four Year One workshops (two in 2019, two in 2020) and four Year Two workshops (two in 2020, two in 2021) for 15 practitioners each during the next three years. These workshops are accretive and involve a commitment over a two-year period. Successful applicants will be required to complete pre-workshop assignments prior to each workshop. To be admitted to the first Year One workshop attendees should have graduated from a veterinary school since 2009. The workshops will be held in St Louis, MO.

Practitioners can be from or adjacent to designated Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) shortage areas (see VMLRP designated shortage area link in application below), or if not serving in or planning to serve in one of the designated VMLRP areas, they may indicate why the area they are serving in should be considered a shortage area. Shortage in this instance may be defined as an area where the veterinary needs of the clients are not fully being addressed to the fullest extent, using presently available technology and services.

Applicants who meet the criteria and are selected to attend will be awarded a $900 stipend for each of the two workshops in the series ($1800 total) to offset the cost of hotel and travel expenses. Additionally, there is no registration fee for the workshops for those applicants who meet the grant criteria and are selected. A limited number of seats are available at each workshop for a second person from the applicant’s practice to attend for a fee of $250 with no travel stipend awarded for the second person.

Attendees will be provided a certificate of completion after the two modules are completed.

Applications must be submitted online and are due by 5 p.m. (EST) December 15, 2018.

AABP Manage Your Rural Practice for Success Workshop Description

The AABP Next Generation Practice Analysis Workshops will consist of a series of two, three-day intensive workshops a year apart. The purpose of the workshops are to enable young, food-animal and mixed-animal oriented practitioners to understand practice finances and successfully manage and grow their business. At the workshops, participants will:

  • Learn to analyze practice cash-flows to determine profitability and identify trends
  • Use value proposition concepts to identify and assess current and future client needs
  • Use partial budgeting to gauge cash-flows, and establish timelines
  • Forecast to predict how cash-flows may change with new or existing services
  • Learn about practice valuation for sale, transition or buy-in
  • Learn about practice acquisition financing
  • Enhance their human resource management (HRM) skills in several areas of HRM including performance management and leadership in the business world.

Have an opportunity to share experiences and ideas with peers

Year One -- AABP Manage Your Rural Practice for Success Workshop

Year One Workshop: Pre-Workshop Activities
In order to assist workshop attendees in examining their financial data, all attendees will enter financial data into a spreadsheet that will be used to evaluate the financial performance and position of the practice they own or in which they practice. Most of the financial data will relate to profit/loss statements for the last three fiscal years. A limited amount of data will be needed from the balance sheets to calculate accounts receivable and inventory ratios. Attendees who do not have access to this information will be given mock financial records from a fictitious practice to participate in this exercise.

Attendees will also agree to participate in a pre-workshop conference call three to six weeks prior to the first workshop where they can ask questions and receive more information on pre-workshop homework.

Year One Workshop: Topics

Topics that will be addressed in the first two-day workshop are:

  • Introduction to fundamental bookkeeping principles and comparison of tax and managerial accounting.
  • Review of three years of financial and discovery of trends. Attendees as individuals and groups will review their practices' data, identifying trends and issues of concern. Attendees who do not have data from their practices will perform the same exercises on data from fictitious practices.
  • Development of a value proposition as a strategic management tool. As individuals and in breakout sessions each attendee will develop a value proposition, unique to his/her practice, that can be used as an ongoing strategic management tool.
  • Partial budgeting, development of timelines and breakeven points. As a group, attendees will participate in exercises to develop partial budgets and recognize their value in planning changes they may want to make in their practices. Attendees will be encouraged to develop or at least start to develop partial budgets for their practices
  • Development of metrics to evaluate progress, both of proposed changes as a single profit center and the impact on the overall practice’s financial performance.
  • Discussion on balance sheet metrics. Accounts receivable, turnover and inventory turnover ratios will be discussed and goals will be established.
  • Discussion of various metrics used to evaluate performance in food animal practice including billable hours.
  • Development of plan statements. Attendees will be asked to establish plan statements to implement in the next year. Issues relating to analysis of profit/loss patterns or trends, service needs or changes discovered in the value proposition analysis and needs discovered in the balance sheet analysis may be addressed in individual practice plan statements
  • Consultative marketing. Consultative marketing will be defined and will be described in detail.
  • Introductory HRM topics to be decided

Year One Workshop: Inter-Workshop Activity

To assist attendees to implement changes and deal with obstacles, a series of conference calls and email exchanges will be utilized to network between each workshop's attendees. Vehicles and frequency of communication will be tailored to each group's needs.

Year Two -- AABP Manage Your Rural Practice for Success Workshop

Year Two Workshop: Topics

  • Discussion of roles and importance of management staff and outside support staff in the management of a practice.
  • Practice valuation. The various means of valuing a practice will be presented and how changes to practice operation can influence that data. This will benefit both owners and potential buyers.
  • Feedback on how the processes learned in the Year One workshop were implemented in various practices.
  • Evaluate and share changes in the spreadsheet data since the first workshop.
  • Review value propositions by all attendees.
  • Review progress of the last year, including success and obstacles.
  • Expand on issues from the Year One workshop.
  • Review of results of plan statements
  • Redefine goals and plan statements for each practice.
  • Presentation of select human resource management issues including performance reviews, development of a mission statement and the situational leadership model.
  • Discuss where practices go from here.

Year Two Workshop: Follow-up Sessions 

In order to evaluate the success of the workshops and to assist attendees in going forward, follow-up conference calls will be held at three and six months after the second workshop. The first call will focus on the practice valuation homework assignments and the second call will focus on financial improvement seen by the practitioner. These calls will also be used to evaluate the success of the workshops. Attendees will be asked to complete a brief survey early in the year after the Year Two workshop indicating qualitatively and quantitatively how the workshops impacted their practices.

Applications must be submitted online before 5 p.m. (EST) December 15, 2018.

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