Nebraska veterinary practitioners were surveyed to collect data about background characteristics and other factors related to veterinarians' decision to include or not include food animals in their practices and to practice in rural versus urban communities. Background characteristics that were significantly (p≤0.05) associated with choosing food-animal practice included growing up on a working farm or ranch; having parents who owned livestock; growing up in a town with a population of less than 10,000; majoring in animal science at university; being male; and having a primary interest, at the time of entering veterinary college, in food animal-exclusive or mixed-animal veterinary practice. The primary factor for choosing the community in which to practice was rural/urban lifestyle for rural veterinarians, while this factor was second for urban veterinarians. For all groups of veterinarians, the primary consideration in selecting their current practice was the species orientation of the practice. The primary reason for not choosing food-animal practice was better working conditions and lifestyle in companion-animal practice, followed by greater interest elsewhere.
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