Senators Kelly and Sinema Introduce Legislation to Support U of A’s College of Veterinary Sciences

Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly introduced the Arizona Experiment Station Land Conveyance Act, legislation co-sponsored by Senator Sinema that would transfer Forest Service land to the University of Arizona in an effort to ensure that the V-V Ranch (pronounced “V Bar V”), a livestock research ranch operated by the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, can continue its important educational mission. This bill would help ensure the long-term access to and operation of V-V Ranch, as well as the accreditation of the Veterinary Sciences program. 

“The University of Arizona’s Veterinary Sciences program is like no other in the nation, and I am committed to helping its students receive the most rigorous and innovative education possible,” said Senator Kelly. “V Bar V Ranch not only provides unparalleled opportunities for students to gain hands-on practice and research working with cattle, range management, and Arizona wildlife, but also prepares students for a future in clinical animal medicine. That’s important not just for these students, but for the Arizona farmers and ranchers they will be serving as well.”

“Advancing this land transfer provides certainty for the University of Arizona’s new College of Veterinary Sciences and supports its mission training the next generation of veterinarians in our state,” said Senator Sinema.

“The University of Arizona strongly supports the Arizona Experiment Station Land Conveyance Act of 2021,” said UA President Robert C. Robbins. “This legislation advances the University’s important education, Cooperative Extension, and research missions at the V Bar V Ranch in northern Arizona. The conveyance will provide the University’s new College of Veterinary Medicine the opportunity to engage students in clinical rotations in food animal veterinary medicine. We thank Sen. Kelly for introducing this important legislation and are grateful for his continued efforts.”

The University of Arizona bought V-V Ranch in 1995 assuming they acquired clear title to the full ranch footprint, including 13.3 acres near Camp Verde, AZ, designated as the ranch’s Winter Headquarters. But in 2015, after reviewing consulting boundary surveys, the Coconino National Forest notified the University that those 13.3 acres were actually owned by the Forest Service. After deliberation, the University decided it was in its best fiduciary interest to own the land outright if it was to continue the uninterrupted operations of the ranch and allow the University full discretion of infrastructure investments and maintenance without the constraints of a Special Use Permit from the Forest Service. 

Though a similar bill was introduced in the 116th Congress, Senator Kelly’s bill would provide for a land conveyance with the stipulation that the University would get the Forest Service land for free as a public entity provided they only use the land for its mission as a land-grant university. 

The bill has support from the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association, Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association; Yavapai Cattle Growers Association; Coconino County Farm Bureau Cattle Growers; and the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation.