BLUE EARTH, Minn. — A rural Minnesota veterinarian who offered to give away his practice – building and all – to help attract his replacement, now has what he wanted: a successor.
“It lifts the weight off your shoulders,” Dr. Robert Bogan says.
75-year-old Bogan was Faribault County’s only vet. He made the offer after five years of searching for someone to take his place.
A story last summer about Bogan’s offer, featured in a KARE 11 Land of 10,000 Stories segment, was shared more than 8,000 times on Facebook.
“This story spread far and wide and the message got to where it needed to go,” Blue Earth City Administrator Mary Kennedy says.
In the days that followed, 10 young vets and vet students expressed interest. Eight of them made the trip to Blue Earth to meet with Bogan and tour the town. Five of those submitted formal applications.
From the applicants, Bogan selected Dr. Zach Adams, a 2021 graduate of the vet school at Iowa State University.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Adams says. “I came here and realized it was a good fit.”
Adams was serving his veterinary residency in North Carolina when he saw the story posted on his vet school's Facebook page.
“I was just sitting in my apartment scrolling through Facebook,” Adams says. “I was like, that sounds like something I could do.”
Adams grew up on a hobby farm near Preston, Iowa, a town of about 900 people.
He says Blue Earth felt right.
“It’s very similar to where I grew up, so it feels kind of like home.”
The opportunity checked another box.
“I’m a die-hard Vikings fan and I’ve always wanted to live in Minnesota so that kind of helped push the way too,” Adams says.
Adams says he’d hoped at some point to own his own mixed animal veterinary practice, but didn’t think the opportunity would come this soon.
Adams started working alongside Bogan in January with an ownership transition planned over the next year or so.
“I think he’s going to fit in very well in Blue Earth,” Bill Rosenau, a Faribault County farmer and banker said.
A shortage of rural vets has plagued, small, rural communities across the country.
As a member of the county economic development authority, Rosenau was among those working to recruit a new vet to Blue Earth.
Like many Faribault County farmers, he’d feared Bogan eventually retiring without a replacement.
“To get somebody to come out and do onsite work would have been almost impossible because they would have been over an hour away,” Rosenau says.
Since moving to Blue Earth, Adams has felt the love, including a welcome from a pizza delivery person his first week in town.
“I think most people know what house he bought, are excited to see him, are excited to meet him,” Kennedy says.
Bogan’s offer to give away his practice included his clinic building in Blue Earth, the furnishings and equipment, his pickup truck and even Annie, the office cat – who is written into the agreement Adams signed.
“I had a lawyer take a look at my contract,” Adams says with a laugh. “He called me and was like, ‘You know you’re getting a cat with this, right?’”
Leyton Becker, a second-year vet student who interned with Bogan last summer and was featured in the KARE 11 story, had initially expressed interest in taking over the practice, but decided it was too early in his schooling to commit.
The University of Minnesota vet student says he met Adams during his visit to Blue Earth and holds open the possibility of joining him later in the practice.
“He’s a great guy and I could totally see myself working with him,” Becker said.
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