The Veterinary Association says the lack of young people wanting to take up careers in agribusiness and sciences is likely to affect the number of vets being produced in this country.
The Ministry for Primary Industries puts the number of rural professionals currently at about 2000.
Association president Steve Merchant said for this country to achieve an increase in its primary exports at double the current rate, more rural professionals were needed.
"Students in their career choices have moved away largely from agribusiness and sciences and when you look at the drivers of the economy over the next 10 to 20 years and supported by KPMG's agribusiness report, this is certainly a key part of the economy and we need future leaders and students to invest in."
Dr Merchant said the feminisation of the workforce was an added issue for the veterinary profession.
"Female vets make great vets but they're traditionally more likely to take time out of practice around the family, so it may mean that of that 2000, or the vets that make up that workforce, we may need more to meet the same full time equivalent veterinary hours."