Livestock producers are now one year away from implementation of the Food and Drug Administration's Veterinary Feed Directive rule.
FDA started the VFD process about three years ago, according to Iowa State University extension beef specialist Chris Clark and ISU Extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell.
The goal is to reduce antimicrobial resistance through increased oversight of antibiotics deemed medically important. The process has included the removal of growth promotion labels from medically important antibiotics and the transition of all feed-additive antibiotics from over-the-counter drugs to VFD drugs.
Use of VFD drugs requires veterinary authorization through a written VFD, Clark and Dewell note, which is similar in many ways to a prescription. Additionally, all water-based antibiotics will become prescription medications.
By Dec. 31, 2016, the rule will go into full effect for essentially all antibiotics except ionophores, Clark and Dewell say.
"During the next 12 months, all cattle producers need to become familiar with the VFD rule and how it will impact their operations," they say.
They expect educational sessions to be offered through veterinarians, pharmaceutical companies, extension services and other industry groups. Producers are encouraged to participate in such educational opportunities and communicate with appropriate professionals to fully understand the VFD process.
By federal law a veterinarian will not be allowed to issue a VFD for a feed grade antibiotic unless they have an established Veterinary Client Patient Relationship. This means producers should communicate directly with veterinarians to establish/confirm a VCPR and to construct a plan regarding the use of feed-additive antibiotics for their operation. Now is the time to start working through this process so animal health is not compromised when the rule goes into effect.
Source: Iowa Beef Center