Four Things to Know About the New Veterinary Feed Directive

As most livestock producers are aware, beginning January 1, 2017, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)’s new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) will limit the use of certain animal health products in the production of livestock for human consumption. These antimicrobials have been deemed “medically important” as they are also utilized in human healthcare. The FDA’s goal is to prevent the development of resistance through judicious use of antimicrobial medications. Here are four things you need to know:

1.      Many medicated feed products will no longer be available over the counter. In the past, some types of antimicrobials have been used to help increase feed efficiency and improve overall animal growth across several sectors of the livestock industry. Under the new VFD, this type of usage will no longer be allowed in food producing animals. Instead, these antimicrobials can only be obtained and utilized under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian for specific, therapeutic animal health purposes. In other words, livestock producers will not be able to purchase and/or utilize medicated feed products but instead must consult a vet who is trained in the appropriate usage of such drugs.

2.      You’ll need a solid working relationship with your vet. The new rule requires a veterinarian to issue any VFD’s under a “veterinary-client-patient-relationship” (VCPR). A VCPR encompasses several key elements; that the client (producer) and vet understand that the vet assumes responsibility for making decisions regarding patient (animal/herd) healthcare, the vet have sufficient knowledge of a producer’s operation and herd obtained through visits and exams, and that the vet provide any necessary follow up and/or care for the herd. Finally, veterinarians must also comply with any state mandated VCPR regulations. Under a VCPR, a vet can then write a VFD for a producer to help ensure that antimicrobial drugs are used according to label instructions and only when appropriate for animal health needs. You’ll need to know your vet well and your vet will need to know your herd and operation well in order for VFDs to be effective.

3.      Medications will still be available.  Animal health is of the utmost importance to veterinarians and livestock producers alike. Antibiotics can and will still be used when there is a clear need. The judicious prescription of antimicrobials will help reduce the risk of developing resistance in both humans and animals.

4.      Consider adding a feed supplement to your herd’s ration. Giving your herd a solid nutritional foundation can help reduce the need for antibiotics*. SweetPro Premium Feed Supplements have a unique formulation to help fill nutritional gaps and ensure herd health during stressful times of the year such as breed back or weaning. SweetPro differs from traditional molasses blocks with a blend of distillers grains, vitamins and minerals, proteins, and ProBiotein, a proprietary blend prebiotics, protein, yeast, and enzymes designed to help the digestive system perform at its natural best. The combination of these ingredients yields a product that supports feed efficiency, growth, and overall animal health, without the use of antimicrobials which require a VFD. Other benefits include reduced feed cost, reduced labor, lower overhead, increase profitability, and a simpler approach to managing your livestock.

For more information on SweetPro please visit

*Statements made are not to replace the advice of a licensed veterinarian and do not guarantee herd health in any way.

Thursday, December 22, 2016 – Northern Ag Network Today’s Top 5

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