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Changes Coming for On-Farm Antibiotic Usage

Photo by Carl Wycoff

Hoosier Ag Today by: Cayla McLeland

Dr. Harry Snelson – MPC 2015

The way pig farmers and veterinarians have gotten access to anti-microbials in the past is just that, a thing of the past. Dr. Harry Snelson addressed the crowd at the Midwest Pork Conference on Monday and says times are certainly changing.

“Whereas producers might have previously gone down to the feed store and picked up an anti-microbial that they needed to mix in their feed over the counter, those products are likely not going to be available as we go forward.”

Snelson says the reason for change is multifaceted.

“Basically the driver is trying to get more professional oversight on how these products are used. The reasoning for that is trying to manage anti-microbial resistance, both in the animal population and the human population.”

Changes are coming, effective December 31 of 2016.

If they haven’t already, Snelson recommends pork producers begin to develop a relationship with their veterinarian.

“Sit down with the veterinarian, go through their disease challenges on their farm, develop a herd health plan, and a strategy for addressing those challenges. Find out what anti-microbials they routinely use today and which of those are going to be impacted so they understand come, at the latest, January 1, 2017 what it’s going to mean for them to continue to access those products.”

Snelson says the new changes could be a challenge for farmers in drastically rural areas.

“They’re going to have to find some veterinarian that they can develop a relationship with that comes out and is familiar with their farm. Understands their production practices, understand their disease challenges that they have and can work with them to access the anti-microbials they need.”

All in all, Snelson calls this a good thing.

“We try to understand, are there practices that occur on the farm regarding anti-microbials that actually contribute to an increase in resistance developing in either the swine population or the human population and what can we do to address those particular practices so we can minimize risk.”

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