by Ken Root & Whitney Flach
From one head to thousands, all livestock producers will be impacted by the new antibiotic rules for animal agriculture taking effect in January. The Farm Foundation is working with the Animal Health Institute to educate mid-to-small livestock operations regarding the changes.
Joe Swedberg serves on the Farm Foundation Board of Directors as Chairman and chairs the Foundation’s Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Education. Swedberg says there is a building concern regarding antibiotics use in animal agriculture. “The more science we are able to uncover these issues, the more we are understanding about it. That leaves us with the importance of addressing the issues and concerns particularly around resistance to well known drugs that are applicable to both human and livestock.”
Swedberg continued by saying, “The important thing is that everyone is understanding this and even more important is the folks on the human health side and the animal health side are beginning to have conversations together to better understand this.”
He says it’s important all producers know what the changes are when it comes to antibiotics use under Guidance 209 and 213, and the Veterinary Feed Directive.
“This was a joint effort on FDA side and pharmaceutical companies to basically remove growth promotants that have application to human use also. Effective January 1st, these growth promotants will be taken off the market. That doesn’t mean that some of these drugs can’t be used on livestock. They can be under a veterinarians guidance and prescription.”
In the fall of 2015, Farm Foundation hosted a series of workshops across the nation to provide livestock producers, veterinarians, and feed suppliers with detailed information on the new FDA policies. He says those education efforts continue now to reach small, rural producers.
Producers can learn more about the upcoming changes to antibiotics use by visiting the Farm Foundation website, www.farmfoundation.org/VFDrules