Veterinary Feed Directive impact on youth exhibitors

New Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) requirements begin Jan. 1, 2017, affecting all livestock producers—including youth.

Keeping accurate records is an essential part of animal management and a requirement of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).
Keeping accurate records is an essential part of animal management and a requirement of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).

Are you ready? Jan. 1, 2017, begins the process of knowing and paying attention to a few more acronyms or paying the consequences. The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is a requirement put forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with impacts that will be seen across the country. Michigan State University Extension has been working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to help educate those impacted, including retailers and mills, veterinarians and youth to be better prepared for the transition.

What is VFD? Why now?

The new antibiotic use rules affect all food production animal producers. The FDA is working to ensure the judicious use of antibiotics that can be used in humans. Not all antibiotics will be considered VFD drugs. The drugs affected by the VFD are those that are used for humans and animals. The main focus of the VFD is that some feeds and some medication used in water will now require a prescription from a veterinarian. The use of injectable antibiotics will not be affected.

How does it impact youth?

Feed availability

Not all feeds are medicated, but you need to check the feed label to determine if the feed you have traditionally fed does contain any of the medications that now require regulation. If the feeds you traditionally would purchase contain the drug, you will now need to work with your veterinarian, who will issue you a VFD order so that you can source medicated feed products. Please note, some feed manufacturers are choosing to change ingredients and will no longer include specific antibiotics, enabling you to continue making your feed purchase without a VFD.

As a reminder, after Jan. 1 it is illegal to use any products that were purchased before Jan. 1 without a retroactive VFD. If you have leftover feed, contact your veterinarian to receive a VFD or dispose of the product appropriately where it cannot be consumed by livestock.

Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship

Having a relationship with your veterinarian will help you make decisions about animal health prevention strategies and management protocols. Additionally, developing a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship will enable livestock producers of any age the opportunity to work with their veterinarian to receive a VFD.

Keeping accurate records

Record-keeping is essential in raising and caring for animals. Good record-keeping, particularly when involving treatment of livestock, is now a priority more than ever in livestock production. Along with your traditional 4-H record books, copies of the VFD order must be kept for two years by the livestock owner, veterinarian and feed supplier.

Where can I learn more?

Michigan 4-H has teamed up with MDARD to provide resources to youth and adults to assist in understanding these changes. Additional resources can be found at the MDARD Youth webpage.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM content are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success. To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.”

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