Since the end of 2013, educational efforts have been underway to help livestock producers and veterinarians understand impending changes in the use of feed-grade antibiotics in food animals. The FDA has started down the path of these changes already. One of the more significant changes will be the movement of “medically important” antibiotics to Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) status. These drugs will continue to be available for treatment, control, and prevention purposes but will require increased veterinary oversight. This will come in the form of a VFD document obtained through a veterinarian prior to the purchase of such medications. Livestock producers have been encouraged to examine their current feed-grade antibiotic uses and discuss with their veterinarian how these new regulations will affect their operations.

Many different seminars and webinars have been produced for interested stakeholders on this subject, and will continue to proliferate as the January 2017 full implementation date approaches. One particularly valuable educational opportunity will be presented in Rapid City in October.

The Farm Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to “promote objective analysis, constructive dialogue and innovative ideas to build a deeper understanding of issues critical to the future of agriculture, food systems and rural communities,” is sponsoring the meeting. The meeting will be held Tuesday, October 13, at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, S.D., at 222 New York Street, beginning at 8:30 AM. The meeting will feature talks from representatives of the FDA and USDA, along with producers and veterinarians. A unique feature of the meeting will be the chance for all participants to voice their questions and views in small-group settings. Comments and questions, especially regarding management challenges brought on by the new regulations, will be gathered. This information will help inform stakeholders as they deal with these new rules.

The Rapid City workshop is one of 12 scheduled across the country. The workshop is free of charge, and open to all livestock producers, feed company representatives and veterinarians. More information and registration information can be found on the Farm Foundation website.