The Veterinary Feed Directive: What Does it mean for you?

Beginning January 1, 2017, the Veterinary Feed Directive will take hold and change the game as we know it.  Getting Aureomycin pellets for sick calves will no longer be as easy as swinging over to the local feed store.  Times are changing.  Instead, producers will be expected to have a working relationship with a veterinarian in order to receive a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) order for the antibiotic in question.  The VFD is being implemented by the FDA in attempts to control the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Here are some highlights of what producers should be aware of:

  • A VFD is a written statement issued by a licensed veterinarian that authorizes the use of a VFD drug in an animal feed (including milk replacers). This cannot be a verbal agreement.
  • A VFD order is good for a maximum of 6 months. An expiration date should be listed indicating the last day the feed can legally be fed.
  • At this time, the list of affected drugs carried by Famo Feeds include: Aureomycin (chlortetracycline), Terramycin (oxytetracycline), Tylan (tylosin), AS700, Lincomycin, Neo Terra (neomycin/oxytetracycline).
  • Extralabel use is absolutely forbidden.  Extralabel use includes feeding the VFD feed longer than the duration of time specified on the label, feeding at drug level different than what has been specified, or feeding the VFD feed to an animal species different than that which is specified on the label.
  • In order to obtain a VFD there must be an established Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR). This means the veterinarian must be familiar with your operation and animals before they can legally write a VFD order.
  • A VFD order must be kept on file by all parties (veterinarian, producer, and feed mill) for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Included on the VFD:
    • Veterinarian's name, address, phone number
    • Producer's name, address, phone number
    • Species being treated and approximate number of animals
    • Treatment claim, drug name and dosage
    • Feeding directions including withdrawal time (if applicable)
    • Warning statement or special instructions
    • Expiration date (referring to last day of use, not manufacture)
    • Veterinarian signature
  • The veterinarian must indicate if drug combination is allowed (referring to the mixing of a VFD drug and a non-regulated drug within a feed product)
  • All VFD drug products will have the following verbiage on the tag:
    Caution:  Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

While this may seem intimidating now, what we can do at this point is prepare.  For producers, that means talking with your veterinarian about the VFD and what their protocols will be.  And if you do not have a relationship with a veterinarian, now is the time to develop one.  Being proactive and starting this conversation will help make the conversation into these new regulations a little smoother and less stressful.  If you are not sure if your feed contains a VFD drug, as your feed dealer or nutritionist for clarification.

Famo Feeds • 446 Industrial Dr • Freeport, MN • 800-450-2145