January 1st is fast approaching and the pressure of the upcoming Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is on. Preparation is key for this new regulation. Make sure you have considered the following before January is upon us:

What is your relationship with your veterinarian?

  • Do you currently have a veterinarian that works with your facility? Part of the VFD regulations requires that the veterinarian writing the VFD order have an established relationship with the farm (referred to as a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship). They must be familiar with the operation in order to write the VFD and be registered to practice in the state the animals are housed.

What medications do you currently use that will fall under VFD regulation in January?

  • Take stock of what you use that will be regulated by the VFD come January. Do you have calves on Neomycin/Terramycin milk replacers? Do you occasionally feed Aureomycin crumbles to combat respiratory infections? Do you finish your steers on Tylan-medicated pellets to prevent liver abscesses? All three of these, and more, are affected by the VFD regulations. This is something to be discussed with your veterinarian. Maybe there are opportunities available to look at non-VFD regulated options to maintain the health of your animals. Now is the time to have that conversation with your veterinarian or nutritionist.

What is your feed situation looking like for January 1st?

  • The VFD regulations indicate that purchasing and/or feeding of feed containing VFD-regulated drugs is forbidden BEGINNING January 1st. There is no grace period. Keep this in mind as that date approaches. What feed will you have on farm? Does it contain a regulated drug? Do you need to contact your veterinarian for a VFD before January 1st? Don’t let these questions get lost in the shuffle of the holiday season.

How will you keep track of your VFD orders?

  • All parties (veterinarian, feed mill, and producer) must keep copies of the VFD for at least 2 years. Each VFD order is valid for 6 months from the date it was written. If your facility uses multiple feeds with VFDs, the need for adequate storage can quickly grow. Make sure to have a safely kept file to refer to in case an inspector ever requests to view those documents.

Is your feed mill making any changes to floor stocked products?

  • Keep in mind that these regulation changes are having significant impacts to your local feed mill as well. Feed mills nationwide are trying to determine what to stock and not-stock in anticipation for these new rules. Feeds that used to be readily available may not be so any longer or may be in the process of being replaced by a non-VFD medicated substitute. Make sure to discuss what will be available to you once the VFD takes hold so there are no surprises.

None of us know what the New Year will bring in terms of these regulations. We are all doing our best to prepare ourselves and brace for these changes. Having open conversations with your veterinarian, nutritionist, and feed mill will help ensure that everyone is on the same page to make this transition as seamless as possible.

For more information, visit our website at www.famofeeds.com or visit the FDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive webpage at http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ucm071807.htm.

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