The Roundup -

By Tim Fine 

Veterinary Feed Directive Meeting Aug. 16; Rule Changes Expected Jan. 1


Chances are, if you are in the business of livestock production, whether it’s on the nutrition side, livestock care side, or as a producer, you have heard of the changes that will be coming as a result of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). I know that this may be somewhat difficult to read but below I have copied and pasted a factsheet from Rachel Endecott, our MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist based in Bozeman.

If you want to learn more about the VFD and what potential changes may come your way because of it, you are welcome to join Rachel, Megan VanEmon (our beef cattle specialist at Ft. Keogh) and myself for a meeting on this very topic on Tuesday, August 16 starting at 1:00 PM here at the Richland County Extension Office.

Where do these changes come from?

• FDA Guidance for Industry #209

o The use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals should be limited to those uses that are considered necessary for assuring animal health.

o The use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals should be limited to those uses that include veterinary oversight or consultation.

• FDA Guidance for Industry #213

o Asks drug companies to voluntarily revise product labels to remove growth promotion and feed efficiency claims.

o Provides for moving over-the-counter products to prescription or veterinary feed directive (VFD) status.

What are “medically important” antibiotics?

• This refers to drug classes important in human medicine. Some examples are:

What is a Veterinary Feed Directive?

• A VFD consists of paperwork for the drug in question which is filled out by a veterinarian (a veterinary-client-patient relationship should be in place). It gives a description of the livestock to be treated, some instructions to the feed mill, and an expiration date.

• The feed mill must have the VFD before feed can be distributed and the feed mill must notify the FDA.

What will change as a result of these FDA Guidances?

• Growth promotion uses in feed no longer allowed.

• Use of medically important feed antibiotics will need a VFD; can only be used for treatment, control, or prevention.

• Each state’s regulations or veterinary board will define what is a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship

• Medically important water medications will move to prescription status.

What won’t change as a result of these FDA Guidances?

• Use of non medically important drugs (ionophores, coccidiosis treatments) remains unchanged

• Ability to use feed-grade antibiotics labeled for treatment, control, or prevention won’t change, but will require a VFD.

• Injectable antibiotic uses remain the same.

• Extra-label use of feed-grade antibiotics remains illegal

• Veterinarians should still be involved in medication decisions.

I’m sure that this raises as many questions as it provides answers so I would encourage all of our livestock producers to attend. There is no cost and no pre-registration required but if you would like to call me or send an email to let me know you will be attending, it would be appreciated. You can contact me at either 433-1206 or by email at


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