Veterinary Feed Directive: You have questions? We have answers!

By: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

With Jan. 1, 2017 quickly approaching, it is important that cattle producers understand what changes are coming from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). NCBA has developed several resources to inform and educate producers about the regulations and requirements regarding VFDs.

NCBA’s Antibiotic Resource Center (ARC), found at, is your one-stop location to find information and resources regarding responsible antibiotic use for beef producers and industry stakeholders. These resources include details about the new VFD and changes to antibiotic regulations in feed and water which go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

Beef Quality Assurance

The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program is rooted in a cattlemen’s belief of doing the right thing. The judicious use of antibiotic technologies is no exception to the goal of producing high quality, wholesome, and healthy beef. BQA guidelines are designed to make sure all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase – and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.

Responsible antibiotic use is important to ensure that such animal health technologies remain viable for the beef industry. It is important that judicious use protocols are implemented so that animals are never marketed with residues and so that cattlemen responsibly and effectively treat sick cattle.

The BQA Antibiotic Stewardship for Beef Producers handbook contains guidelines for judicious antibiotic use, steps to avoid violative residues, regulations regarding animal health products and many other best management practices related to antibiotic use. The Antibiotic Stewardship for Beef Producers handbook can be found on the ARC page referenced above.

Cattlemen’s Webinar Series

Producers can view two previously recorded webinars from the cattlemen’s webinar series. Both webinars cover information on antibiotic use regulations in the cattle industry and how farmers, ranchers and feeders can plan to adjust management systems to achieve compliance. The first webinar, Preparing Cattlemen for Changing Antibiotic Use Regulations, featured speakers Dr. Mike Apley, professor of production medicine and clinical pharmacology at Kansas State University, and Dr. Craig Lewis, veterinary medical officer of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. The second webinar, Don’t Get Caught Off Guard – Preparing for Changing Antibiotic Regulations, featured Mike Murphy, DVM, JD, Ph.D., veterinary medical officer in the Office of the Director at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, and Tom Portillo, DVM, manager of animal health and wellbeing of Friona Industries and 2016-17 president of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants.

The judicious use of antibiotics results in preserved effectiveness of antibiotics, healthier cattle and less expense for producers, while also helping communicate a story which increases consumer confidence. Marketing beef with antibiotic residues, even unintentionally, is illegal and can result in significant consequences, both legally and financially. When healthy cattle leave the farm and reach the market place, the producer, packer, and consumer all benefit. Be prepared and know the resources available by visiting

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