NDSU Extension - Mercer County

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Veterinary Feed Directive-What Livestock Owners Need to Know

veterinary feed directive, VFD

Submitted by Craig Askim, Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources   

Effective January 1, 2017, the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) will become law. What is VFD? VFD is an antibiotic drug used for human and animal medicine.  The VFD law is to ensure these drugs are used properly, which is why the Federal Drug Administration is requiring a VFD order to be in place before ranchers can purchase these types of medicated feeds.

Not all antibiotics will be considered VFD drugs. The use of injectable antibiotics will not be affected. Ionophores and coccidiostats are not affected unless they are fed in combination with other drugs that require a VFD order. To obtain a VFD order, you must have an established veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) with a veterinarian. The relationship between the veterinarian and the client opens the lines of communications in determining which medications are the most appropriate to use in their operations, and to help prevent over medicating animals. Medicated feed that requires a VFD order will have the following statement on the feed label: “Caution: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this VFD drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”

Examples of the most common feed-grade medications moving to VFD drug status are: chlortetracycline, tylosin, and lincomycin. A detailed list can be viewed at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stewardship/veterinary-feed-directive. A person with a VFD order can buy VFD feeds at any distributor or manufacturer listed with the FDA. If you are purchasing feed that requires a VFD order, you will need to present the VFD order before purchase.  The livestock owner, veterinarian, and distributor will be required to keep records of all sales for two years. The original VFD order will be kept by the veterinarian that signed off on the order.

The VFD order needs to be in place for any animal owner that wants to purchase VFD medicated drug feeds regardless of the size of the operation. Therefore; families that have 4-H or FFA projects of one or two animals will still be required to have a VFD order plan in place if a VFD drug would need to be fed.  For more detailed information on the Veterinary Feed Directive law, call the North Dakota Department of Agriculture – Animal Health Division @ 701-328-2231.

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