There is still time to register for the workshops on stewardship of medically-important antimicrobial drug use in food-producing animals planned for Wednesday, September 9 in Mesa, Ariz. and Friday, Sept. 11, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Center, Amarillo, TX.

Organized by Farm Foundation, NFP, the workshops are  an opportunity for participants to gain a comprehensive understanding of two Guidance for Industry (GFIs) issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals, as well as the FDA's revised Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). These actions mean some drugs will see label changes allowing only therapeutic uses, and for some drugs veterinary oversight will be needed in the form of a veterinarian's prescription, direct administration by a veterinarian, or a veterinary consultation on disease management protocols.

This free workshops, which will be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., are targeted to all pork, cattle, poultry and sheep producers, as well as veterinarians and feed suppliers in Texas, Eastern New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Southeastern Colorado. The workshops also are an opportunity for state and federal agencies, colleges of veterinary medicine and university extension personnel to gain insights into the changes and tools needed to meet the requirements. 

There is no charge to participate. Advanced registration is requested but not required. Registration can  be completed online or by going to the Farm Foundation website, which also lists additional workshops scheduled in locations across the country during September and October.  

Representatives from FDA and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will be at the workshop to answer questions about the new policies. Participants will also hear perspectives from Shelby Horn; Thomas Portillo, DVM; and Brice Tabor of Hi-Pro Feeds.  Breakout sessions will allow producers, veterinarians and feed suppliers to discuss the management challenges ahead.

To gauge awareness of the changes being put in place by FDA, and to learn more about the potential implications of these changes, Farm Foundation is asking stakeholders to complete a brief survey. The survey is open to all livestock producers, feed suppliers and veterinarians, whether or not you attend the workshop. CLICK HERE to complete the survey. Survey results will only be gathered and reported in the aggregate. Survey results will be shared with workshop participants.

Comments gathered at this workshop will be the basis of a report assessing the economic and physical challenges facing producers as they implement the GFIs and revised VFD. Informational and educational needs will also be evaluated, as well as the role of veterinarians in monitoring and managing antimicrobial drug use. The report will be presented at a national summit to be convened by Farm Foundation in late fall 2015.  

FDA's GFI 209 and GFI 213 call on animal drug sponsors of approved medically-important antimicrobials administered through medicated feed or water to remove production uses (i.e., to promote growth or improve feed efficiency) from their product labels, and bring the remaining therapeutic uses of these products--to treat, control, or prevent disease--under the oversight of a veterinarian. Manufacturers of products containing these medically-important antimicrobial drugs have voluntarily agreed to submit changes to their product labels to comply with the GFIs. FDA's revised VFD addresses the increased veterinary oversight of medicated feeds called for by GFI 209 and 213.  

 Farm Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has been serving agriculture, the food system and rural communities since 1933. Farm Foundation is a non-advocacy organization--we do not lobby or advocate positions. Our action comes in bringing industry leaders together to address evolving issues that will shape the future of the industry. Stewardship of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals is just such an issue.

In addition to Farm Foundation's leadership, individual producers and many companies are providing financial support for this educational effort. These include JBS United, Hormel Foods Corporation, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Rose Acre Farms, Elanco Animal Health, J.R. Simplot Company, Irsik and Doll, Hardin Farms, C-ARC Enterprises, National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, North American Meat Institute and the National Turkey Federation.