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Producer should take the lead in Veterinary Feed Directive prep

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America’s pig farmers plan to let their veterinarians take the lead in preparing the farm for the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulations when it goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, according to results of a producers’ quiz taken at the 2016 World Pork Expo.

Eva Jablonski, DVM and Zoetis pork technical services team member says in her blog that producers’ feedback on the new VFD regulations was a little shocking.

“I was surprised to hear many producers plan to rely on their farm’s veterinarians to lead them through the changes,” she says. “To ensure successful implementation of the new VFD, producers need to take the lead in preparing their farms.”

To help producers to focus on preparing for Jan. 1, 2017, the Zoetis facilitated a quiz on the VFD changes at the company’s World Pork Expo booth. Over 200 hog producers took the interactive quiz, and the official results appear on Zoetis’s Pork Perspective website.

Interestingly, on average, participants scored 62%, which stands as a reliable benchmark but also sends a red flag that more education on the process is still needed.  On the bright side, a large majority of hog producers taking the quiz were aware of products that required a VFD, but a lack of knowledge exists in the finite details.

While prepping for the new VFD rules starts with a good relationship with a veterinarian, the responsibility to follow regulations remains on the hog producer’s shoulders.  Each farm is unique, and its VFD action plans should be personalized.

Frankly, the time to figure out the farm’s VFD action plan is not after January 1 when the first time a medically important antibiotic is needed.  That is a recipe for disaster.  Time is ticking. Do not let the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2016 and you are left without a solid strategy for your farm.

A great place to start is to take the Zoetis’s quiz to gauge your personal knowledge on the VFD process. It only takes 5 minutes.

A complete action plan needs to be well-thought out with assistance from veterinarians and other professionals. The plans also need to be put in writing and completely communicated to all team members.  Similar to all standard operation procedures, any action plan needs to be review routinely to ensure it is feasible for the farm.

Zoetis recommends the following steps for preparing for new VFD regulations:

  • Establish a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) with a veterinarian if you haven’t already.
  • Make sure your feed supplier and your veterinarian know each other.
  • Examine your feed protocols with your veterinarian to ensure your feeding stages are aligned with the label claims of the VFD products you intend to use.
  • Conduct a trial run of the new VFD process in fall 2016.

Fortunate for hog producers many resources are available:

VFD Central

National Pork Board’s antibiotic resource page

Zoetis’s information on responsible antibiotic use

Zoetis Pork Perspective

GlobalVetLink Survival Webinar Series

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