In Research

Economic Impacts of Food and Drug Administration Veterinary Feed Directive Rules on Beef Cattle Sector

By Emilie Herbst

Calves_VFDThe cattle industry has faced a great deal of public scrutiny, especially when it comes to antibiotics. Due to this the FDA has created new laws beginning January 2017, known as the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). These laws will effect all cattle operations as well as consulting veterinarians and feed nutritionists. A VFD will be required from a licensed veterinarian to obtain animal feed that contains medically important drugs to humans. Veterinarians are also required to maintain a veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) before writing a VFD. The VFD must then be kept on record by the prescribing veterinarian, the feed distributor and the producer for 2 years.

BCI is conducting a survey of consulting veterinarians and feed nutritionists to evaluate the expected added costs for both the producer and the veterinarians as well as what is expected to happen to animal health overall. The survey will also assess what veterinarians have done to prepare clients, staff and themselves for the upcoming changes. Alternative methods for giving antibiotics will also be evaluated. Interviews with cow-calf, backgrounder and feedlot operators as well as veterinarians and feed nutritionists will be conducted to discuss how the industry is preparing for the VFD and what they are expecting to happen once the VFD is put in place.

The results of the survey and the interviews will be used to inform the industry of what to expect as far as economic implications and how to prepare for the upcoming changes. Interviews with the same cattle producers as well as a follow up survey will be issued around 6 months after the VFD is put in place to evaluate the effects the law has had on feed nutritionists, consulting veterinarians and their clients.

Emilie is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in agricultural economics and will begin her graduate studies in the agricultural economics program at K-State this fall. She is originally from Boerne, Texas.

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