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There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is VFD. Do you know anything about the VFD? I should first clarify that the VFD is not the Volunteer Fire Department. If you google “what is the VFD” you will find the top ten responses having to do with variable frequency drive-that is not the VFD I am talking about. How about a little quiz to familiarize yourself with what the VFD is and what it has to do with YOU?


Here is a clue. I have something to do with the VFD and YOU!

  1. The VFD stands for Veterinary Feed Directive and falls under Guidance Document 213. True or False?
  2. The VFD was created to make more money for veterinarians. True or False?
  3. The VFD falls under the regulations of the FDA according to the ADAA requiring veterinarians to issue all VFD’s in the context of a valid VCPR. True or False?
  4. The VFD was developed to make it illegal to use medically important antibiotics for production purposes, and animal producers will need to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use them for prevention, control or treatment of a specifically identified disease. True or False?
  5. The VFD reassures consumers that veterinarians and farmers are working together to make sure antibiotics are used correctly in the feed. True or False?
  6. Meetings were held throughout 2016 to prepare farmers and ranchers for the January 1, 2017 implementation. True or False?
  7. The VFD is just another government acronym designed to give farmers a headache. True or False?

 

Well, let’s see how you did and then we will discuss the answers:

1. True 2. False 3. True 4. True 5. True 6. True 7. False

 

  1. The VFD stands for Veterinary Feed Directive and falls under Guidance Document 213

True – The VFD, Veterinary Feed Directive, aims to accomplish three goals with these changes: promote judicious use of antibiotics, protect public health and help limit the development of antimicrobial resistance. Can you see where you fit into this conversation?

  1. The VFD was created to make more money for veterinarians

False – Veterinarians are very busy people. They now carry a paperwork burden of making sure we have the document needed for shared class antibiotics used in the feed for control, treatment and prevention of disease. Our veterinarians had to increase personnel to make sure all of the paperwork is completed for each one of their clients. We pay a small fee to help cover the cost of the paperwork and computerized documentation.

Dr. Dan Woodbury, one of our veterinarians, visits with my husband, Steve, about the VFD. Dr. Woodbury says “The Veterinary Feed Directive has opened dialogue among producers and their veterinarian. That is not a bad thing. In some cases, we have been able to help producers maximize the return on investment from a health and, ultimately, financial standpoint through timely feed grade antibiotic uses. We strive to help our clients maintain long term financial stability. The Veterinary Feed Directive, in some cases, has helped strengthen the producer and veterinarian relationship; which helps to secure our agricultural community.”

  1. The VFD falls under the regulations of the FDA according to the ADAA requiring veterinarians to issue all VFD’s in the context of a valid VCPR
  2. The VFD was developed to make it illegal to use medically important antibiotics for production purposes, and animal producers will need to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use them for prevention, control or treatment of a specifically identified disease

Both True – Yes, the VFD is about increasing veterinarian-client-patient-relationships (VCPR) so that you and I, the consumers, can be reassured about how antibiotics are used in food animals. For most of us the VCPR has already been an important part of how we take care of our cattle. We spend time with our veterinarians developing vaccination protocols as well as treatment protocols. The FDA, Food and Drug Administration, regulates antibiotic use in food animals. The ADAA, Animal Drug Availability Act, provides flexibility to the way FDA regulates new animal drugs and medicated feeds.

  1. The VFD reassures consumers that veterinarians and farmers are working together to make sure antibiotics are used correctly in the feed

True – The VFD provides the documentation for cattle farmers like my husband and I to make sure we are using antibiotics responsibly. I am a veterinary technician responsible for administering antibiotics when our cattle get sick. I am also a consumer and have children and grandchildren that purchase beef in the grocery store. The VFD further strengthens the commitment of people like my husband and I to provide the safest, healthiest beef we can.

We live in Nebraska where we experience all four seasons. When we have wet spells in the form of snow or rain we utilize our cement pads and bedding to provide the cattle a comfortable place to lay down. Our dedication to animal welfare and the guidance from our nutritionist and veterinarians help us to provide optimal care. That commitment to care leads to a lower incidence of disease and reduced use of antibiotics.

  1. Meetings were held throughout 2016 to prepare farmers and ranchers for the January 1, 2017 implementation

True – My husband and I attended two meetings about the VFD in addition to one-on-one conversations with our veterinarians and reading numerous articles in farm magazines about the implementation of the VFD.

  1. The VFD is just another government acronym designed to give farmers a headache

False – Farmers are used to acronyms like the FSA, NRD, NRCS, CRP, LDP, BQA, LRP and everyone’s favorite, the IRS. What’s one more acronym to remember? If you’d like to see a list of acronyms from the USDA you can go here.


There is a new sheriff in town and he’s making sure things run smoothly from the farm to the fork so consumers, like you and I, can have confidence in the beef we eat. The presence of the VFD reassures farmers like us that we are continually monitoring antibiotic usage so that your family and mine will eat well and live well. Our goal is for our cattle to thrive so you can thrive and we’ll do that through the VCPR from the VFD thanks to the FDA and USDA in the hope to make the CDC and YOU smile!

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