Veterinary Feed Directive Informational Meetings

The Montana State University Extension Beef Cattle Program is holding Veterinary Feed Directive educational meetings throughout the state this summer. These courses are free to the public and will be a great way to learn more about the VFD. For more information about the courses please contact Megan Van Emon, Extension Beef Specialist at 406.874.8286 or

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Veterinary Feed Directive Impacts Feed-Grade Antibiotics

by Megan Van Emon, Ph.D. – MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

The new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule will change how medically important antibiotics are fed to livestock.  The rule does NOT include the use of injectable antibiotics.  Previously, feed-grade antibiotics have been labeled for control, treatment, prevention, growth promotion, and feed efficiency.  The VFD rule results in the removal of the statements and uses of feed-grade antibiotics for growth promotion and feed efficiency.

Guidance for Industry proposal #209 concerns the use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.  Guidance for Industry proposal #213 focuses on the drug companies and recommending they voluntarily align their products with GFI #209.  Medically important antibiotics are those that are used in both human and animal medicine.

The two main proposals of GFI #209 are: 1. use of medically important antibiotics will be limited to therapeutic uses only; and 2. use of medically important antibiotics for food-producing animals will be limited to those that have veterinary oversight.  The main proposal of GFI #213 asks the drug companies producing medically important feed-grade antibiotics to voluntarily remove production (ie. growth promotion and feed efficiency) claims from the labels and moving the over-the-counter products to VFD or prescription status.

Additionally, a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is required for veterinarians to issue a VFD.  A valid VCPR includes: 1. the veterinarian assumes the responsibility for medical judgements and animal health and the client agrees to follow veterinarian instructions; 2. the veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate medical treatment and makes timely visits; and 3. the veterinarian is available for follow-up care and evaluation.  If you currently do not have a valid VCPR, building this relationship prior to the VFD implementation may be a good idea.

A valid VFD consists of paperwork filled out by the veterinarian that contains the veterinarian information, clients information, description of animals and location, VFD drug information, why is the VFD being issued, level of VFD in the feed, duration of use, date, and withdrawal time.  All VFDs will require the statement: “Use of feed containing this veterinary feed directive drug in a manner other than as directed on the labeling (extra label use), is not permitted” and the veterinarian’s written or electronic signature.  The veterinarian is required to maintain the original VFD form with copies being provided to the feed distributor and producer.


As we move closer to the implementation of the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule, the MSU Extension Beef Cattle Program will be conducting educational meetings throughout the state this summer.

Date City Location
July 26 Kalispell Flathead Co. Fairgrounds
August 3 Miles City USDA-ARS Fort Keogh
August 4 Billings TBD
August 9 Glasgow Cottonwood Inn & Suites
August 10 Havre MSU-NARC
August 11 Lewistown Eagles
August 16 Sidney TBD
August 24 Butte TBD
August 25 Missoula TBD



To learn more about the VFD and the informational meetings please contact Megan Van Emon at 406.874.8286 or at

Veterinary Feed Directives | Stockgrowers College Preview

Hoffman, BruceThe 2015 Montana Stockgrowers Annual Convention & Trade Show is just a few days out. This year’s meeting offers a great lineup of speakers and educational workshops for Montana ranchers. To view all the highlights from this year’s Annual Convention, click here. RSVP on the Facebook event so you do not miss a thing. If you are following along on social media, share your experience (and anticipation!) with the hashtag #MSGA15 on Twitter and Instagram. View the tags from all networks on Tagboard.

Stockgrowers College sessions will be held at different times all three days of the Annual Convention. Times vary and some sessions repeat. Check the final meeting program for times and room assignments.

Stockgrowers College Sponsored by Elanco Animal Health

Antibiotic Use Concerns and the New Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)

Time: Friday, December 4 at 2:30 p.m., Repeats Saturday, December 5 at 1:30 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Bruce Hoffman

The veterinary feed directive will affect the entire cattle industry. Learn the details, challenges and ways that Montana ranchers can be on the forefront and learn how to adapt and understand the implications and lead the implementation of protecting antibiotics that are concerning to our beef eating consumers.

Our sponsor, Elanco Animal Health, makes these Stockgrowers College sessions possible. Be sure to visit their booth in the Trade Show – Thursday from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. or Friday and Saturday from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Veterinary Feed Directives and Natural Resources Legislation| Podcast

Antibiotics Use Livestock ResistanceOne of the bigger topics last week’s Montana Nutrition Conference was a discussion with Dr. Bruce Hoffman of Elanco Animal Health and Dr. Marty Zaluski, Montana State Veterinarian. These two had a great question and answer session regarding changes with Veterinary Feed Directives and our ability to continue using feed grade antibiotics in the livestock industry.

Montana Stockgrowers has been working with Dr. Hoffman and we’ll be providing you plenty of information about these changes and the relationships ranchers will need to build between their veterinarians and feed dealers with the implementation of these new regulations.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Hoffman for a lengthy discussion regarding these VFDs. He explained the changes in requirements in more detail and what we need to know before the new rules are in place by the end of 2016. Key points in the changes coming with Veterinary Feed Directives include the importance of involving veterinarians and nutritionists in our management decisions, abiding by label uses for antibiotics, and ensuring customers that we’re being good stewards of our resources in these conversations about antibiotics use in livestock.

On today’s podcast we’ll have a portion of that conversation, as well as some information about what Elanco is doing to bring greater awareness to the importance of protein in providing healthy food for the hungry amongst a rapidly growing global population through their Feed The Nine Campaign. Follow #FeedThe9 on Twitter or go to for more information.

But first, Ryan Goodman will catch up with MSGA Director of Natural Resources, Jay Bodner, for a quick review of a few bills during the Montana Legislative Session that affect wildlife management and landowner property rights here in Montana.

Changes in the Use of Feed Grade Antibiotics | Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum

MSU Extension Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock ForumMontana Stockgrowers was proud to sponsor the 2014 Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum. The following is a recap of the issues covered from the May Cow Sense Chronicle by Rachel Endecott, MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist. To view speaker slides from the conference, follow this link to MSU Extension’s website. To view the monthly Cow Sense Chronicle, click here.

Greetings from Bozeman! It’s hard to believe the month of May has already arrived. This year’s Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum was held April 22‐23. Among the many great presentations was a wonderful overview from Dr. Russ Daly about the changes coming down the line in regard to the use of feed‐grade antibiotics for livestock. Dr. Daly is the South Dakota State University Extension Veterinarian, and also serves as the State Public Health Veterinarian for the South Dakota Department of Health. For this month’s Cow Sense Chronicle, I will provide a highlight of his remarks. You can find his and other conference speaker’s slides at, then click “Resources”.

The FDA has published two “Guidance for Industry” proposals, #209 and #213 (click here for FDA info). The first deals with the use of medically important (to human medicine) antibiotics in food‐producing animals, and the second recommends that drug companies voluntarily align their product use with GFI #209.

Guidance #209 has two main proposals: 1. the use of medically important antibiotics in food‐ producing animals should be limited to those uses that are considered necessary for assuring animal health; and 2. the use of medically important antibiotics in food‐producing animals should be limited to those uses that include veterinary oversight or consultation. Guidance #213 asks drug companies to voluntarily revise their product labels to remove growth promotion and feed efficiency claims and provides for moving over‐the‐counter products to prescription or veterinary feed directive (VFD) status.

A VFD consists of paperwork for the drug in question which is filled out by a veterinarian (a veterinary‐client‐patient relationship should be in place) and gives a description of the livestock to be treated, some instructions to the feed mill, and an expiration date. The feed mill must have the VFD before feed can be distributed, and the feed mill must notify the FDA.

What will change for livestock producers and veterinarians as a result of these FDA Guidances? Growth promotion uses of antibiotics in feed will no longer be allowed (examples: CTC, Aureomycin, virginiamycin), and use of “medically important” feed antibiotics will need a VFD and can only be used for treatment, control, or prevention. Each state’s regulations or veterinary board will define what is a valid veterinary‐client‐patient relationship, and “medically important” water medications will move to prescription status.

What won’t change? Use of non‐medically important drugs such as ionophores and coccidiosis treatments will remain unchanged. The ability to use feed‐grade antibiotics that are currently labeled for treatment, control, and prevention won’t change, but will need a VFD. Injectable medication uses will remain the same, and extra‐label uses of feed‐grade medications is currently and will continue to be illegal. Feed mill operators will continue to supply feed medications and veterinarians should still be involved in medication decisions.

As Dr. Daly discussed, antibiotic resistance is a complex topic involving both animal and human health professionals. Hopefully this overview gives you some additional understanding of how these changes will impact the feed and livestock industry and your operation.

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National Cattlemens Beef USA logo

An Overview of the FDA Final Guidance 213 and Proposed Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)

National Cattlemens Beef USA logoBy Dr. Kathy Simmons, DVM, NCBA Chief Veterinarian

On Dec. 12, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published their final Guidance #213 and a proposal for revisions to the current Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). These revisions proposed for the VFD are in response to complaints from stakeholders that the current VFD process can be burdensome. This current guidance is part of FDA’s larger strategy for judicious use of the antibiotics that are most important for use in human medicine and are currently used in feed and water for food-producing animals. Guidance #213 is directed toward the use of these products in feed and water and pertains to the medically important antibiotic classes listed in Appendix A of Guidance 152. The specific drugs or product applications affected by Guidance #213 can be found in a list on the FDA website here.

Guidance #213 does not pertain to the ionophores, such as monensin, unless used in a combination product with a medically important antibiotic.

Guidance #213 is a follow up to final Guidance #209, which states that the antibiotics important to human health should only be used in animal agriculture in ways that are necessary to maintain animal health and with veterinary oversight. Guidance #213 establishes the roadmap for the animal drug manufacturers to phase out the growth promotion use of these products in feed and water over the next three years and revise product labels as needed for use indications of control, prevention and therapy. All medically important antibiotics used in feed and water will require a veterinary prescription or a VFD in order to obtain these products for control, prevention and treatment use.

What is the objective of this FDA guidance? Doubtless, most everyone is aware of the global concern for increasing antibiotic resistance and the problems that antibiotic resistance creates for effectively treating infections in humans and animals. FDA has responsibly chosen to address the concern of antibiotic resistance and its threat to public health. FDA guidance seeks to eliminate the subtherapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in feed and water for growth promotion. The cattle industry, through the Beef Quality Assurance program, also supports this stance by stating in the Judicious Antibiotic Use Guidelines that, “Subtherapeutic Antibiotic Use is Discouraged: Antibiotic use should be limited to prevent or control disease and should not be used if the principle intent is to improve performance.”

So, what does this guidance really mean for cattlemen and women? The loss of the medically important antibiotics for growth promotion has only a minimal impact as there are really very few of these products used for growth promotion in the cattle industry. Our current use of antibiotics in feed is primarily for the prevention and control of conditions/diseases such as liver abscesses, coccidiosis and anaplasmosis. The use of these products will still be available in feed and water for control, treatment and prevention through the oversight of the veterinarian by Rx or VFD. It is extremely important to cattlemen and women to have an efficient and dtreamlined VFD process in order to facilitate the timely and uninterrupted access to these