The National Pork Industry Forum hosted nearly 300 delegates, pig farmers and pork industry members in Indianapolis to learn about the future regulatory changes for on-farm antibiotics. The event featured a update session to share case studies and tips for farmers needing to be ready for the new regulations on January 1, 2017.
“Producers have been preparing the past 18 months for the very real and substantive changes that are occurring on pig farms across the country in regard to responsible antibiotic use. Producers are very aware of the challenge of antibiotic resistance and are working hard to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, both on the farm and in human medicine,” said Derrick Sleezer, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. “Our industry is committed to continuous improvement, and these sessions today ensure that we all have the latest information to apply to our operations when we return home.”
The new FDA guidelines define how medically important feed-grade antibiotics will be used to treat, control and prevent disease, as well as remove medically important antibiotic use for growth promotion. Also, the new regulations define the importance of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), establish a veterinary feed directive (VFD) requirement for many more antibiotics and establish a higher standard for on-farm record-keeping.
“The bottom-line message to pork producers is act now – do not wait until January of next year to make these important changes in how you raise pigs,” Spronk said. “This is a defining moment for our industry, and change will not come without some sacrifice. But preserving the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics is critical in our commitment to ensure a safe food supply and to build consumer trust.”
The session also introduced the National Pork Board’s new Pork Industry Guide to Responsible Antibiotic Use, a 12 page guide that expands the Pork Quailty Assurance Plus program. The new program offers a six-point checklist that will help producers prepare for the upcoming changes.