Expert: Get to know your vet to make antibiotic transition easier

Chris DayJournal-Capital

Restrictions on antibiotic use in livestock will go into effect Jan. 1, and cattle producers should start working with their veterinarians now to make the transition easier, Dr. Craig Payne said last week.

Payne recently discussed the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to phase out the use of feed grade and water soluble antibiotics to promote livestock growth and directive to require prescriptions for some antibiotics that previously were available over the counter at an agriculture forum sponsored by BancFirst at Tri County Tech.

Bartlesville attorney/cattle producer Jess Kane also discussed the state’s Right-to-Farm constitutional amendment that will go before voters in November. Kane also is the northeast district vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.

Animal health companies are removing increased feed efficiency and growth promotion from labeling. If the FDA catches a producer misusing feed grade and water soluble antibiotics the producer will be fined and prosecuted.

In addition, the FDA will declare the livestock as adulterated foodstuffs and the value of that livestock “goes to nothing.”

“The FDA fine and challenges you may deal with them over are nothing compared to the value you lose with your livestock,” Payne said.

Water soluble antibiotics will require prescriptions. Feed -grade antibiotics will require a Veterinary Feed Directive.

Livestock producers must have a working relationship with their veterinarian before the vet can legally write a veterinary prescription or issue a Veterinary Feed Directive.

“Get in contact with your veterinarian and make sure that they feel that they have that VCPR established with you,” Payne said.

Right to farm

The Oklahoma Right Farm Amendment, also known as State Question 777, will be on the ballot on Nov. 8.

The amendment limits state lawmakers’ ability to interfere with farming and ranching. It prohibits restrictions on the use of agricultural technology, livestock procedures and ranching practices unless state lawmakers can identify and justify a compelling state interest.

Kane said farmers and ranchers could go to court and ask the judge to declare any restrictions unconstitutional if there isn’t a compelling state interest.

“State Question 777 would not prevent the legislature from passing laws affecting agriculture technology, livestock production or ranching practices,” Kane said. “It only makes it more difficult. It only requires them to think a little bit harder about what they are doing to you and why.”

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association supports State Question 777, Kane said.