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Day is coming when you will need prescription to buy penicillin from vet for animalsDay is coming when you will need prescription to buy penicillin from vet for animals

Times of buying whatever medicine you need at farm store and storing it willy-nilly are numbered.

Tom Bechman 1

January 28, 2016

2 Min Read

Natalie Baker is a veterinarian two years out of the Purdue University vet school. She is part of a family practice with her father near Boonville. It’s the Warrick Swine Vet Clinic. She came to the annual Indiana Pork meeting in Indianapolis to educate producers about the new feed directive that is coming to fruition by December ’16. Nearly five years in the making, this rule by USDA and the Food and Drug Administration means antibiotics considered important for human medicine can no longer be used as growth enhancers in feeds, unless the producer obtains a VFD- a directive from a vet saying it’s needed in the feed to treat disease.


There are more questions than answers on this program right now, Baker admits. Some of their swine clients have prepared by taking antibiotics out of their feed already. One producer was heard to say at the meeting ‘that if I have to write down everything I’m doing with this medicine, I just won’t feed it.’ Part of the new rule is that records must be kept by vets, producers and the feed mill for two years.

The theory is that drugs ‘medically important to human medicine should not be used in low levels in feeds so that there is less risk of developing resistance to these drugs in the human population that consumes meat and animal products. Whether you agree or not it’s coming, Baker says.,

“What’s also coming may be even more surprising. While she doesn’t have a timeline, she told Indiana Prairie Farmer that it is only a matter of time before you will no longer be able to buy penicillin and other drugs commonly sold at big box-type farm stores at those locations. You will only be able to purchase them form a veterinarian.

One message is clear. You’re going to need to develop a closer relationship with your veterinarian if you’re into the livestock business. It will be important when the VFD directives take effect at the end of this year. And it will be important if you can no longer buy antibiotics over the counter at farm stores.

Like it or not, get ready now, Baker advises. She believes it’s a strong trend that is headed your way.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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