Prepare for the Veterinary Feed Directive Update

A Checklist to Help You Prepare for Calf-Raising Changes in 2017

Promoted by Sav-A-Calf
Prepare for the Veterinary Feed Directive Update

Have you heard of the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)? If not, chances are if you own animals, you will soon. These new regulations will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017, and if you are raising cattle, you should know this may have a big impact on calf raising and feeding practices on your farm. Taking steps now can help make your transition to VFD-compliance a smooth one on your cattle farm.

In most cases, the biggest change you will see with these new regulations is certain medicated feeds you currently purchase will no longer be available without a Veterinary Feed Directive document from your veterinarian. In order to purchase and use these products, you will be required to have an established veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Once you have a VCPR, you can work with your vet to obtain a Veterinary Feed Directive, similar to a prescription for a medical condition. The VFD will allow you to purchase and use specific feeds.

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Look to the following checklist as a guide to help you prepare for the new Veterinary Feed Directive regulations.

•   Take an inventory of the current drugs and feed containing antibiotics that you use. Don’t overlook products like milk replacer, milk additives and calf starter. Review the list with your veterinarian to determine if any of those products will require a VFD to continue using them.

•   Do you currently have a relationship with an established veterinarian? If not, you can contact your local Extension agent to help locate a vet near your farm.

•   Do you have a safe place to store VFD documentation from your veterinarian? You will need to keep VFD records on file for two years. Records can be stored electronically or as hard copies. You will need to determine a method that works best for you and your farm to maintain and file these records.

•   Will your feed mill or farm store continue to supply the medicated feed, premixes and water-based medications you use? Talk to them ahead of time to see what changes they will be making as a result of the VFD regulations.

Consider alternative nutrition options available on the market that you could use in place of your current feeds. Stay ahead of this monumental change while also supporting calf health and growth with calf health supplements, designed for use in whole milk and milk replacers.

Use best management practices to optimize animal health and help reduce the need for antimicrobials. Management areas like sanitation and ventilation become much more important. Consider higher feeding levels as well, especially during the winter, so that you are sure that your animals have the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and a strong immune system.

More details to keep in mind

•   When you obtain a written Veterinary Feed Directive from your veterinarian, it will be exclusive to a set of animals receiving treatment for a specified timeline.

•   Leftover medicated feed cannot be fed past the duration of use on the label or fed to other animals.

•   It’s important to keep track of when your VFDs expire and when you will need a new one from your veterinarian.

•   It’s not too soon to start talking with your vet and feed supplier about the VFD. Take time to work through this
checklist and prepare your farm to be VFD ready in 2017.

For more information about non-medicated milk replacers and calf nutrition supplements, visit


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