Survey: 95 percent of pig farmers ready for new antibiotic rules

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Farm and Dairy file photo

DES MOINES — U.S. pig farmers are not only well aware of new federal rules for on-farm antibiotic use, but are already complying.

In a survey conducted by the National Pork Board in November, 95 percent of pig farmers surveyed said that they were ready to be fully compliant by the time the rules took effect Jan. 1.

Ready

The pork industry has worked toward the Jan. 1 date for nearly two years, said Jan Archer, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Pig farmers are committed to the change and many discontinued using antibiotics for growth promotion years ago, Archer explained.

One of the key changes to the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules is that medically important antibiotics could no longer be used for growth promotion.

Today, human medically important antibiotics can only be used to treat sick animals or to prevent disease and/or control it.

Veterinary oversight

Archer added a key hurdle in complying with new FDA rules is ensuring that every pig farmer has a defined and ongoing client relationship with a veterinarian.

That can be a challenge in remote areas of the country where the nearest veterinarian could be hundreds of miles away.

Last month the Pork Checkoff announced a partnership with Global Vetlink of Ames, Iowa, to offer a veterinarian locator tool, which is available at pork.org/antibiotics.

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