Pig Producers Aware and Ready for Antibiotic Use Changes

US - In a recent survey, 82 per cent of pig farmers said they are aware of the upcoming regulatory changes regarding on-farm antibiotic use, according to the National Pork Board.
calendar icon 17 March 2016
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Of those surveyed, on average, 71 per cent have a defined record-keeping protocol in place that they follow. That number grows to 83 per cent among the country’s largest pork operations, or those that market more than 80,000 hogs per year.

“This level of awareness underscores the real and substantive changes occurring today on how pig farmers use antibiotics on the farm,” said National Pork Board President Derrick Sleezer, Cherokee, Iowa.

“The high level of awareness of the changing regulation is encouraging, but not surprising. The US pork industry is working hard to educate its pork producers about the upcoming deadline.”

Mr Sleezer added that the Pork Checkoff has developed and is sharing many new materials with pig farmers to make certain packers, processors and foodservice and retail customers understand how seriously the pork Industry is taking the impending regulation changes.

In the past 18 months, the National Pork Board has taken steps to educate pork producers on the details of Food and Drug Administration guidance 209 and 213.

The rules define how medically important feed-grade antibiotics should be used to treat, control and prevent disease, as well as the importance of farmers establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

The guidance also mandates that medically important antibiotics can no longer be used to promote animal growth and sets a higher standard for on-farm record keeping. The regulatory changes take effect 1 January 2017.

“Consumers can have confidence that the US pork industry is doing the right thing in regard to antibiotic stewardship,” Mr Sleezer said.

“Understanding the role responsible antibiotic use plays on a farm is one of our top priorities and why we introduced the US pork industry antibiotic stewardship plan in June.”

These results, among others designed to take the pulse of US pork production, are from the annual survey of pork producers conducted by the National Pork Board late last year.

In other findings, for the sixth consecutive year, pork producer support for the Pork Checkoff increased and is now at a record 90 percent – up 1 percent from last year. Meanwhile, opposition to the Checkoff declined one percent to a record low of just 4 per cent. These results are the most positive in survey history.

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