Antibiotics for Livestock – Changes Coming in June 2023

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You know that saying, “The days are long, but the years are short”? Nothing makes that truer than watching your kids grow up. My middle baby turned six this past weekend, and it feels like yesterday I had her. As time passes, along comes change; those we are prepared for, and sometimes those we are unprepared for. I want to take a few minutes and highlight a change in the livestock industry beginning in June 2023 that will help prepare you to get ahead of the curve.

In 2017, The Food and Drug Administration implemented the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule which requires veterinarians to write a prescription for medically important over-the-counter antibiotics delivered to livestock via feed and/or water. This initial change did not include medically important antibiotics available over-the-counter by other dosage forms, such as via injection. Beginning in June 2023, product labels will contain the statement, “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.” This means livestock producers will be legally required to obtain a prescription from a licensed veterinarian who they have an established veterinary client-patient relationship (VCPR) with.

A VCPR means:

  • The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions.
  • The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal. This means the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.
  • The veterinarian is readily available or has arranged for emergency coverage and for follow-up evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment regimen.

I will be providing more information as I learn more details. Lastly, I am trying to establish a Robeson County Cattlemen’s Association. I hope you will join me for our first monthly meeting on September 22, 2022, at 6 p.m. This meeting will focus on “Meet the Meat” and what happens when cattle leave the farm. There will be a magnetic carcass that allows you to see where beef cuts are located.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Contact Taylor Chavis, Extension Livestock Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 910-671-3276, by email at, or visit our website.