National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Comment on FDA Plan for Human Drugs Used in Food Animal Production

By: sustainableag, 5:42 PM GMT on March 15, 2013

For many years, the Keep Antibiotics Working Campaign  – a coalition of health, consumer, agricultural, environmental, humane, and other advocacy groups — has worked to eliminate the inappropriate use of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, in food animals.  This use has been flagged as a major cause of resistance in numerous pathogens to antibiotics that are important in the treatment of disease in humans.

One major area of concern is the routine, sub-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in the feed and water of animals in confined animal feeding operations.  According to Pew Charitable Trusts, a record high 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold for meat production in 2011.  In the same period of time, only 7.7 million pounds were sold for human use.  That means for every one pound of antibiotics used to treat infections in humans, four pounds of antibiotics were given to already healthy animals.

After years of foot-dragging and litigation to avoid adequate oversight and regulation of antibiotic use in animal production, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking a modest first step to increase oversight on the use of antibiotics in food animals.  The agency is proposing to change the marketing status of certain antimicrobial drugs to require the involvement of a licensed veterinarian.  Under the proposal, the selected drugs will change from over-the-counter (OTC) status to Rx or Veterinary Feed Directive status.  Animal producers will no longer be able to purchase the animal drug or medicated feed product directly from suppliers without a valid prescription or order from a licensed veterinarian.

Last week, FDA announced that it has scheduled five meetings to provide the public with the opportunity to discuss and provide feedback on the agency’s plan to phase-in veterinary oversight of the use of these drugs.  FDA is joining with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to sponsor these meetings.  According to the Federal Register announcement, FDA and APHIS have planned meetings in the following locations:

  • April 9, 2013, Bowling Green, KY

  • April 23, 2013, Olympia, WA

  • May 8, 2013, Fort Collins, CO

  • May 21, 2013, Pierre, SD

  • June 4, 2013, College Station, TX

More specific information on the meetings is provided in the Federal Register announcement.  The FDA has also provided information on the agency’s approach to the use of antimicrobials in food animal production on its Animal and Veterinary webpage.

Those who wish to attend or comment at these meetings are not required to register but FDA recommends that if you wish to make comments at a meeting, you notify the contact person for the meeting.  Comments also may be submitted at the website:  Use FDA Docket Number –  FDA-2012-N-1046 – to find the website to submit the comments.  Comments must be submitted by May 6, 2013.



CAFOs Food Safety


Our best chance.

By: sustainableag, 6:02 PM GMT on March 08, 2013

Dear Supporter,

Unless the Senate acts to fix the situation next week, 2013 is on track to be the worst setback for sustainable agriculture in years.  Opportunities for farmers to implement smart conservation practices will be severely limited.  Training opportunities for the next generation of beginning and minority farmers will dry up.  Microloans to the very small businesses that drive economic recovery in rural America will cease.  Organic farming research and cost share funding will be greatly diminished.

What’s going on?

Back in the fall, Congress made a mistake that prevents farmers from signing up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year, leaving over 9,000 farmers high and dry.*  And when Congress extended the old farm bill on New Year’s Eve, they left out dozens of critical sustainable agriculture programs – leaving them stranded without funding for the year!**

On Monday, the Senate will take up its own version of the bill to fund government programs through the rest of 2013 – and the Senate has a chance to fix the CSP mistake and to restore funding for key sustainable agriculture programs.  But they’ve got to know these issues matter.

The House failed to include these priorities in the funding bill it passed this week – the Senate can fix this!

Don’t let Congress leave these programs stranded!  Speak out today!

Please call your Senators:

Find their phone numbers here:

An example message for your Senator is: “I am calling about the Continuing Resolution.  Please tell the Senator to fix the Conservation Stewardship Program so USDA can hold a farmer sign-up this year.  Also tell the Senator to support mandatory funding in the bill for the programs that were stranded in the farm bill extension, including [name a few of the "stranded" programs below that are important to you, your farm, and your community!].**  These programs are important to farmers in [tell them your state!], and they must be funded.”

Making a call takes only a few moments – please call right now!

Thanks for all you do,

Sarah and Shavaun, The NSAC Grassroots Team

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* The problem impacting the Conservation Stewardship Program is a technical error that is currently preventing USDA from conducting a 2013 sign-up for the program.  This error can be corrected with a no-cost fix that will allow USDA to help farmers and ranchers install conservation practices this year!

** Some of the programs currently stranded without funding include:

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

Value-Added Producer Grant Program

Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program

Rural Energy for America Program

Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative

National Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Organic Production & Market Data Initiatives

Farmers Market Promotion Program

Outreach & Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Ranchers

Conservation Reserve – Transition Incentive Program

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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

About sustainableag

We are an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture.