Challenges to Changing Antibiotic Use in Food Animal Production: Economics, Data and Policy

Challenges to changing antibiotic use in food animal production, and the associated economics, data and policy issues, were the focus of a workshop Sept. 6-7, 2018, at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.  A collaboration of Farm Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS), the workshop drew more than 100 academics, federal analysts, policy makers, non-profit representatives and industry stakeholders.

In the last two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented new restrictions on how antibiotics can be used in livestock production. At the same time, private companies and producers have been carefully considering when and how antibiotics are used in order to comply with these restrictions, and satisfy consumer demand for product raised with few or no antibiotics.

This rapidly-changing landscape has sparked discussion about how to incentivize the development of new animal pharmaceutical products to which antibiotic resistance is less apt to develop. Often lacking is information about the economic costs and benefits of such initiatives.

One challenge to such research is data collection on sales and use of antibiotics in food animal production. In order to make policy and management decisions, public and private decision makers can benefit from information on the volume of antibiotics used, the costs of reducing antibiotic use, and the demand for products produced with fewer antibiotics. Obstacles to data collection include confidentiality, costs and defining appropriate metrics.

The workshop included presentation of new research on the economic aspects of changing antibiotic use on U.S. farms, as well as information on collection of data on the sale and use of antibiotics in U.S. food animal production. Other topics to be addressed include:

  • Changes in costs, practices and structures in the U.S. livestock sector and associated industries due to recent FDA policy changes on antibiotic use in food animal production.
  • Consumer demand for products raised without antibiotics, and associated price premiums.
  • The challenges of supplying U.S. beef raised with fewer antibiotics.
  • Potential applicability of  incentive mechanisms used in human pharma to animal pharma.
  •  Description and analysis of ongoing efforts to collect data on antibiotic use in U.S. food animal production.

Presentations made at the workshop are provided here as speakers have made them available:

Session 1: Impacts of 2017 FDA Antibiotic Use Policies on Producers

VFD Implementation Impacted Pig Farmers, Veterinarians & Feed Providers: Perspectives and Lessons Learned, Lee Schultz, MS, PH.D., Iowa State University

Experiences of New York State Dairy Farms with VFD Implementation: Perspectives from Farmers and Industry Professionals, Kelsey O’Shea, Farm Business Management Specialist, North Country Regional Ag Team, Cornell University

Impact of the VFD Changes at the Farm Level, Phil Durst, Senior Extension Dairy Educator, Michigan State University

Core Stewardship Principles for VFD Medicated Feed, Mike Murphy, DVM, Office of the Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Session 2: Evaluating Producer Demand for Antibiotics

Managing Derived Demand for Antibiotics in Animal AgricultureDavid Hennessy, Ph.D., Department of Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics, Michigan State University

Evaluating Animal Health Policies Using Livestock Production Data: Facts, Figures & Opportunities,  Elliott Dennis, MS, MBA, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University

Session 3: Collection of Data on Antibiotic Sales

What Antibiotic Use Data Can and Can’t Tell Us, Mike Apley, DVM, Ph.D., Kansas State University

 Monitoring Antibiotic Use in the Swine Industry, Peter Davies, BVSc, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Characterizing U.S. Animal Drug Consumption by Sales, Neal Bataller, ME, DVM, Director, Division of Surveillance, Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA

 FDA’s Proposed Biomass Denominator Method,  Susan Bright-Ponte, DVM, MPH, Diplomate ACVPM, Division of Surveillance, Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA

Session 4: Impacts of Veterinary Feed Directive Policies on Veterinarians

How the VFD Impacted Veterinarians’ Bottom Line, Gail R. Hansen, DVM, MPH, Hansen Consultants

Impact of FDA Veterinary Feed Directive Policies on Practicing Veterinarians: Results of a Quantitative Survey,  Cassidy Rist, DVM, MPH, Center for Public & Corporate Veterinary Medicine, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Session 5: Developing New Animal Pharma Products
Applicability to Animal Pharma of Drug Research and Development Incentive Mechanisms Currently Used in Human Pharma, Stacy Sneeringer, Ph.D., Economic Research Service, USDA

Antibiotic Stewardship in Animal Agriculture, Karin Hoelzer, DVM, Ph.D., Pew Charitable Trusts

Session 6: Markets for Products Labeled as Raised With Fewer Antibiotics

Structural Challenges of Supplying U.S. Beef Raised with Fewer Antibiotics, Maria Bowman, Ph.D., Economic Research Service, USDA

 Evaluation of Consumer Demand and Price Premiums for Poultry Products Raised Without Antibiotics, Elina Page, Ph.D., Economic Research Service, USDA                     

Price Premium & Welfare Losses of the ‘Natural’ Label: A Machine-Learning Application, Gianna Short, Ph.D. Candidate, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota



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