March 2017
Farm & Field

Veterinary Feed Directive Rules Are Here!

Before you can purchase a medicated feed or supplement, you will need to know the steps.

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past year, you’ve probably heard about the Veterinary Feed Directive rules. These rules became effective Jan. 1, 2017. Some of you may have gone to your local feed store to purchase a medicated feed or medicated supplement only to be told they could not sell it to you without your VFD paperwork.

Table 1. Drugs affected by VFD rules


Because VFDs are new for most everyone (veterinarians included!), let’s review what is involved in obtaining a VFD.

First, if you need a VFD medicated feed for treatment or prevention in your herd, you need to contact your veterinarian. (See Table 1 for a list of drugs requiring VFDs after Jan. 1, 2017.) Depending upon the situation, your veterinarian may need to make a farm visit to examine the animals.

Once your veterinarian has determined a VFD drug is warranted, he/she will fill out a VFD form (see Figure 1 for an example) to authorize use for your animals.

This form will contain full contact information for both the veterinarian and the producer. It will also indicate the drug, drug level in the product and drug delivery, as well as the drug claim. Most drug manufacturers have streamlined this process by creating VFD forms that already have this information prefilled and the veterinarian only needs to check the correct box(es). Please be advised that your veterinarian can only issue VFDs based on legal drug claims approved by FDA. For instance, your veterinarian cannot issue a VFD for treatment of foot rot with chlortetracycline.

The VFD will also be specific as to the duration of treatment and the group of animals being treated. If you have multiple groups of cattle in multiple locations, you will likely need multiple VFDs specific to each group.

The veterinarian will also indicate if the producer may use this VFD drug in combination with other approved drugs.


Figure 1. Sample VFD form

Finally, the veterinarian will indicate the date of VFD issuance and will set an expiration date, not to exceed six months from the date of issuance.

This form may be filled out in hard-copy form or electronically. Your veterinarian will issue you a copy and will need to send a copy to your feed dealer/manufacturer. Your local feed dealer cannot sell you the VFD feed or supplement without the possession of the VFD form. Failure to have this form at the time of order will result in delays in obtaining your medicated feed or supplement. The dealer must have the actual copy of the VFD paperwork in hand and cannot place an order or manufacture feed based on the promise of a VFD coming soon.

The VFD form will need to be retained for two years by the veterinarian, producer and the feed dealer and/or manufacturer. This form needs to be produced upon request in the event of an FDA inspection.

In summary, if you have regularly used drugs in the past that are now classified as VFD drugs, please be mindful of the extra steps and extra time involved in obtaining those medicated feeds and/or supplements now and plan accordingly. Don’t get caught with your pants down by not having the proper VFD paperwork when you need it. Once you obtain properly completed VFD forms from your veterinarian, you must keep these in your records for two years from the date of issuance and be capable of producing them upon inspection.

If you have additional questions about VFDs or the VFD process, visit Kansas State’s free educational module at or FDA’s site at DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm071807.htm. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact your local veterinarian, feed dealer or Ridley Block Operations representative and we will help guide you as best as we can.


Jackie Nix is an animal nutritionist with Ridley Block Operations ( You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-800-325-1486 for questions or to learn more about SWEETLIX mineral and protein supplements for cattle, goats, horses, sheep and wildlife. References available upon request.