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Livestock workshop to shine a light on new antibiotic legislation

Small-scale livestock producers — especially those who do not already have an established relationship with a veterinarian — are encouraged to attend “Maintaining Healthy Livestock in the New Era of Antibiotic Restrictions,” a workshop intended to educate owners in light of unprecedented antibiotic legislation.


“Livestock owners need to be aware of anything that can affect the way they conduct business, affects their bottom line, and how they raise livestock and treat any sick animals,” said Livestock Advisor Theresa Becchetti. “The restrictions will affect the small scale person much more than the commercial livestock owner since the costs will become prohibitive under economies of scale.”


Hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension, the goal of this workshop is to target small-scale livestock producers in the area to ensure they are aware of and prepared for new legislation that will require them to have a veterinarian-client-patient relationship in order to acquire a prescription for feed with antibiotics or therapeutic antibiotics to treat their sick animals.


“Until this point, there have not been any restrictions on antibiotics. Most of the small landowners probably went to the local farm supply store to get what they needed — it would have been the easiest and cheapest option to treat any sick animals,” said Becchetti. “To be clear, only certain ‘antiquated’ antibiotics like penicillin and tylan are currently available over the counter — most of the newer, more effective antibiotics are only available by prescription.


“While these ‘antiquated’ antibiotics have only limited efficacy, they are still very useful to small producers,” continued Becchetti.


During the workshop, there will be speakers addressing various topics, including how to keep animals healthy, what the new legislation will mean for backyard and small-scale livestock owners, and what to do if an animal gets sick.


These new restrictions are part of a nationwide effort to reduce the use of antibiotics that can be legally used in feed or water for food producing animals. The federal component, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, asks drug companies to voluntarily change labeling on all antibiotics to indicate that they are only able to be purchased with a prescription from a veterinarian.


Beginning January 2018, farmers in California will need a prescription to acquire antibiotics, which were previously sold over the counter at local farm supply stores and veterinaries, or through pharmaceutical representatives.


“Part of what we do as county based advisors for the University is to provide residents of the county with the current research and education from the campus, as well as keep people aware of any changes that will affect how they are able to care for their animals. This workshop does both,” said Becchetti.


“Maintaining Healthy Livestock in the New Era of Antibiotic Restrictions” will take place between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 5 at 3800 Cornucopia Way, Suite A in Modesto, and lunch will be provided. To register, visit For more information, contact Becchetti at 525-6800 or or Thomas Bauman at 634-5801 or