Ohio Livestock Exhibition rules updated

Changes to Ohio Livestock Exhibition Rules sought after by livestock exhibitors and advocated for by Ohio Farm Bureau were recently made to sections of the Ohio Revised Code.

A subcommittee of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Advisory Committee on Livestock  Exhibitions was formed to update, clarify, simplify and reduce rules for livestock exhibitions, and Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Livestock Policy Roger High served on the subcommittee.

“The issue was that Ohio 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors were expected to utilize ‘approved’ drugs in their livestock at zero tolerance levels, whereas the rest of the livestock industry had Federal Drug Administration and Food Residue Avoidance Databank tolerance levels,” High said. “In other words, Ohio’s 4-H and FFA members were being held to a much higher level of expectations of drug residue tolerance than the rest of the livestock industry.”

This was only for approved drugs, High noted, which means a drug with an established tolerance approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration listed in 21 CFR Part 556 when used according to the label instructions for the species indicated on the label.

“Over the past several years OFBF members and their families’ animals were being tested, and although those animals were below the FDA and FARAD tolerance levels, they were still being penalized for utilizing an approved drug because Ohio Revised Code rules indicated that there was a zero tolerance for even approved drugs in their systems,” he said. “These approved drugs were being utilized primarily for fevers, bacterial infections, viral infections and pain management. Common issues in the entire livestock industry and important for animal welfare.”

At the 2023 Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, delegates voted to establish a policy that would support these changes in the Ohio Revised Code.

Now if an “approved” drug is used with a valid Veterinarian/Client/Patient Relationship (VCPR) to treat their livestock, the exhibitors and their families will only be penalized if the livestock project is over FDA and FARAD Tolerance Guidelines and not zero tolerance guidelines.

The new rules went into effect in late May. They included the removal of the Zero Tolerance Guidelines for Livestock Exhibitors exhibiting their livestock and replaced with the FDA and FARAD Tolerance Guidelines, with one notable exception.

“The FDA guidelines are only for those livestock species with established tolerance levels. If there is not an established or approved tolerance level from FDA or FARAD for a species, then they will remain at zero tolerance,” High said.

Photo credit: Ohio State Fair

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