Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Two-day workshop in Washington will explore changes in use of antibiotics on food animals, and the ramifications

Antibiotic use in food-animal production and related issues will be the focus of a workshop Sept. 6 and 7 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service is organizing the workshop in collaboration with Farm Foundation.

"In the last two years, private companies and producers have been considering when and how antibiotics are used to satisfy consumer demand for products from food animals that have been raised with few or no antibiotics, as well as to comply with the new rules the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has implemented regarding antibiotic use in food animal production," notes a Farm Foundation press release. "This rapidly-changing landscape has also sparked discussion about how to incentive the development of new animal pharmaceutical products to which antibiotic resistance is less apt to develop. Often lacking in these discussions is information about the economic costs and benefits of such initiatives."

ERS Research Economist Stacy Sneeringer says, "In order to be able to make good policy and management decisions, public and private decision makers may benefit from information on the volume of antibiotics used, the costs of reducing antibiotic use and the demand for products produced with fewer antibiotics. But there are challenges surrounding confidentiality, costs and benefits of reducing antibiotic use, as well as in defining appropriate metrics."

The agenda is designed for academics, federal analysts, policymakers, non-profit representatives and industry stakeholders. Here is a tentative agenda. The workshop will include 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 the recent FDA policy changes on antibiotic use in food animal production; consumer demand for products raised without antibiotics and the associated price premiums; challenges of supplying U.S. beef raised with fewer antibiotics; the potential applicability to animal pharma of incentive mechanisms used in human pharma; and analysis of ongoing efforts to collect data on antibiotic use in U.S. food animal production. 

The workshop is free, but registration is required by close of business on Aug. 30. For more information, call Sneeringer at 202-694-5504 or Mary Thompson at Farm Foundation, 630-601-4152.

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