This 3-year project represented a continuation of the tri-state (Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island) SARE state programs to promote sustainable meat production in the three states. Earlier phases of work addressed production of grass-fed animals on a year-round basis to improve access to meat processing facilities. This project provided education, in response to needs assessment data, about concerns and regulations related to use of antibiotics in food animals and antibiotic stewardship best practices. The term antibiotic stewardship refers to the careful and responsible planning and management of antibiotic resources in food animals.
Through a series of 9 workshops over three years, the project educated 114 agricultural service providers and 76 farmers about:
- Current antibiotic/drug use in food animal production
- FDA and USDA regulations, labeling and availability of drugs
Maintaining and enhancing protocols to treat sick food animals
- Analyzing production practices to improve practices that promote animal health
- Educational tools for agricultural service providers to use with farmers that may reduce uses of drugs and antibiotics, and enhance food animal environment
Workshops were carried out in partnership with service provider groups, and presenters included FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine officials, USDA APHSIS staff, veterinarians, livestock producer organizations, UConn School of Pharmacy staff, and pediatricians. Workshop participants completed on-site evaluations at workshops. Based on these evaluations, 83 agricultural service providers and 26 farmers reported changes in knowledge and skills in the program content areas as a result of their participation.
Our performance goal was to have a core group of at least 8 agricultural service providers conduct education programs for 100 farmers and an additional 48 agricultural service providers share information they learned with farmers. Through follow-up surveys conducted each year after completion of all workshops we verified that 28 agricultural service providers took action to teach or advise 822 farmers using information learned. Twenty-one (21) farmer participants also responded to follow-up surveys, and of these respondents, 9 reported either making changes on their farms or sharing information with other farmers. Reported changes included reductions in the use of medications in animals and doing more research on the use of medications.
Participants in project workshops, including veterinarians, reported anecdotally that these workshops were the only place that information and discussion was available to them about the issue of antimicrobials and antibiotic resistance. The project developed strong collaborations with FDA and USDA officials who wanted to find ways to reach out to farmers about these important issues. Participants have suggested a real need for further education about animal health.
8 agricultural service providers will deliver educational programs about: protocols to keep animals healthy; production systems to reduce drug use in livestock; and new regulations on the use of drugs in food animals to 100 CT, MA and RI farmers with 1,500 animals. An additional 48 agricultural service providers will deliver information to farmers about current drug use in food animals, proposed regulation changes, and production systems that may not require drugs and antibiotics.
In 2011, estimates were that close to 30 million pounds of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. were used in animal agriculture (80% of all antibiotics sold). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that antibiotic-resistant infections sicken at least 2 million people every year and that more than 23,000 die as a result. Although the majority of these infections occur in healthcare settings, concern has grown over antibiotic-resistant infections from food and the contribution that sub-therapeutic antibiotic use on farms (meaning below the dosage levels used to treat diseases) makes to resistance.
In 2014 we surveyed 110 agricultural service providers, veterinarians, and university educators about their need and interest to learn about antibiotic use in animal agriculture and concerns and practices related to their use. Of the 44 respondents, 37 (84%) of respondents stated that agricultural service providers and farmers need education about the use of drugs/antibiotics in food animal production. 32 respondents (73%) also indicated they were receiving questions in their work about this topic from consumers, farmers, educators and service providers, and 33 (75%) said that they would likely attend workshops. In meetings with NRCS personnel, they also committed to involving their staff in training programs.
Analysis of responses about specific topics showed that the respondents considered the following educational topics essential:
- Insuring adequate drug protocols to treat sick animals
- Possible alternatives to current practices of drug use such as to; reduce stress, increase exercise, change diet, different management systems
- Government regulations proposed for uses of drugs/antibiotics/hormones
The 2014 Needs Assessment Survey is attached. Assessment-Questionaire-Results-2014.
The intent of this 3-year project was to offer specific educational opportunities for agricultural service providers on these topics so that they would be able to educate farmers on how to prevent disease and treat sick animals
Three workshops were conducted each year on topics that the assessment demonstrated as essential, one in each state, for a total of nine over the three year period. Workshops were carried out in partnership with service provider groups. Presenters included FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine officials, USDA APHIS staff, veterinarians, livestock producer organizations, UConn School of Pharmacy staff, pediatricians.
Year 1 — Current FDA regulations and enforcement of them; USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service; antibiotic/drug use in food animal production; issues of Antibiotics in Animals for Human Consumption from pediatrician’s perspective.
Year 2 — Management of Anthelmintic Resistance on the Farm and Anthelmintic Resistance in Production Systems, FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention, Alternative Production Practices to Enhance Poultry Health.
Year 3 – FDA Presentation on Medically Important Antimicrobials in Animal Agriculture after 1 January 2017; Agricultural Applications for Antimicrobials. A Danger to Human Health: An Official Position Statement of the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists; USDA Veterinary Services – An Exploration of What it Means to Safeguard Animal Agriculture; Veterinary Feed Directive (VFDs) in practice from the feed industry and the pharmaceutical industry perspective. Year three programs also included group discussion on ways that agricultural service providers can communicate this information to farmers.
Announcement of workshops was provided on line and at our website, www.meatsystems.uconn.edu with references and materials provided on-line. Advisers to the project also announced workshops through their mailing and email lists. Workshop materials and other information are posted on the website. Service providers were able to contact project staff through the website to present questions or information following each workshop.
Milestones for year 1
Year 1 Milestone Accomplishments
Year 1 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) Milestone Accomplishments
- 110 agricultural service providers and their service provider organizations receive advertisements for three different workshops on Health Care Practices for Our Food Animals. Workshop advertisements are posted on web site meatsystems.uconn.edu and through other agricultural service provider publications. Our priority audiences for workshops are agricultural service providers.
Complete. 6 different notices for the three 2015 workshops were sent to an email list of 425 persons; a workshop announcement was posted in the CT Dept. of Agriculture Bulletin; notices are posted on the web site. In addition members of the Animal Health Working Group forward workshop announcements to other mailing lists and contacts.
- The core group of 6- 8 agricultural service providers and 8 additional service providers attend the first of three workshops on current antibiotic/drug use in food animal production. Workshop provides information on labeling; availability of drugs from all sources, including over-the-counter, mail order, internet, and prescription; reading and understanding labels. (Winter 2015)
Complete: The first workshop was held August 2015 in Connecticut with 27 participants. Topics included FDA current regulations and compliance activities, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS food safety and drug residues) and an overview look at facts and concerns related to antibiotic usage in food animals.
- The core group of 6- 8 agricultural service providers and 8 additional service providers attend the second of three workshops on understanding current antibiotic/drug use and practices in food animal production. Workshop includes information on FDA regulations, state agricultural and department of health regulations, use of drugs to promote growth. (Spring 2015)
Complete. The second workshop was held in September in Massachusetts with 17 participants. Topics were similar as in the first workshop and the workshop included a discussion session led by an assistant professor from Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine. .
- The core group of 6- 8 agricultural service providers and 8 additional service providers attend the third of three workshops on understanding current antibiotic/drug use and practices in food animal production. Workshop will focus on answers to questions and issues raised in the first two workshops and discussion of ways to document farmer use of drugs/antibiotics. (Summer 2015)
Complete. The third workshop was held in September in Rhode Island with 19 participants. Topics were similar as in the first workshop and the workshop included a panel discussion with 3 veterinarians, Coordinator of Rhode Island Raised Livestock Association and a pediatrician.
- All documents and additional background information are provided on web site meatsystems.uconn.edu. (Summer 2015)
Ongoing. The website is updated frequently and includes presentations from workshops as well as other information on project topics.
- Between workshop meetings, project staff will solicit input from core participants on additional learning needs that arise from each meeting. Project staff will also meet with veterinarians, agricultural service provider, groups, and university educators to review or modify curricula for Year 2 workshops. (Spring-Fall 2015)
Complete. The core group of participants in the Animal Health Working Group included 26 members at the first conference call meeting in April 2015. Since then 6 additional members have been added. The group met by conference call to assist in planning the 2015 workshops. Four phone meetings were held from April through August. The group shares published information about antibiotic resistance issues. Project staff work directly with working group members in planning workshops.
Milestones for year 2
Year 2 Milestone Accomplishments
Year 2 (October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016) Milestone Accomplishments
The original working group for the project expanded to 24 persons. (Those listed as members of the Food Animal Health Care Working Group in the key individuals section of this plan.) From that group we now have a core group as follows:
- Ron Celella, Veterinarian – CT
- Michael Darre, Professor -UConn
- Masoud Hashemi. Extension Faculty, UMass
- Jennifer Hashley, Director, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
- Diane Hirsch, Extension Educator – UConn
- Dennis Thibeault, Veterinarian – RI
- James Hyde, NRCS – CT
- Scott Marshall, RI State Veterinarian
- Heidi Quinn, RI Raised Livestock Association
- Carrie Chickering-Sears, Extension Educator, UMass
We have learned from our year one and year two experience that we could not expect participants to attend out of state workshops throughout the year within a three state region. The working group members requested that we offer similar workshops in different states, rather than a different workshop on a different topic in each state. Core group members have attended workshops in their own states and are active participants in the project.
The Project Director has numerous ongoing contacts with members of the core group by email and telephone. Members are actively sharing information on issues of antibiotic resistance and regulation. They are contributing agenda items for workshops and proposing workshop presenters.
- 110 agricultural service providers and their service provider organizations receive advertisements for three workshops on Health Care Practices for Our Food Animals. Workshop advertisements are posted on web site and through other agricultural service provider publications. Our priority audiences for workshops are agricultural service providers.
Complete. We held workshops on December 9, 2015, April 22, 2016 and September 8, 2016. 2016. Six mailings went to our master list of 436 farmers, agricultural service providers, and their organizations.
- The core group of 6- 8 agricultural service providers and 8 additional service providers attend the first of three workshops on the topic of insuring adequate drug protocols to treat sick animals, a topic that was identified as high priority in our needs assessment. (Winter 2015)
Complete. First workshop was held December 9, 2015 in Connecticut with 17 participants, all of whom were service providers. The topic was FDA Current Regulations and the New Veterinary Feed Directive.
- The core group of 6- 8 agricultural service providers and 8 additional service providers attend the second of three workshops on the topic of insuring adequate drug protocols to treat sick animals, and record keeping processes to document uses of drugs/antibiotics. (Spring 2016)
Complete. Workshop held on April 22 with 16 participants (12 service providers and 4 farmers) in Massachusetts on the topic of maintaining and enhancing protocols to treat sick animals.
- The core group of 6- 8 agricultural service providers and 8 additional service providers attend a workshop that presents information on practices that reduce the need for drug use, a topic that was identified as high priority in the needs assessment. (Fall 2016)
Complete. The third workshop on September 8 in Rhode Island at URI East Farm had 18 participants (16 service providers and 2 farmers) on the topics of Anthelmintic Resistance, Antibiotic Residue and Regulations for Use of Antibiotics’, and Keeping Animals Healthy.
- All participants in year 1 workshops will receive follow-up questionnaires to assess actions taken as result of year 1 workshops and to solicit input on additional learning needs. Based on this information project staff met with veterinarians, agricultural service provider, groups, and university educators to review or modify curricula for Year 3 workshops. (Summer/Fall 2016)
Complete. In December 2015 a follow-up survey using Survey Monkey was sent to all 63 persons who participated in year one workshops. We had responses from 17 persons (6 of those were farmers and 11 were service providers). Seventy-six percent (13) of all respondents said presentation about FDA and USDA helped moderately or considerable understand federal regulations and compliance; 50% reported considerable clarification of the need for antibiotic stewardship initiatives that address antibiotic resistance in human and food animal care systems. 14 respondents (10 service providers and 4 farmers) reported they reached 180 individuals with information from these workshops including 88 farmers, 44 agricultural service providers, 35 educators, and 13 community leaders.
- All documents and additional background information are provided on web site meatsystems.uconn.edu. (Fall 2016)
Ongoing. The website is updated frequently and includes presentations from workshops as well as other information on project topics.
Milestones for year 3
Agricultural service providers first increase their own knowledge about the uses of antibiotics and drugs in food animal production systems. In order to educate farmers they need the most up-to-date understanding of regulations and best practices for livestock health. Curricula for workshops is developed with information and assistance from veterinary, university, and regulatory professionals.
Following training agricultural service providers will be prepared to:
• Educate farmers in assessing their use of antibiotics with their animals
• Educate farmers in learning about alternative management actions that decrease need for use of antibiotics or drugs
• Educate farmers on soil health and nutritional and medicinal qualities of forage.
• Provide examples to farmers of alternative management systems
• Refer farmers to answers to specific questions on regulation
• Understand prophylactic antibiotics that are included in feeds
• Agricultural service providers will be prepared to document and record actions taken by famers as a result of their work with them.
Year 3 (October 1, 2016 – October 31, 2017) Milestone Accomplishments
1. 110 agricultural service providers and their service provider organizations receive advertisements for two different workshops on Health Care Practices for Our Food Animals. Workshop advertisements are posted on web site and through other agricultural service provider publications. Our priority audiences for workshops are agricultural service providers. (Fall 2016/Winter 2017)
Complete: Throughout the year 11 different notices and reminders were sent to our email list of 420 persons; announcements were posted on the web site; core group members shared information with their own mailing lists; updated information from each workshop was posted on the web site www.meatsystems.uconn.edu
2. The core group of agricultural service providers and other invited service providers participate in a workshop on regulations and models for record keeping and documentation of the use of antibiotics. The workshop will present ways to present this information to farmers.
Complete: The workshop was held on December 16, 2016 in Tolland. CT with 32 participants; 28 agricultural service providers and 4 farmers; 4 persons were members of our core group. Topics were adapted from the original plan and included: FDA Veterinary Feed Directive, a presentation on Agricultural Applications for Antimicrobials by Dr. Michael Nailor, Pharm D, UConn, and a panel discussion on use of this information.
3. All participants in year 2 workshops will receive follow-up questionnaires to assess actions taken as result of year 2 workshops. (Spring 2017)
Complete: Respondents to our December 2016 survey of 2016 workshop participants reported sharing information on the 2016 topics with 411 farmers.
4. A second workshop in a different state will continue to provide information on new federal regulations and models for record keeping and documentation of the use of antibiotics. Representatives of the feed industry, pharmaceutical providers and state and federal regulators will present at this workshop.
Complete: The June 22, 2017 workshop held in Amherst, Mass. included presentations by Michael Murphy, Veterinary Medical Officer from the FDA on Medically Important Antimicrobials in Animal Agriculture after January 1, 2017; by feed industry management on documentation issues, and the USDA Veterinary Services. It also included group discussion on processes for sharing this information with farmers. 14 participants included 11 agricultural service providers and 3 farmers; 4 core group members were present.
5. The core group of agricultural service providers participates in a workshop to assemble and analyze the information now available for service providers on regulations and on documentation and record keeping. The workshop will provide guidance on the most effective tools for communicating these materials to farmers, teaching the core group how to use models for record keeping and documentation.(Summer 2017)
Complete: This workshop held in Kingston RI included 19 persons; 15 agricultural service providers, 3 farmers, one writer; 4 of whom were core group members. It included the latest updates on VFDs in Practice – documentation models from feed companies; updates from pharmaceutical providers, Medically Important Antimicrobials in Animal Agriculture from the FDA, and the work of USDA APHIS on Safeguarding Animal Agriculture. Workshop included group discussion on reaching out and communicating this information to farmers.
6. All documents and additional background information are provided on website. The project will publicize and circulate the materials that have been developed in year 3 through the web site www.meatsystems.uconn.edu and will investigate social media applications for sharing the material. (Summer/Fall 2017)
Complete: The website now includes links to all of the FDA guidance available on uses of antimicrobials in animal agriculture and to papers presented at the workshops.
7. All participants receive end-of-project questionnaires to assess actions taken as result of the project and the overall influences of the project on their work with farmers.
Complete: A survey was recently completed of all participants in this project over the three year period.
Milestone Activities and Participation Summary
Educational activities and events conducted by the project team:
|Activity||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total|
|Webinars, talks and presentations||2||2||4|
|Workshop / field days||3||3||3||9|
Beneficiaries who particpated in the project’s educational activities and events:
|Audience||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total Individuals|
|Farmers / ranchers||28||41||7||76|
Overall 83 agricultural service providers reported positive changes in knowledge, skills and/or attitudes as a result of their participation in workshops as reported by the on-site evaluation forms which we asked them to complete at each of the nine workshops. The evaluation forms asked them to report changes in knowledge, skills or attitudes and also to tell us whether they intended to use this knowledge gained from this project in their work with farmers. Over the three year period 83 service providers reported changes in knowledge and 62 of these service providers reported that they would use this knowledge in their work with farmers. Twenty-six (26) farmers reported that they had positive learning changes.
Key areas in which the service providers (and farmers if indicated above) reported a change in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness on evaluation forms completed at the workshop:
Year 1 key areas of learning verified
• Increased understanding of current antibiotic and drug use in food animal production
• Understanding of FDA and USDA regulations and inspection services
• Public health activities around issues of antibiotics in food animal production
Year 2 Key areas of learning verified
• Antibiotic Residue and Regulations for the Use of Antibiotics
• Anthelmintic Resistance
• Keeping Animals Healthy
• Management of Resistance on the Fam
• Mild and Dairy Beef Drug Residue
• Alternative Practices for Poultry Health
• FDA – Veterinary Feed Directive
Year 3 key areas of learning verified
• FDA -- Veterinary Feed Directive and Rules on Antimicrobials after January 1, 2017
• Antibiotic Use in Animals and Dangers to Human Health
• USDA Veterinary Services – Safeguarding Animal Agriculture
• VFDs in Practice – what the Veterinary Feed Directive means for producers, feed mills, and veterinarians and the pharmaceutical industry
Performance Target Outcomes
Performance Target Outcomes - Service Providers
Year 1 Narrative
Following completion of the three workshops for Year 1 we designed a follow-up survey using Survey Monkey. The survey was sent to all 61 persons who participated in one or more of the workshops. We were interested in learning whether participants reported learning from the workshops, what actions they had taken since the workshops, and what further learning they wanted about this topic. We were aware that it was only at most 2 months since the workshops were completed. Eighteen persons, 14 service providers and 4 farmers, responded (30%). Some were both farmers and ag service providers. Data is summarized in Table 1. 14 service provider respondents reported they reached 180 individuals with information from these workshops including 88 farmers, 44 agricultural service providers, 35 educators, and 13 community leaders.
In addition, the survey showed strong interest from agricultural service providers and farmers in learning about the new FDA VFD (Veterinary Feed directive) which will affect use of antibiotics on farm and requests from all for more new information provide about the development of antibiotic resistance both in animals and humans. These are topics to be addressed in Year 2 of the project.
Year 2 Narrative
In later 2016 following the completion of Year 2 workshops we surveyed (by Survey Monkey) the 57 different persons who attended those workshops. We had a 20% response (11). Six (6) service provider respondents reported that they had reached 337 farmers with information from workshops.
We continued to have strong interest in the FDA regulations and how they are proposed to be implemented. Participants were also very interested in discussing with veterinarians how they can keep animals healthy using limited antibiotics and how they manage the delivery of antibiotics to animals.
Year 3 Narrative
At three year project completion (December 2017) we surveyed all of the participants from the three year workshops, totaling 185 individuals. Respondents totaled 24: 13 farmers; 11 agricultural service providers. Of farmers, 87% (11) reported that they had learned more about health care practices for their food animals and 60% (8) changed on-farm practices after the workshops. Of the service provider respondents 62% (8) said that they had reached 397 farmers with information and advice.
On the survey 22 of the 24 respondents reported learning more about:
Providing antibiotics in feed for animals;
Providing antibiotics other than in feed to animals;
FDA regulations for the use of antibiotics and the Veterinary Feed Directive;
One Health concepts linking animal, human and environmental health;
On-farm practices that protect the health of animals and safeguard animal agriculture;
Alternatives to antibiotics to protect the health of animals;
Each of the year 3 workshops included a discussion about best ways to reach out to farmers and communicate information to them on these topics.
Our target for this three year project was that 8 service provider core participants would provide programming for farmers throughout the 3 states and 48 additional service providers would provide information to farmers. The verified information from our surveys confirmed that 28 service providers used skills from these workshops to work with farmers. The service providers reported that they had reached 822 farmers through their efforts over the three year period..
Additional Project Outcomes
Year 1 Narrative
In developing the 2015 workshops we wanted to offer participants direct information on the work of the FDA and USDA FSIS in testing for antibiotic residue and working with farmers. This led to the development of an ongoing working collaboration with FDA and USDA FSIS staff in the northeast area. We will continue to work with them in the next two years of the program.
In Connecticut and Rhode Island we collaborated with two pediatric physicians who are addressing the issue of antibiotic resistance in the patients and who continue to look at the possible connections between resistance in humans and resistance in animals. They provided important data to participants at the workshops while also raising questions for future discussion.
Year 2 Narrative
During the year we had increased interest and participation among area veterinarians. The issue of the FDA implementation of the Veterinary Feed Directive on January 1 2017 was of significant interest to participants. They were also very interested in learning about managing the use of antibiotics for sick animals. We are receiving questions about the effects of antibiotic use on soils and on use of manure in fields.
Year 3 Narrative
In year three we had strong collaboration with Feed Commodities International, which has developed an excellent process for implementing the VFD program. Their staff presented at workshops and helped farmers, veterinarians, and other asps understand how to work within FDA rules and secure necessary medicated feed. Our collaboration with the FDA also strengthened over this period with excellent presentations and participation by the Veterinary Medical Office. The workshop presentations by the regional USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service provided new insights into the issues of animal health and prevention of disease.
Outreach about SARE:
Information about SARE grants and information resources was provided at the programs and events listed below.
Year 1 (2014-2015) SARE Outreach Activities
Event/Activity Number of Contacts with Farmers: 145 Ag. Professionals: 45
UConn Workshop Southington
CT NOFA Conference
Hartford Ag Day at the Capitol
UConn Workshop New Haven
Rhode Island Raised Livestock
UConn Litchfield Workshop
CT NOFA workshop
Year 2 (2015-2016) SARE Outreach Activities
Event/Activity Number of Contacts with Farmers: 64 Ag. Professionals: 57
CT NOFA Conference
Ag Day at the Capitol
UConn Dairy Conference
Year 3 (2016-2017) SARE Outreach Activities
Event/Activity Number of Contacts with Farmers: Ag. Professionals
CT Farm Bureau Annual meeting
CT NOFA Winter Conference
Hartford Ag Day at the Capitol
NSARE Grants presentation as part of RMA USDA Workshop
CT Pomological Society Annual Conference
CT Christmas Tree Growers meeting
Dairy Conference UConn
NEW ENGLAND FARMERS UNION 2016 Annual Convention December 3, 2016
CT Food Policy Council March 2017
Received information about SARE grant programs and information resources:
Audience Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total
Service providers 45 57 70 172
Farmers 145 64 235 444
Recieved information about SARE grant programs and information resouces:
|Audience||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total|