Stop Government Overreach in Ranching Act Supported by State Farmer and Rancher Organization

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OKLAHOMA CITY—Federal legislation introduced by an Oklahoma congressman has many of the state’s farmers and ranchers hopeful for a reprieve from a new antibiotic regulation.

The Stop Government Overreach in Ranching Act was introduced to Congress June 12 by Congressmen Josh Brecheen (R-OK) and Eric Burlison (R-MO). American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) Cooperative is supportive of this legislation, which would reverse the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Guidance for Industry (GFI) #263.

Effective June 11, 2023, FDA GFI #263 requires farmers and ranchers to obtain a prescription to purchase commonly used livestock antibiotics, such as penicillin, oxytetracycline, gentamicin, sulfa-based antibiotics and many other antibiotics previously available over-the-counter. The proposed legislation would repeal GFI #263 and prohibit the FDA from issuing a similar restriction.

The new over-the-counter antibiotic restriction follows several years of frustration created by the FDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive, a 2015 rule that requires farmers and ranchers to obtain a veterinary prescription to purchase medicated feed for livestock. As the population of large animal veterinarians continues to decrease, farmers and ranchers have found obtaining a feed prescription progressively more difficult. Many of the large animal veterinarians still practicing are hesitant to write the prescriptions for various reasons. Some farmers and ranchers are concerned the new over-the-counter antibiotic restrictions will lead to the same complications they’ve experienced with medicated feed. When they need the antibiotics most, they may not be able to get them.

“Our cattle producers have been shocked by the news that they would be unable to purchase over the counter the same antibiotics they have used safely for decades,” said AFR Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “The sentiment from our farmers and ranchers has been clear and unanimous—It’s an unnecessary added expense and will be an undue burden on producers. Our livestock producers have years of experience managing these antibiotics; they know what their animals need to thrive. We applaud Rep. Brecheen’s trust in farmers and ranchers and his work to roll back this burden on American agriculture.”

American Farmers & Ranchers Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR principles.