Farm Safety Check: Antimicrobial Resistance

Farm Safety Check: Antimicrobial Resistance


Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms – bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites become resistant to antimicrobial substances, like antibiotics, antifungals and others. It is one of the most urgent threats to public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, at least 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. Combating AMR requires multifaceted efforts in many areas.

Antimicrobials, like antibiotics, play a critical role in treatment of animals and plants both on land and in water, helping to assure food safety and quality, animal health and welfare and farmer livelihoods. Producers are key in helping to reduce the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Because of this, adopting good agricultural and health practices for animals and people who work on farms is important for combating antimicrobial resistance for the community and our food supply.

Reviewed by: Addisalem Bedada


Disclaimer: Don’t forget to wear a mask and follow all social distancing practices in the applicable situations below.

  • Are you consulting a veterinarian before using antibiotics when animals get sick? Antibiotic use should involve veterinary oversight per U.S. guidance.
  • Are you continuing the full course and prescribed dose of antibiotics at the same frequency even when your animal shows improvement?
  • Do you use antimicrobials only for the intended animal?
  • Are you aware of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)? It is an important part of the FDA’s overall strategy to ensure the ethical use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals. Learn more here.
  • Are animal drugs properly labeled and separated? Example: drugs intended for use in dairy calves, dairy heifers, dairy bulls, and dry dairy cows must be labeled and segregated from drugs for cows that are currently being milked.
  • Are adequate animal vaccination, good worker and animal hygiene and animal welfare practices taking place? Those practices lead to healthier animals and reduce the need for antimicrobials.
  • Do employees receive proper training, wash hands and boots thoroughly before and after contact with animals, and change their clothes and shoes when working with livestock?
  • Do you keep a record of all antibiotic use, including dates and times? Learn more, including federal guidelines, here.
  • Is your farm complying with the state or local requirements for proper disposal of expired drugs, needles, gloves, syringes, sachets?
  • Do you always follow your healthcare provider’s advice when using antibiotics for yourself? For more information, please click here.

You and/or your employee(s) can download and print a pdf checklist to complete safety checks on your farm. Keep the completed forms for follow-up, future reference and inspections.


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