Workshop to Examine Challenges for Economic Analysis of Antibiotic Use in Food Animals

Challenges to changing antibiotic use in food animal production and the associated economics, data and policy issues will be the focus of a workshop Sept. 6-7, 2018, at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. [Source: Farm Foundation, July 23, 2018]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) is organizing this 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 (FDA) has implemented regarding antibiotic use in food animal production.

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.

"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," says Stacy Sneeringer, ERS Research Economist. "But there are challenges surrounding confidentiality, costs and benefits of reducing antibiotic use, as well as in defining appropriate metrics."

The workshop is targeted to academics, federal analysts, policy makers, non-profit representatives and industry stakeholders. A tentative agenda is available.

The Sept. 6-7 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.
  • The challenges of supplying U.S. beef raised with fewer antibiotics.
  • The potential applicability to animal pharma of incentive mechanisms used in human pharma.
  • Analysis of ongoing efforts to collect data on antibiotic use in U.S. food animal production.

There is no charge to participate in this workshop, however, registration is required by close of business on Aug. 30, 2018.

Stacy Sneeringer, ERS, 202-694-5504
Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation, 630-601-4152