Feed Bites

Agriculture Needs Solutions, Can the Feed Industry Help?

Written by: Leah Wilkinson   |   May 29, 2024

Innovative FEED Act, CVM, Innovation

Last week, I attended and participated in the “State of the Science Summit” at the University of California, Davis, where over 250 experts came together to discuss the research, applicability and regulatory challenges in enteric emissions reduction strategies in animal agriculture. The global “who’s who” in the room collectively acknowledged the role of feeding strategies as a very important part in the reduction of enteric emissions. However, U.S. attendees remained reluctant to get their hopes up, since there were no approved feed ingredients for this intended use available in the market.  

Then this week, as we returned from the Memorial Day holiday, the “who’s who” was pleased to find out that the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) took action and announced its intention to utilize enforcement discretion for certain animal drug requirements for Bovaer®. Bovaer® is a feed ingredient approved in 58 other countries and can now be marketed in the United States for the reduction of enteric methane in lactating dairy cows. What a huge step forward for the animal food industry and the U.S. dairy industry!  

The summit clearly detailed the pressure governments, companies and ruminant producers are under to implement science-based practices to reduce enteric emissions. These practices need to be applicable for the producer, achieve the necessary reduction goal, be cost effective, maintain food security, and most importantly, have the confidence of the consumer that the practice is safe and achieves the intended effect.  

Feed strategies are an important part of the path to reducing enteric emissions but likely not the silver bullet to achieve the goals alone. The summit explored the latest in vaccines, animal breeding and genetics, grazing techniques and animal production efficiencies.

It was clear that no one practice can achieve this goal alone, yet feed strategies stand as one of the solutions closest to being available for on-farm applications and can build on other practices, if these newer feed ingredients can achieve a clearer path to regulatory approval.  

That’s where the American Feed Industry Association comes in. Back in 2020, we asked the CVM to modernize its policy to regulate products that opt to claim environmental benefits as “foods,” instead of “drugs.” Last week, the CVM officially rescinded that policy, clearing the path for Bovaer®, and we hope will clear the path for other animal foods that can reduce enteric methane emissions.  

Legislation is still needed to clearly provide the CVM with a pathway to approve these products and not live in the “enforcement discretion” gray area forever. The “who’s who” on the topic wants to live in the clear and not in the foggy gray area of unclear regulatory authority. Passing the Innovative FEED Act will give producers and consumers the clarity to know that these novel products are safe and achieve the intended effect.  

It's refreshing to see the world’s experts come together to discuss this important issue and work toward practical solutions.

Humanity is looking to us for solutions, and it’s our time to step up.

Can the feed industry help reduce enteric emissions? Absolutely. Now, with the help of the CVM and Congress, hopefully, many more can see that it is possible to make it through the dark tunnel of regulatory approval to bring these much-needed solutions to animal agriculture.  

Comments See our policy on comments

Post a Comment

Required Field