Training for dairy farm families in the responsible use of antibiotics on the farm

Date published: 02 January 2019

Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR) is becoming a commonly heard phrase both at home and on the farm. A new training course will be delivered under the Farm Family Key Skills Programme to explain more about AMR, and its impact on animal and human health and how to minimise the risks of AMR on dairy farms.

Anti-microbial resistant microbes are found in people, animals, food and the environment (in water, soil and air). However, in recent years it has been reported that the microbes, which cause diseases, are developing resistance to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics. Over time this can lead to the drugs becoming ineffective in treating infections and diseases. This is a serious threat to human and animal health worldwide.

A new training course, supported by industry, focusing on ‘Responsible Use of Antibiotics in the Dairy Herd’, has been developed and will be delivered by Animal Health & Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI), as part of the Farm Family Key Skills (FFKS) programme.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is supportive of the initiative and is encouraging farmers to attend the course. UFU president, Ivor Ferguson said: “As a farming industry, we are committed to playing our part in reducing antibiotic usage and resistance. Significant progress has already been made in the pig and poultry sectors, which have seen their usage fall by over 50% and 80% respectively. Historically, those working with cattle are smaller users of antibiotics but there are improvements that can be made. These courses will help to raise awareness and enable producers identify areas where they can make changes within their own businesses.”

The course is fully supported by Dairy UK and dairy companies, as an excellent complement to the MilkSure training programme, and they will be actively encouraging producers to take part in these workshops and continue working to ensure that NI milk is produced to the highest standards.

Sam Strain, AWHNI, part of the team of vets delivering the course, says the training will equip farmers on how to reduce and optimise their use of antibiotics. It will give key tips on the best use of antibiotics and how to avoid the risk of residues. The training will be delivered across Northern Ireland and each participant will receive a training and attendance certificate that fulfils current assurance scheme recommendations.

The training is free to farmers, farm family members and employees. 

The workshops will commence in early January 2019 and take place at local venues throughout Northern Ireland over the coming months. They will be delivered by qualified veterinary surgeons

Farm Family Key Skills programme (FFKS) is an initiative within the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS). FBIS is a key element of the NI Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and is part funded by the EU

A full list of dates, venues and times of workshops can be found on the CAFRE website.

For more information on attending or arranging training in your area, contact Animal Health & Welfare NI (AHWNI), email, Tel: 028 7963 9333.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption: Launch of Responsible Use of Antibiotics on the Dairy Farm training course. L to R Norman Fulton, Deputy Secretary DAERA; Paul Vernon, Dairy UK Chairman; Sam Strain, AHWNI Chief Executive; Ivor Ferguson, UFU President; Geoff Thompson, UFU; Don Morrow, CAFRE.
  2. College of Agriculture Food & Rural enterprise (CAFRE) is responsible for the delivery of the Farm Family Key Skills (FFKS) programme.
  3. For more information on FFKS, please email or call Knowledge Transfer Administration on 028 9442 6790.
  4. The FFKS programme is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
  5. The department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department’s internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.
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  7. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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