TOPEKA (KSNT)- Farmers and ranchers listen up; If you “doctor” your livestock, the way you buy antibiotics is about to change.

Right now, farmers and ranchers can walk into any farm supply store and buy antibiotics for their livestock right off the shelf. But this coming June, they’ll need a prescription.

This summer, the FDA will enact a new policy making it mandatory for farmers to get a prescription from a veterinarian to buy antibiotics. The goal is to keep antimicrobials effective for both humans and animals, by hopefully preventing resistant bacteria from making the medications ineffective.

According to the CDC each year in the U.S., at least 2,000,000 people get sick from antibiotic-resistant bacteria and 23,000 people die as a result.

The CDC says the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animals that enter the food supply adds to this problem. Kansas farmers say getting a prescription for livestock won’t be much different than getting one for yourself.

“How we think of a doctor and patient relationship here, whereas a doctor might call in a prescription for a patient who is established in their practice,” said Greg Doering, Kansas Farm Bureau Media Manager. “This is going to kind of do the same thing for producers, farmers ranchers, and their veterinarians.”

Experts say with this new change, there shouldn’t be an upcharge in getting antibiotics from a farm supply store. The only new expense would be for those who don’t yet have a veterinary- client- patient relationship.

“So, the added cost may be if a producer does not already have a veterinarian, client, patient relationship and there needs to be a visit to establish that or if there’s a charge for the prescription,” said Mike Apley, K-State college of Veterinary Medicine.

I spoke with one local farmer who agrees that it might be more costly for them- but the average consumer shouldn’t notice a change.

“The prescription cost, it may end up pushing the antibiotics to a little higher cost; but as far as with overall, it could also affect our bottom line if antibiotics go up, but I don’t think it will affect the overall price of beef,” said Russel Rezac, Rezac Land and Livestock.

He says he most producers he knows already have an established relationship with veternarians- so this new addition is a good way to keep all of the animals healthy.

”I think it’s just a good policy to help maybe some smaller producers get a better vet- clientele relationship and just so we can keep producing healthy beef; just one more layer on it,” Rezac said.

This new policy will go into effect June 11, 2023

Dr. Apley says it’s important to get that veterinarian- client relationship established before then, so they are able to write prescriptions as needed.