Updates To Nat’l Dairy Farmers “Assuring Responsible Management” Program Released


Source: National Dairy Farmers news release

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program released today new versions of the Animal Care and Workforce Development Programs, refining, updating and improving agriculture-leading benchmarks for animal care and workforce best practices.

“This summer is an opportunity to showcase FARM’s commitment to continuous improvement. Through combined efforts we are positioning dairy producers to be prepared for the years ahead” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, executive director of FARM, an industry collaboration managed by the National Milk Producers Federation.

Formally reviewed every three years, the Animal Care and Workforce Development program areas underwent revisions to ensure appropriate standards and processes are conducted via FARM’s second party on-farm evaluations.

Animal Care Version 5 updates focus on refining and clarifying previous standards surrounding euthanasia, fitness for transport, calf management, and continuing education among others. The FARM Animal Care Task Force and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee developed standards reflecting current industry research after a two-year review and revision period.

With the consultation of industry stakeholder groups including farmers, animal scientists and veterinarians, Animal Care Version 5 aims to provide consistency and improvement across the program. Version 5 standards will be in effect until June 30, 2027.

Workforce Development Version 2 updates the evaluation tool used to assess and encourage the adoption of HR and safety best practices. In Version 2, the evaluation has been restructured to better group questions of similar themes and contains seven additional questions to further strengthen the tool surrounding communication and performance management. Version 2 was developed with input from the FARM Workforce Development Task Force, which includes farmers, cooperative and processor staff, and subject matter experts. The NMPF Executive Committee reviews recommendations from the Task Force for adjustments to the Workforce Development program. Like the Animal Care process, the NMPF Board of Directors provides final approval for program revisions.

Environmental Stewardship Version 3 is also set to launch later this summer. The update will integrate a new greenhouse gas model to offer updated science and the ability to run what-if scenarios to assess practice and technology options. The Ruminant Farm Systems (RuFaS) model, led out of Cornell University, will be the new engine for FARM Environmental Stewardship. The new platform will be flexible, with minimum data inputs closely matching Version 2 and optional data inputs – like details on feed production practices – to get more tailored results. This exciting upgrade will support dairy industry efforts to reach GHG neutral by 2050 as well as to respond to growing customer requests. With the initial launch scheduled for late July, the FARM Program is hoping producers and FARM Evaluators give constructive feedback so improvements can be made in 2025, when RuFaS model updates are also expected.

For version development details and more information surrounding the National FARM Program, please visit nationaldairyfarm.com.

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program was created by NMPF with support from Dairy Management Inc. in 2009. Program participation is open to all U.S. dairy farmers, cooperatives, and processors. Participants follow rigorous guidelines to ensure the utmost social responsibility on our nation’s dairy farms, while committing to continuous improvement. For more, visit nationaldairyfarm.com.

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.