The National Milk Producers Federation board of directors last week approved changes to the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program to strengthen the effectiveness and credibility of its animal care standards. Many IDFA members participate in the FARM program, or similar programs, to ensure that they’re sourcing milk from companies that maintain high standards for animal care.
The revisions are based on input from farmers, veterinarians and others involved in the program’s technical writing group; NMPF’s Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee; and public comments. The approved revisions put greater emphasis on accountability among program participants and heightened attention on employee training, documenting veterinarian-client patient relationships, eliminating tail docking and updating protocols on euthanasia and non-ambulatory cattle.
“Dairy company executives have identified good animal care as an important issue for their companies, their customers and their consumers,” said Peggy Armstrong, vice president of communications for IDFA. “Committing to a strong animal care program, such as FARM, and communicating it across the supply chain will help companies to protect public confidence in milk and dairy products.”
Dairy farm evaluations based on the new version of the FARM Program will begin next January. For a summary of all the changes made to the program, visit www.nationaldairyfarm.com.
IDFA Offers Animal Care Communications Toolkit
To help members share their animal care policies across their supply chain and provide transparency about their commitment to good animal care, IDFA created the “Animal Care Communications Toolkit.” It discusses the value of comprehensive animal care programs, such as FARM, and includes sections on developing an animal-care values statement, responding to media and consumers requests, and finding additional resources and best practices.
Members with questions may contact Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.