FARM Program Statement on Cactus Acres Holsteins Dairy, Ft. Morgan, Colorado

Release date: June 10,2015
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Statement from Emily Meredith, Vice President Animal Care:

“The National Milk Producers Federation and its National Dairy FARM™ (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program was recently notified by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) of animal care issues on one of its member farms in Fort Morgan, CO.  The FARM program, following its official protocol on Willful Mistreatment, launched a thorough investigation and today has placed Cactus Acres Holsteins on probationary status. 
 
Following notification from DFA, the FARM Program began gathering and reviewing evidence relating to reports of animal abuse on the dairy farm. In this situation, the evidence consists of excerpts from a video monitoring system used on the Cactus Acres farm, in which the farm owners witnessed several employees engaged in inappropriate treatment of animals.  In addition, the farm was notified by the local sheriff’s office of the existence of an undercover video produced by an animal rights activist who worked briefly at the farm.  
 
The FARM Program worked with DFA to dispatch the third party audit firm, Validus, to conduct an investigative audit into the animal care conditions on Cactus Acres. The audit consisted of animal observations, a review of both the internal video surveillance and undercover video footage, and interviews with current employees and farm management. 
 
Validus completed its investigative audit process late yesterday and a final report was received by the FARM program today, after which the decision about probationary status was made. 
 
The Goedert family, who own Cactus Acres Holsteins, has taken several corrective actions to address this situation, including terminating employees believed to have engaged in animal abuse. The Goedert’s fully cooperated with Validus during the investigative audit process and is developing a corrective action plan in consultation with their veterinarian and DFA.  
 
“The FARM program will work with the dairy to assist with their corrective action plan. The FARM program is founded on the principle of continuous improvement, and we commend the Goedert family for bringing these animal care concerns to light and the steps they are taking toward correcting them.
 
“The National Dairy FARM program, available to all producers, establishes an on-farm animal well-being program and third-party verification system that demonstrates farmers’ commitment to the highest standards of animal care. Today, more than 91 percent of the domestic milk supply is enrolled to participate in the FARM Program.” 
 
 
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.