NMPF Board Votes to Require that Organizations Participating in FARM Animal Care Program Must Enroll All Dairy Farms in Their Supply Chain

Release date: October 28,2014
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GRAPEVINE, Texas – The board of directors of the National Milk Producers Federation voted Monday to require that each dairy marketing organization participating in the organization’s animal care program must enroll all its farmer-suppliers to ensure full participation in the program. 

The unanimous vote came as the board, meeting here during NMPF’s annual meeting, reviewed the structure and participation levels of the National Dairy F.A.R.M (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program.  Now in its fifth year, the FARM program features a set of on-farm practices demonstrating farmers’ commitment to responsible animal care. In addition to dairy cooperatives, the program is open to milk processors and individual farmers.  Cooperatives and processors handling 75% of the nation’s milk supply are implementing the FARM program, although not all farms involved in those organizations have reviewed and adopted the program’s practices. Under the new policy, cooperatives and processors must require that every farmer supplying them must enroll in the program.

NMPF Board Chairman Randy Mooney hailed the vote as sending a clear message that the program must not be implemented selectively, in order to continue demonstrating the universal value and integrity of the FARM program.

“The FARM program has become the dairy industry animal care standard because of its integrity, rigor and authenticity,” Mooney said. “This decision means each farm in a participating cooperative will be held to the same high standards, with no exceptions. It demonstrates that the nation’s dairy farms, regardless of size, are committed to high-quality animal care across the supply chain.”

The NMPF board also this week reviewed new provisions in the FARM program that establish a clear process to investigate allegations of animal mistreatment on farms enrolled in the program. Any such farm will be subject to an independent review and may be temporarily suspended from the program if the allegations are substantiated. A corrective action plan will be developed to address any issues. Once any needed remedial actions are taken, the dairy operation can be reinstated in the FARM program.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said this new policy will further strengthen the consistency of the program, and help such farms improve their animal care practices. “The goal of the FARM program is to assure a high level of quality animal care on our farms,” Mulhern said. “We want the program to be inclusive and adaptive. And where we find problems, we want to address and improve the situation rather than find ways to exclude individual farms from the program.”

Meredith Joins NMPF from Animal Agriculture Alliance

In another development involving the National Dairy FARM program, Emily Metz Meredith, vice president of communications and membership for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, will join NMPF next month as vice president of animal care. She replaces Betsy Flores, who left in mid-October for a position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Meredith, a lawyer, shown at right, will have primary responsibility for the FARM program. NMPF President Mulhern said, “With her strong livestock agriculture background, Emily is well equipped to take the FARM program forward, building support among dairy producers while also educating processors, retailers, food service, media and others. She has been a strong proponent in her career for dairy farmers, and we look forward to her bringing her advocacy skill set to our organization.”

Before joining the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Meredith was a litigation assistant in the New York Attorney General’s office. She also served a speechwriter at the Department of Agriculture. 

Meredith was recently named one of “40 under 40 in Agriculture” by Vance Publishing Co., publisher of Dairy Herd Management and other agri-business publications. In addition, she was named a “Rising Star” by PR News, a leading newsletter for communications professionals.

A Wisconsin native, Meredith has a degree in mass communications and international affairs from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Her law degree is from Seton Hall University Law School in New York.

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The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), 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. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit our website at www.nmpf.org.