News & Resources

FARM Program Launches Pilot of Workforce Development Evaluation

September 4, 2019

The National Dairy FARM Program is launching a pilot to get feedback on the new FARM Workforce Development (WFD) evaluation tool. The pilot is open to cooperatives and processors that participate in the FARM Program. FARM WFD equips dairy owners and managers with tools to enhance safe and thriving work environments.

The WFD evaluation tool is a best-practice assessment guide, rather than a set of standards. The goals of the evaluation tool are to help farms learn about HR and safety management best practices, identify which practices might be useful and track improvement over time.

By performing on-farm evaluations, the industry can also provide important assurances to supply chain customers. In response to dairy buyers and retailers concerned about on-farm labor practices, the FARM program has proactively created an on-farm evaluation tool that will serve as the industry’s voice to communicate that dairy is committed to providing safe and thriving work environments for employees and family members.

The goal of the pilot is to test out the FARM WFD evaluation tool with dairies across the country, with the most important part being producer feedback. Feedback from producers, cooperative and processor staff, and FARM evaluators will be key in refining the evaluation tool.

The FARM Program is grateful to the following organizations who have already committed to participating. Collectively, they aim to pilot the WFD evaluation with 45 to 50 dairy producers:

  • Agri-Mark, Inc.
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Foremost Farms USA
  • Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative
  • Michigan Milk Producers Association
  • Select Milk Producers

FARM expects the pilot to wrap up by the end of the calendar year. Around this time, FARM will launch a public comment period to get additional feedback. FARM will refine the evaluation accordingly and make it part of the FARM program in early 2020. The WFD evaluation will be a voluntary part of the FARM program, similar to FARM Environmental Stewardship, that cooperatives and processors can choose to implement with their members/producers.

Organizations interested in in learning more about participating in the pilot are encouraged to contact Nicole Ayache at nayache@nmpf.org.