Mulhern Defends Animal Care, Touts NMPF FARM Program at Dairy Forum
February 5, 2015
NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern defended animal care in the dairy industry and highlighted NMPF’s own responsible care program at the latest Food Dialogues session sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. The 90-minute online discussion originated from Boca Raton, Florida, and focused on animal care practices, particularly in the dairy industry.
Mulhern noted the frustration farmers feel when animal abuse videos surface in the media. While calling the videos “an aberration,” he said polls show consumers are genuinely concerned about animal care on farms, and that expectations across the food value chain have risen in recent years.
Mulhern explained that, to demonstrate dairy farmers’ commitment to humane care, NMPF in 2010 launched Farmers Assuring Responsible Management, or FARM, an on-farm education and evaluation program. Some 15,000 dairy farmers have since gone through the program’s second party education process, at the same time that organizations marketing 80 percent of the nation’s milk have committed to utilizing the program with all of their farmer-suppliers.
Calling it a “continuous improvement program,” Mulhern said FARM’s 50 on-farm animal care indicators are reviewed every three years and adjusted with input from farmers, veterinarians, animal care experts and the public. He indicated that in order for any animal care program to result in positive change, it needs to be widely adopted, which is why the FARM program will be successful as its adoption continues to grow.
Mulhern participated in the 14th Food Dialogues sponsored by the USFRA, an alliance of more than 80 farm organizations attempting to educate consumers about how food is grown and raised in America.