National Dairy FARM Program Reaches 70% Participation Threshold
April 8, 2013
The dairy industry’s animal care program has achieved an important milestone, with 70 percent of the nation’s milk now participating in the program. With the recent addition of several major cooperatives in the National Dairy FARM Program (Farmers Assuring Responsible ManagementTM), more than two-thirds of the nation’s cows will be covered by the industry’s animal well-being effort, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).
NMPF started the FARM program three years ago to provide a consistent, national, verifiable means of showing consumers and the food value chain how dairy products are produced. The number of cooperatives and processors subscribing to the program has continued to grow, and now includes farms producing 70% of America’s milk supply.
“Consumers and customers don’t expect perfection, but they do expect us to collectively demonstrate our industry’s responsible practices and our commitment to quality animal care,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “I’m proud of the ongoing progress our farmers are making by working to implement the FARM program’s guidelines on their own operations.”
In addition to the positive development in the level of participation in the program, Kozak said that the FARM program’s guidelines, contained in the National Dairy FARM Animal Care Manual, are in the final stages of an extensive review and revision process. After nearly a year of consultation throughout the industry, with farmers, veterinary experts, and cooperative staff, the three year-old animal care manual will be revised slightly to reflect the latest knowledge and best practices about proper dairy animal care. Revisions to the animal observation component also relied on analysis of over 360,000 animal observations collected through on-farm evaluations for FARM program over the last three years.
If the NMPF Board approves the revisions in June, the newly-revised manual will be made available on the FARM website at www.nationaldairyfarm.com.