Progress Continues on FARM Animal Care Version 5

The governance committees of the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program continue to make meaningful progress on updates to Version 5 of the Animal Care program that culminated in the third in a series of Industry Town Halls held June 30.

The FARM Animal Care Task Force, comprised of dairy farmers, veterinarians, dairy welfare academics, and cooperative and processor staff have met over a dozen times during the past year to review existing standards, results of an industry-wide survey and other sources of feedback to inform recommendations to improve the program. Thus far, task force meetings have highlighted the following areas:

  • Refinement to the how broken tails are evaluated
  • Establishment of a moderate lameness benchmark
  • Maintenance of the pain management for disbudding standard and heightened industry adoption
  • Consistency in pain management expectation for painful procedures of disbudding, castration and branding
  • Outcomes-based approach to nutrition provisions

The task force presented their initial recommendations for modifications to the program to the NMPF Animal Health and Well-Being Committee on June 8-9 following the NMPF Board Meeting. Once approved, the revisions will be put forward for a public comment period beginning after Labor Day that will be open through the end of October. A final proposal from the Committee will be presented to the NMPF Board of Directors in March 2023, and the new program will be implemented starting July 2024.