NMPF’s Mulhern Speaks at Annual Meeting


NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern speaks at the organization’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, NV on Nov. 16.

FARM Program’s Yeiser Stepp on Rethinking Dairy Engagement

Emily Yeiser Stepp, NMPF’s vice president for the National Dairy FARM Program, discusses how 2020 changed the way dairy-sector engagement has pivoted into the virtual world. She speaks on RFD-TV.


NMPF Awarded USDA Grant to Advance On-farm Biosecurity

The National Milk Producers Federation today was awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to develop and improve biosecurity on U.S. dairy farms.  

As one of two livestock industry organizations chosen along with 16 state animal health authorities and 14 land-grant universitiesNMPF will use the $488,603 grant to implement and coordinate the Secure Milk Supply (SMS) plan and develop biosecurity program area through the National Dairy FARM Program (FARM). The FARM Animal Care program places an emphasis on biosecurity as a key element of dairy herd health and the grant funding will allow for further prioritization.  

“The dairy industry has partnered with USDA for more than a decade on the Secure Milk Supply PlanWith this new funding, we are eager to continue and expand our work on biosecurity through integration with FARM,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. We applaud USDA’s work to enhance the prevention, preparedness, detection, and response to animal diseases that threaten the viability of U.S. dairy farms.” 

The grant is funded by the 2018 Farm Bill as part of an overall strategy to help prevent animal pests and diseases from entering the U.S. and reduce the spread and impact of potential disease incursions through advance planning and preparedness. APHIS will distribute funding through the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) as well as the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) 

USDA has funded the NADPRP projects with the goal of individually and collectively addressing critical livestock biosecurity, large-scale depopulation and carcass disposal concerns in all major livestock industries across all U.S. regions. NMPF will apply the grant funding to advance biosecurity on dairy farms by partnering with stakeholders and experts including the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University, dairy farmers, veterinarians, dairy cooperatives and processors, and state and federal animal health officials.  

Dairy Farms Innovating Their Way to a Sustainable Future

“Innovation” is a buzzword thrown about to the point of cliché. What it is varies with the circumstance.

For tech professionals, innovation could be an updated app or a streamlined solution. For teachers, it might be the newest way to engage students remotely. For those in health care, it may be a vaccine or more-effective treatment.

On dairy farms, innovation can look like … entomological wastewater filtration and effluent subsurface drip irrigation. Neither are buzzwords. Both are examples of how dairy is innovating its way toward a more sustainable future.

Royal Dairy in Royal City, Washington, wanted to enhance its waste-management system and reduce GHG emissions. Seeking solutions, Austin Allred, owner of Royal Dairy and a member of Northwest Dairy Association, piloted and adopted the BIDA® System developed by BioFiltro. The international wastewater filtration company uses worms within a passive aerobic system to clean wastewater from the dairy for irrigation. By investing in this technology, Royal Dairy has reduced its Total Suspended Solids (TSS) by 99% and reduced total Nitrogen (TKN) by 83%. As an added benefit, it also creates a rich fertilizer from the worm castings.

Another sustainability solution is found at De Jager Dairy North and California Dairies Inc., member McRee Dairy, both near Chowchilla, California, where drip irrigation is leading toward a future of better harvests and reduced emissions.

The two dairies partnered with Israeli company Netafim and Sustainable Conservation to develop and test a sub-surface irrigation system that delivers liquid dairy cow manure as a fertilizer close to the crop’s root system. This results in needing up to 35 percent less water while maintaining or even increasing crop yields in addition to reducing irrigation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent – saving costs and building resilience against droughts projected to worsen with climate change.

Projects like these, which put in the work today to develop solutions for a better tomorrow, are only two of the many on-farm innovations taking place on dairies. For those who spend their time planting as well as milking, carbon sequestration made possible by cover cropping and conservation tillage further maximize efforts like Allred’s. From improved anaerobic digesters and technology that separates nutrients, to feed additives that reduce methane emissions, dairy farming is continuing to advance – and lead – in adoption of sustainable technologies and practices in agriculture.

And they’re efforts the industry supports, with programs like the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Environmental Stewardship initiative that measures a farm’s carbon and energy footprints. The initiative equips farmers with data that helps them understand their sustainability impact and chart a course for continued progress that’s essential to ensure industry progress toward the collective 2050 environmental goals of becoming carbon neutral or better; optimizing water use; and improving water quality.

On-farm innovation on dairies may not always be as obvious as an app or a vaccine. But they’re no less real or important. Dairy farms are sites of constant innovation, with farmers embracing new methods and new measures. And their proven track record of innovation is set to grow even further.

Dairy Defined Podcast: Sustainability, in All Its Forms, Key to Dairy’s Future, Vold Says

On National Farmer’s Day, dairy farmer Suzanne Vold is highlighting dairy’s commitments to the environment and a net-zero future, noting that her colleagues are already effective stewards and are committed to doing more.

“We need to work with our partners in government. We need to work with partners in academia, dairy science departments, and agronomy departments and our colleges and universities. And we need to work with our cooperatives, the companies that process our milk into products to sell,” said Vold in the latest Dairy Defined podcast, released today. “But we have to start the work somewhere, and we have to start the work now.”

Vold, with her husband, brother-in-law and two part-time employees, runs Dorrich Dairy, a 400-cow, fourth-generation dairy farm in western Minnesota. In the podcast, she also discusses specific practices on her farm that save money and create potential revenues as well as improve water and soil health – as well as the importance of other initiatives important to dairy and agriculture, from the Dairy Margin Coverage program to rural broadband.

The full podcast is here. You can also find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify,  SoundCloud and Google Play. Broadcast outlets may use the MP3 file. Please attribute information to NMPF.

NMPF Ready to Help Dairy Farmers Meet Coronavirus Challenges

In response to the continued spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) in the United States and the virus’s potential impact on domestic and international markets, National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern said the following:

“As the organization representing U.S. dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own, the National Milk Producers Federation stands ready to assist its members in addressing coronavirus challenges. From possible damages to domestic and world markets, to supply chain labor disruptions on the farm, at the processing plant or in transporting milk, the potential ramifications for dairy are wide-ranging. We will devote our resources to the best of our ability to helping dairy farmers and cooperatives respond to whatever challenges they may face.

“The good news is that the U.S. dairy supply is safe, and production of high-quality products continues unimpeded. The FDA has confirmed that heat treatment kills other coronaviruses, so pasteurization is expected to also inactivate this virus. In addition, there is no evidence that this strain of coronavirus is present in domestic livestock such as cattle.

“Still, all producers will remain vigilant as what has now been labeled a pandemic continues its path. We will continue to answer questions and offer information to help our members. Policy solutions also may be needed for producers whose operations have been affected by the virus. In keeping with our mission of serving our members, regardless of the challenge, we will work with lawmakers and regulators to ensure a safe and adequate supply of milk and to mitigate potential economic harm to dairy farmers.”

FARM’s Fourth Annual Evaluator Conference in July

The 2019 National Dairy FARM Evaluator Conference will be held in Denver on July 23-24th, with optional industry tours on July 25th.

The Evaluator Conference is an annual opportunity for evaluator networking across the country and professional development. This year’s conference attendees will hear from industry experts, leaders and dairy customers about on-farm social responsibility and quality assurance measures including the dairy workforce, environmental stewardship and animal care. New to the conference is a consumer panel focused on dairy buying habits and concerns.

The FARM Town Hall will give attendees the opportunity to discuss program updates, implementation questions and concerns with FARM Staff including the new Animal Care 4.0 standards and a discussion with FARM’s third-party verifier, FSNS. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to attend a Cargill beef plant tour or a Quail Ridge Dairy farm tour on July 25th.

To register or learn more info, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/farm-evaluator-conference-tickets-60708982200

FARM V4 Public Comment Period Summarized

The FARM Animal Care Program welcomed public comments from all dairy industry stakeholders from the middle of February through the end of March. FARM received over 370 comments providing feedback on the draft standards that the FARM Technical Writing Group and National Milk Producers Federation Animal Health and Well-Being Committee have prepped for the fourth iteration of FARM Animal Care.

Of the total comments, 41.7% were received from cooperatives and processors, 25.5% came in directly from producers, and 15.6% were provided from veterinarians. Other industry stakeholders represented the remaining 17.2%.

The primary areas of the comments focused on: veterinarian involvement, pain management for disbudding procedures, antibiotic stewardship, and animal care training.

The Technical Writing Group and the NMPF Animal Health and Well-Being Committees is meeting to review comments and determine position statements related to the public submissions. Once those are summarized, staff will integrate that feedback into the draft standards that will then be presented to the National Milk Producers Federation Board of Directors for approval in June.

Version 4.0 of FARM Animal Care Program implementation will begin January 1.

FARM Releases Human Resource Materials for Dairy Producers

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program in April released additional materials as part of its new Workforce Development initiative.

FARM Workforce Development focuses on the people who work year-round to provide excellent cow care and produce wholesome milk: dairy farm families and their employees. The program’s resources offer guidance and best management practices around human resources and health and safety.

The new FARM Human Resources (HR) Reference Manual is designed to help dairy farm owners, managers and other relevant staff develop a consistent and compliant human resources programs on their farms. It guides farm owners and managers in handling a variety of human resources activities. The manual also helps address employee-related challenges that owners and managers might face in their day-to-day farming operations.

A set of HR templates and a sample Employee Handbook accompany the FARM HR Manual. These resources can be downloaded and tailored by owners and managers to fit the needs of their operation. The manual can be found here.

Spanish-language versions of the manual and templates will be available soon.

FARM Program Statement: Martin Farms, Inc.

From Emily Yeiser Stepp, Senior Director, FARM Animal Care Program:

ARLINGTON, VA – “The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program has established a rigorous framework of best practices to ensure the proper treatment of dairy animals. The program – created by veterinarians, animal welfare experts and farmers – takes seriously all allegations of mistreatment of dairy cattle.

“We were initially notified by Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc. that one of their member farms, Martin Farms, had allegations of animal mistreatment made against them. The cooperative requires participation in and full compliance with the FARM Program by every farmer-member. In response, we immediately activated FARM’s willful mistreatment protocol and initiated a third-party audit of its animal-care practices on March 9. The video that prompted the initial allegations was made available to us on March 13. The video shows instances of willful mistreatment, and the FARM Program placed the farm on probation. Martin Farms must take immediate corrective actions to be reinstated into good standing with the program.

“As a program created to establish and improve best practices across the dairy industry, we are deeply disturbed by the mistreatment shown in the video and are committed to ensuring that animal care remains the highest priority by all dairy farmers.”


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 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit our website at www.nmpf.org.