FARM Evaluator Works as a Partner

National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program evaluators provide a critical link between a dairy farmer and the consumer, working to ensure best practices. But they’re also a resource for farmers, said Janae Klingler, Manager of Animal Care and Sustainability for the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, in the latest Dairy Defined podcast.

“We are a trusted advisor to our farms,” Klingler said. “Yes, we are here to make sure that our farms are meeting the program standards, but even a bigger part of our job is making sure that our farms get to that point of meeting those program standards and helping them figure out who can help them get there.”

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

Summer Series for State and Regional Checkoff Staff to Begin in July

The FARM Program will host a series of monthly webinars for state and regional checkoff staff that will run July 7-Oct. 6. The webinars will offer attendees an opportunity to learn about the program and each specific program area. The FARM Virtual Evaluator Conference will also take place this month on July 20-21.

Virtual FARM Meetings Continue

Registration is now available for the 2021 FARM Evaluator Conference which will be held virtually July 20-21. The conference will include program area specific Town Halls and sessions focused on best practices for safety training, the profitability of quality animal care and Biosecurity – FARM’s newest program area. Evaluation resumption will be a significant focus of the discussion time. Evaluators will also be able to ask questions, learn about the FARM Program’s progress since last year, and meet new staff members.

NMPF and the FARM Program will host this year’s Virtual Dairy Industry Stakeholder Summit on July 14-15. All companies and organizations who serve the dairy industry are invited to join the virtual meeting for an organizational overview and discussions on current policy work, FARM program priorities and industry initiatives. Sessions will run from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET each day.

FARM Receives PAACO Certification

 The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) has certified the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care Program as an approved animal welfare evaluation. PAACO provides training and certification credentials for animal welfare auditors and audits for all sectors of food animal production.

“PAACO’s certification of FARM Animal Care affirms our commitment to the highest standards of animal welfare,” says Emily Yeiser Stepp, Vice President of the FARM Program. “This provides another layer of assurance to the supply chain that FARM is a comprehensive and rigorous tool that ensures dairy products are produced responsibly.”

To receive PACCO certification, the FARM Program went through a thorough review process of its Animal Care Version 4 standards, resources and evaluator training materials as compared to standards set by the PAACO Board of Directors. The review ensured that the FARM Program evaluation includes all the key components required for evaluation of livestock animal welfare and is committed to continuous improvement.  “The FARM program has met requirements for audit structure, auditor expectations, and oversight and measurement of animal outcomes, facilities, and documentation” said PAACO Executive Director Collette Kaster.

FARM staff will also participate as members of the instruction team for PAACO dairy welfare auditor trainings. PAACO auditor certifications provide professional development opportunities for those looking to grow their animal welfare evaluating skillset.

PAACO was developed in 2004 in response to the growing use of animal welfare audits by the retail and food service sectorsThis created the need for training, certification, and continuing education. Since its creation, PAACO’s vision is to be the trusted authority on animal welfare auditing, providing consistency and science-based training of auditors as well as rigorous, science-based audit standards.

FARM Program Partners with Cargill, Others for Safety and Calf Care

The FARM Program partnered with Cargill to launch the Actionable Safety Review on April 1.

The safety review is a new online tool that enables dairy farmers to identify and review opportunities to improve safety on the farm. Farmers filling it out are prompted to consider their own operations and make note of their approach to specific safety topics. The tool offers recommendations and resources for farmers to follow-up on those topics. Dairy farmers who complete the safety review will receive a copy of their responses to serve as a list of farm-specific action items designed to keep employees, farmers, and families safe on the dairy.

May’s focus will be on the Calf Care & Quality Assurance (CCQA) program. CCQA is the first, collaborative educational tool that provides guidelines for calf raisers. The CCQA program is jointly led by the FARM program and NCBA’s Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, funded by the beef checkoff. Support was also provided by the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, and the beef checkoff-funded Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program.

A reference manual sets the foundation for the CCQA program, which has been developed with the understanding of the diversity of calf-raising enterprises and is science- and outcomes-based while maintaining facility type and size neutrality. While the practices identified in the manual are not the only practices that can meet the desired outcomes, the program provides a framework that will serve as great resource for anyone working in the calf-raising industry.

In addition to the manual, the CCQA program will roll out producer-focused training modules that will certify producers in the principles of excellent calf care highlighted throughout the manual later in 2021.