Farmers Utilize FARM Program

Jul 2, 2024 | Industry News | 0 comments

Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) is an aptly named program and an even more suitable acronym! FARM has been responding to the needs of our dairy industry for over a decade now by focusing on five specific programs: Animal Care, Antibiotic Stewardship, Biosecurity, Environmental Stewardship, and Workforce Development. With the goal of ensuring the success and continuation of the dairy industry by demonstrating that U.S. dairy farmers are committed to producing safe, high-quality milk with integrity, it is no wonder that within a short time, many farms and cooperatives in the US follow the FARM program. In fact, 99% of the dairy industry is now producing milk under the standards outlined in the Animal Care silo.

FARM Animal Care is an evaluation program with third-party verification that ensures dairy animals are well cared for on our farms from birth. It lays out a framework for dairy farms to document their good work, guide them in appropriate training for family members and employees, and make everyone on the farm aware of the standards of care we expect as consumers and dairy professionals. The program has been developed and updated over the years by veterinarians, animal science professionals, dairy producers, and other dairy industry representatives. The level of science and research poured into this program’s standards is a testament to why so many farms have agreed to utilize the certification. Additionally, this program’s depth of experience and expertise make it a gold standard in animal care.

The FARM program does not stop at Animal Care. Antibiotic Stewardship has been a focus since the beginning of the program and has had an impact over the last 13 years to ensure that no milk products on the shelves contain antibiotics. Through farmer and employee education on the proper use of antibiotics and training that focuses on preventative care rather than reactive treatments, the cow’s health and milk supply are safer now than ever before.

FARM has been offering dairy farms a simple way to evaluate greenhouse gas emissions for many years. The Environmental Stewardship silo is adapting and improving to meet the needs and goals set forth by the dairy industry as we aim to reduce the impact of food production on the environment.

It is also important that those employed on dairy farms or by the dairy industry are as well cared for as the cows! The Workforce Development silo promotes safe and exceptional work environments for employees on farms. Meanwhile, the Biosecurity silo, which has been in the works for years, is increasingly crucial for maintaining the health of both animals and people. This silo also provides a framework to ensure a safe and healthy food supply in the face of foreign diseases entering the United States.

Through every iteration, the FARM program has been presented for public comment and industry feedback to ensure it addresses the needs of dairy farms, processors, retailers, and consumers. The program is rooted in the science of animal care and husbandry while recognizing the emotions and perspectives of consumers are also involved. The program staff stays up to date on the needs of retailers and consumers and what they are looking for in dairy production. These staff members work with the industry and dairy farms to ensure the program continues bridging the gap between the work happening on the farm and the product reaching the consumer.

The program and its silos adapt continuously to meet the needs of dairy producers and consumers so we can all feel great about dairy as a nutritious and delicious food staple!