Created by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), with support from Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), FARM Animal Care raises the bar for the entire dairy industry – creating a culture of continuous improvement. The FARM Animal Program establishes dairy animal welfare management guidelines, which are verfied by both trained second and third party evaluators. This system provides the data and proof points to assure dairy customers and consumers that dairy farmers do the right thing for their dairy cows because it’s the right thing to do. The second-party evaluation is completed on every participating dairy at a minimum of once every three years. This evaluation provides dairy farms with an external review of their animal care practices based on FARM Program guidelines, highlighting the best management practices followed on the dairy and providing a method of continuous improvement where additional opportunities are presented.

Currently, 98% of the U.S. domestic milk supply particpates in the National Dairy FARM Animal Care Program. This number is generated based on the production of FARM Animal Care Participants verses United States Department of Agriculture Reports on annual nationwide milk production. 

Governance Structure

FARM Animal Care Standards

The National Dairy FARM Animal Care standards are reviewed every three years. These standards make up the Animal Care Manual and are what influence the on-farm Animal Care evaluation.

Minimum Animal Care Requirements for Participation 

A valid Veterinary-Client Patient Relationship
The farm owner/manager and the Veterinarian of Record(VOR) needs to have a completed and signed Veterinarian-Client Patient Relationship form on an annual basis.

A signed Dairy Cattle Care Ethics form & Training documentation for all employees with animal care responsibilities  
All employees with animal care responsibilities need to have completed basic stockmanship training and signed a Dairy Cattle Care Ethics Agreement on an annual basis. Additionally, employees must be trained on their area of animal care responsibilities and have the training documented (example: a calf feeder needs to be trained in proper calf feeding, handling and other care expectations). Read more about employee training and training resources.

Ceased routine Tail Docking
The practice of routine tail docking must have been phased out by January 1, 2017. The National Dairy FARM Animal Care Program opposes the routine tail docking of dairy animals.

Animal Care Manuals

What Happens If These Standards Are Not Met?

If any of these areas are considered unsatisfactorily met on the farm when evaluated, a Mandatory Corrective Action Plan is triggered and will need to be resolved and verified by a follow-up evaluation within 12 months. If that area is not resolved within that timeframe, the farm will risk probation and eventual suspension from the FARM Animal Care Program.

FARM Evaluators



  • Prior to certification or re-certification, evaluators and trainers must provide the FARM Program with a resume of credentials to verify meeting of the minimum educational and/or experience requirements (see below):
  • Any new trainer or evaluator must certify through an in-person training conducted by a FARM-certified trainer
  • Any trainer or evaluator whose certification has been expired for over a year must re-certify through an in-person training conducted by a FARM-certified trainer
  • When a new version of FARM is released, all trainers and evaluators must be certified in the new version through an in-person training conducted by a FARM-certified trainer
  • Trainers and evaluators must score an 80% or higher on the written exam
  • Trainers and evaluators must recertify on an annual basis. Re-certification can occur in-person or through online training.


  • Evaluators should have
    • at least 2 years experience and a dairy science degree; OR 8 years of on-farm experience in the dairy industry 
  • Evaluators are responsible for their travel and lodging expenses to and from trainings 
  • Evaluators must complete the Evaluator in-person course
  • Evaluators must score an 80% or higher on the written exam
  • Evaluators must recertify annually


  • Trainers should have
    • at least two years experience and a Bachelor’s or higher degree in dairy science degree; OR
    • at least 5 years experience and an associates/technical degree; OR
    • 15 years of on-farm experience in the dairy industry
  • Trainers should be willing to hold evaluator training sessions in their geographic area
  • Trainers are responsible for their travel and lodging expenses to and from trainings 
  • Trainers must complete the Train-the-Trainer in-person course
  • Trainers must score an 80% or higher on the written exam
  • Trainers must recertify annually


Are you interested in becoming a certified FARM Animal Care Evaluator? Please email for more information!


Charlotte, NC | November 27/28, 2018 | Register


Please email for more infomation

Please note: All trainers must recertify in-person for Version 3.0.

FARM Animal Care Technical Writing Group

The FARM Animal Care Technical Writing Group is made up dairy farmers, veterinarians, animal scientist and other industry representatives. The group helps ensure that the FARM Animal Care Program fosters a culture of continuous improvement and that the best management practices, which are the cornerstone of the program, evolve with the latest research on animal welfare and humane handling.

Karen currently represents Dairy Farmers of America as chair of the Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). She is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she received her DVM and BS degrees. She is married to Norman Jordan, Jr., of Siler City, N.C., where they own and operate Brush Creek Swiss Farms, a registered Brown Swiss herd. Karen operates Large Animal Veterinary Services focusing on dairy production medicine. Her practice concentrates on 14 dairy farm families whose average herd size is 150, but varies from 30-500 cows in milk. Karen has also served on the technical writing committee of the Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention: Producer Manual of Best Management Practices, and currently serves as chair of the technical working group for the National Dairy FARM Program Animal Care Manual.

Nigel is a professor in the Food Animal Production Medicine department at the University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also chair of the Department of Medical Sciences and past president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. He has been in Wisconsin since 1999, teaching veterinary students, performing research and developing outreach to improve dairy cattle wellbeing. His interests include lameness prevention, cow comfort and improving facility design. He developed The Dairyland Initiative in 2010, a resource to drive the creation of welfare-friendly cattle housing. He qualified as a veterinarian in 1992 and worked in a large food animal clinic in Southern England for four years before moving to the Royal Veterinary College-Hertfordshire, where he spent three years as lecturer and head of the Large Animal Ambulatory Clinic.

Chase DeCoite serves as the Associate Director of Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) programs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).  Though Chase was born and raised, in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, he was raised with deep family roots in the dairy industry.  He is a graduate of the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) where he earned his Bachelor’s in Animal Science before continuing his graduate education at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) where his research focused on consumer perceptions of beef animal welfare certification programs.      In his current role, Chase works on producer education programs that enable producers to continuously improve their operations through practical, science based cattle management practices.  In addition to working with producers he has responsibilities that connect producers and consumers to increase consumer confidence in beef by sharing beef’s story.  Before working on BQA, Chase was a Public Policy Intern for NCBA where he worked with the Government Affairs team in Washington, DC to ensure that legislative and regulatory actions taken by the federal government don’t stand in the way of a successful beef industry. Chase is proud to work for an industry that he is passionate about and in a role that connects producers and consumers in an effort to grow and improve the beef industry.  In his free time he enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Dr. Marcia Endres is a Professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota with an extension/research appointment. Her research interests include dairy management, welfare and behavior. She has studied how various housing and management systems can influence health, welfare and performance of dairy cattle. In recent years, she has also conducted research and outreach on precision dairy technologies, including individual cow behavior sensors, automated calf feeders and robotic milking systems. She also teaches two classes in dairy herd management. She serves as director on the PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization) board.  Dr. Endres represents the University of Minnesota on the National NC-1029 Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare and the NC-2042 Dairy Management committees and has been a member and chair of the Animal Behavior and Well Being and the Production, Management and Environment Program committees for the Joint Animal and Dairy Science Annual Meetings. Dr. Endres received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, M.Sc. from Iowa State University, and a Veterinary Medicine degree from University Federal of Parana, Brazil.

Paul was born and raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and earned his bachelors of science in animal science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After working for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Paul found his way to Foremost Farms USA, where he serves as procurement and regulatory affairs manager. In addition to working with field representatives and milk quality, Paul is a certified FARM Program evaluator and oversees the program across the cooperative’s 1,500 member-owners.

Nina is a professor and chair of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Industrial Research in Animal Welfare at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is recognized internationally for her research on care and housing for cattle. Because of her work as an educator on farm animal care, the impact of her research can now be seen on farms around the world.

John is currently a business leader and technical services/research veterinarian for Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. He has led research, product development and veterinary technical services focused on delivering value to the U.S. dairy and beef cattle industries. In addition, he has provided on-going veterinary technical support, on-farm problem solving and other services to cooperatives and producers throughout the U.S. John has also worked in the private sector as an associate veterinarian. His key areas of interest included dairy production medicine, cow/calf herd health and companion animal medicine.

Antone is the director of farm practices for Northwest, directing second- and third-party animal care evaluations. In addition to his duties at Northwest, he serves on the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shippers’ Executive Board, Council III Committee, and the Liaison and Third Party Certification Committee. He is a member of the National Milk Producers Federation’s Animal Health and Welfare Committee and chairs NMPF’s Regulatory Advisory Committee. He is also a member of U.S. Animal Health Association’s Animal Welfare Committee, the Washington State Dairy Industry Producer Advisory Committee and the Oregon Department of Agriculture Regulatory Advisory Committee. Antone grew up on a dairy farm in Idaho. He holds two bachelors of science degrees in ag economics and animal science from Brigham Young University, as well as an MBA from the City University of Seattle. He is actively involved with his brothers on the home farm growing alfalfa, oats and barley, and running a small cow calf operation.

Tim Raasch grew up on a dairy farm in Southeast Minnesota. He went on to graduate from the University of Minnesota-Waseca with a degree in agriculture business in 1977. He’s been with Land O’ Lakes Inc. since 1978. Until 2010, he was a field staff member for the regions of Eastern South Dakota, Southwest Minnesota, Northwest Iowa and Northern Nebraska. For the last six years, Tim has been a FARM evaluator and supervisor of the Land O’ Lakes national FARM staff. He is also a certified FARM trainer.

Keri is the vice president of design and development at Praedium. Praedium is an ISO 9001:2008 company located in Urbandale, Iowa. The company provides solutions for agriculture businesses specializing in animal welfare, environment, food safety and worker care. Prior to joining Praedium, she was director of design and development at Validus, a third-party auditing firm. She also served as executive vice president of the Wisconsin Pork Association for almost 20 years. Keri received her bachelors of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and her husband Kevin own and operate an Angus seedstock operation in Wisconsin.

Gatz Riddell was raised on a homesteaded farm near Conway, KS.  He received his D.V.M. degree from Kansas State University in 1977.  Following an internship and residency at Auburn University from 1977 to 1981, he practiced in Tennessee until returning to Auburn University in 1984.  He became a Diplomat of the American College of Theriogenologists in 1982 and received his MS from Auburn in 1984.  Dr. Riddell represented the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) on the AVMA Drug Advisory Committee and later served on and chaired AVMA’s Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents.  He received the AABP Award of Excellence in 1999. He retired from Auburn University in 2005 as Professor Emeritus and is currently the Executive Vice President of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.  He is a Past President of both the AABP and the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC).  He lives in Auburn, Alabama and is married to Kay Pelly Riddell and they have three children, Molly, Wes and Jonathan.

Dr. Brandon Treichler grew up on a family dairy farm in eastern Pennsylvania. Prior to veterinary school, Brandon worked for a major milking equipment manufacturer, troubleshooting milk quality concerns on commercial dairies. After graduating from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012, he joined a 13-doctor, all-dairy practice in Eastern Wisconsin, where he specialized in milk quality consulting within veterinary practice. Today, Brandon is a quality control veterinarian with Select Milk Producers, primarily working with large dairies in Western Texas and Eastern New Mexico on the areas of animal welfare, milk quality, residue avoidance and human resource management. Brandon is very active within the NMC (formerly National Mastitis Council) and the AABP (American Association of Bovine Practitioners), where he serves on the animal welfare committee.

Cassandra is a professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis. She teaches courses about domestic animal behavior. Her research program examines how housing and management influence the welfare of cattle.

Josh serves as the executive director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). He has served in many volunteer leadership roles with various agricultural organizations at the local, state and national level. He led the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and Georgia Beef Board as executive vice president from 2009-2014. In his current role with NCBA, Josh and his team are working to capitalize on the rich histories of the Beef Quality Assurance and Cattlemen’s College programs to deliver even greater value to NCBA members and the cattle industry. Josh is a fourth-generation cattleman whose first experiences with cattle trace back to marveling at his grandfather’s commercial Hereford herd in middle Georgia. Today, he continues to own cattle on the family farm in Georgia. He graduated with honors from Berry College in northwest Georgia with a degree in animal science.

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