Christmas is a time to count your blessings and show gratitude for all who have helped and supported you. It’s a time to reflect on the year that has passed – all too quickly – and to enjoy celebrations with family and friends.
The National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program has celebrated many milestones this year, and we have many, many people to thank for those successes. At Christmas last year, we had barely 75 percent of the milk supply by volume enrolled in the program. Now, just a year later, we have more than 94 percent of the domestic milk supply represented. With the majority of our nation’s dairy farms covered by FARM, we are able to send a very strong message to our customers and consumers: Animal care is a priority that we take seriously, and we’re united in our commitment to ensuring the highest standards of care.
Without the foresight, leadership and dedication of our dairy cooperatives and processors, this high percentage of enrollment would never have been possible. From the early adopters of the program to the recent enrollees—they have all taken on the responsibility of ensuring that their membership and dairy farm suppliers are utilizing the program as a tool for continuous improvement. They’ve hired, trained and re-allocated field men and women to perform the second-party evaluations on their members’ dairies, and have worked hard to enter data into the (often cumbersome) FARM Program database. We wouldn’t be where we are this Christmas, celebrating the success of the program, without you, cooperatives and processors.
Most crucially, however, the FARM Program is grateful to our dairymen and women who get up every day to care for the animals that produce the most nutritious (and delicious) product in the world: milk. The FARM Program was always designed to share the amazing story that farmers have to tell when it comes to animal care. We at the FARM Program have long known that animal care is your utmost priority, but in a world of “trust but verify,” we needed the data and the proof points to assure our customers of that fundamental truth. Now, through your willingness to participate in the program, we can share our dairy community’s story of top-notch animal care far and wide, and we couldn’t be prouder to do so.
As families across America (and around the world!) sit down at their holiday tables, surrounded by family and friends, they have yet another reason to help themselves to another helping of wholesome, delicious dairy: They can be assured that our nation’s dairy cows are happy, healthy and well cared for. We have given our customers and consumers another reason to trust our product and to celebrate the season.
From the FARM Program to our dairy community, we thank you and wish you a joyous holiday season full of festive blessings.