What is FARM?
Open to all U.S. dairy farmers, co-ops and processors, the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program works with dairy farmers, cooperatives, processors and industry partners to show customers and consumers that the dairy industry is taking the very best care of cows and the environment, producing safe, wholesome milk and adhering to the highest standards in workforce development.
Created by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in partnership with Dairy Management Inc., FARM helps ensure the success of the entire industry by demonstrating that U.S. dairy farmers are committed to producing the best milk with integrity.
How Does FARM Work?
Through our four program areas – Animal Care, Environmental Stewardship, Antibiotic Stewardship and Workforce Development – FARM works with dairy farmers, cooperatives, processors and industry partners to show customers and consumers that the dairy industry holds itself to the highest standards.
We encourage all farmers to take advantage of program area resources, which help to execute the dairy community’s commitment to continuous improvement.
The Animal Care Program is the cornerstone FARM Program in which 98% of U.S. dairy farmers participate. The program establishes animal care standards developed by the FARM Farmer Advisory Council, the Animal Care Task Force, NMPF’s Animal Health and Well-Being Committee and approved by the NMPF board. The standards are comprehensively outlined in the FARM Animal Care Reference manual, outlining best practices for farmers to implement on-farm. The implementation of these standards is evaluated through on-farm evaluations, conducted by trained second party evaluators. Third party verification evaluates a statistically valid percentage of farms each year to ensure that the second party evaluations were conducted with the highest level of integrity.
Animal Care FAQs
What is FARM Animal Care?
The FARM Animal Care Program demonstrates that dairy farmers are committed to taking excellent care of their animals and producing safe, wholesome milk by:
- Detailing science-based animal care guidelines that evolve with the latest dairy research
- Providing on-farm evaluations by trained evaluators who work with farmers to identify strengths and, if necessary, outline improvements
- Ensuring the integrity of the program with third party verification by qualified dairy experts who evaluate a representative percentage of farms each year to demonstrate that FARM is working as intended
The FARM Antibiotic Stewardship program area provides ongoing education for the dairy community on the responsible use of antibiotics to keep cows healthy and our milk and dairy beef supply safe.
FARM’s Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Reference Manual and Pocket Guide are the primary educational tools for dairy farms on the judicious and responsible use of antibiotics, including avoidance of drug residues in milk and meat.
Updated each year, the manual and accompanying pocket guide are convenient resources detailing which antibiotics and other drugs are approved for treatment of dairy animals.
Antibiotic Stewardship FAQs
What is FARM Antibiotic Stewardship?
The FARM Antibiotic Stewardship program area provides ongoing education for the dairy community on the responsible use of antibiotics to keep cows healthy and our milk supply safe. FARM Antibiotic Stewardship best practices are aligned with and integrated within FARM Animal Care. It also communicates about Federal regulatory antibiotic use requirements.
FARM’s Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Reference Manual is the primary educational tool for dairy farms throughout the country on the judicious and responsible use of antibiotics, including avoidance of drug residues in milk and meat. Updated each year, the manual and accompanying pocket guide are convenient resources detailing which antibiotics and other drugs are approved for treatment of dairy animals.
U.S. dairy farmers have a long history of being good environmental stewards. The challenge is to show customers and consumers how the dairy industry is continuing to make progress in improving environmental outcomes.
The Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Environmental Stewardship program area addresses that challenge by providing a platform to track and communicate a farm’s environmental achievements. Version 2 of the program focuses on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use and nutrient management plans.
The online tool, combined with the program’s resources, assist farms in pursuing continuous improvement in ways that make business sense.
Environmental Stewardship FAQs
What is FARM ES?
The Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Environmental Stewardship (ES) program area enables FARM Participants to evaluate and communicate a dairy farm’s environmental achievements in a secure, confidential platform. The online tool combined with the program’s resources assist with setting a path for continuous improvement in ways that make business sense. Today, FARM ES focuses on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy use, and Nutrient Management Plans.
FARM Workforce Development (WFD) focuses on the people who work year-round to provide excellent cow care and produce wholesome milk: our dairy farm families and their employees. FARM WFD equips dairy owners and managers with tools to enhance their safe and thriving work environments. This new initiative, started in 2018, has brought together stakeholders from the entire dairy value chain to create educational materials for dairy farms. The suite of materials includes best-in-class HR and Safety Manuals, HR templates, and legal fact sheets. Additionally, FARM WFD has developed an on-farm second party evaluation tool to help farms learn about HR and safety management best practices; identify which best practices will be most useful to implement on their farm; and, track improvement over time.
Expert and stakeholder input is essential for ensuring a robust program. The FARM Program has assembled a Workforce Development Task Force comprised of farmers, cooperative staff, academics, subject matter experts and customer representatives. The Task Force assists with overall program strategy as well as reviewing, recommending and providing counsel on program materials.
Workforce Development FAQs
What is FARM Workforce Development?
Established in 2018, the FARM Workforce Development (WFD) program area encourages the adoption of human resources (HR) and safety best practices. It focuses on developing management processes and procedures to promote positive HR and safety outcomes on dairies. FARM WFD offers free producer resources, including an HR Manual and Safety Manual. In 2020, the program launched a voluntary second party evaluation tool for use by FARM Participants. Human resources and safety management will look different depending on the unique circumstances of the individual dairy. By using information from and referencing the FARM HR and Safety Manuals, HR Templates, and other FARM resources, the evaluation tool supports dairy producers and managers in their journeys of continuous improvement.