What is the update process for FARM ES?

As with the rest of the FARM Program, FARM ES is on a 3-year version cycle. Version 2.0 was released in 2020.

FARM collaborates with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy on updates to FARM ES. The Innovation Center leads development, maintenance, and updates to the GHG and energy footprint model that powers FARM ES. FARM ES and the Innovation Center regularly review and incorporate new science to (1) ensure robust and reliable results; and, (2) meet expanding interests and needs of farmers and FARM Participants.

Additionally, new metrics are added to FARM ES that are not part of the GHG / energy footprint model, but important for dairy farm sustainability. For example, Version 2.0 added questions about written Nutrient Management Plans.

Does the FARM program share the participating farm’s data?

Unlike other sustainability tools, FARM ES is made by and for the dairy community. The farm’s personal information is private because that is our commitment to our dairy community. The FARM Program and the Innovation Center only use aggregated, anonymous results in public reports. Additionally, anonymized data may be used by the Innovation Center for industry-wide sustainability research.

Why does FARM ES encourage the use of stratified random sampling?

Conducting FARM ES evaluations on all of a Participant’s farms may be impractical or cost prohibitive. Random sampling is a recognized approach by the GHG Protocol for addressing the challenges of Scope 3 data gathering (See the GHG Protocol: Technical Guidance for Scope 3 Reporting for more information: (https://ghgprotocol.org/sites/default/files/standards/Scope3_Calculation_Guidance_0.pdf). The GHG Protocol maintains frameworks for measuring and managing GHG emissions. It is widely used for reporting to CDP.

FARM recommends using stratified random sampling to overcome that barrier while still getting an accurate estimate of Participant-wide GHG emissions intensity. The FARM ES Sampling Protocol stratifies farms based on milk volume and geography.

Is FARM ES free?

FARM ES is free for FARM Program Participants and dairy farms. The only cost comes in the form of staff time to conduct the FARM ES evaluation.

How often should FARM ES Evaluators be conducted?

FARM Participants may conduct FARM ES Evaluations at any frequency best suited to their organization and their B2B relationships. FARM recommends that Participants conduct evaluations at least as frequently as the FARM ES Version Cycle (i.e. every 3 years). In practice, if a FARM Participant is using the FARM ES sampling protocol to select a random sample of farms, FARM recommends they complete evaluations on those farms over the course of 3 years.