One of the farm’s data inputs falls outside of the allowable range in FARM ES. How should this be handled?

First, make certain that the data input is correct. It is possible there was an error in providing the data.

If you and the farm are sure that the data point is correct and that it falls outside of the boundaries of FARM ES, IT can run the evaluation with the correct data. They have permissions to enter information that falls outside the set range. You can email them directly at and let them know that you have a FARM ES evaluation with a data point that falls outside of the allowable range.

Can FARM ES be used in trading Carbon Credits?

FARM ES is not currently designed to collect data for existing carbon markets. As we look toward FARM ES Version 3, we are evaluating how FARM ES data collection could align with the data requirements of private carbon markets. At this time, few private carbon markets offer credits for carbon reductions specific to dairy operations (e.g. enteric emissions reductions).

Can FARM ES data be used for Scope 3 reporting?

Yes. FARM Participants can aggregate FARM ES data for Scope 3 reporting, either for their own organization’s Scope 3 reporting purposes or for reporting to dairy buyers. In fact, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has created Scope 3 GHG Inventory Guidance for dairy cooperatives and processors, which recommends the use of FARM ES.

The Scope 3 GHG Inventory Guidance has been reviewed by the GHG Protocol and is in conformance with the requirements set forth in the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard. The GHG Protocol maintains frameworks for measuring and managing GHG emissions. It is widely used for reporting to CDP.

What are Scope 3 GHG emissions?

A company’s GHG emissions are divided into Scopes 1, 2, and 3. In a nutshell, they are as follows:

Scope 1: Emissions that occur on-site. For example, if you burn natural gas for energy, the GHG emissions are directly released during that process on-site.
Scope 2: Emissions that occur elsewhere, but for which the company has operational control. The best example is electricity. The company has operational control over whether the lights are on or off, but the emissions occur off-site where the electricity is generated.
Scope 3: All other indirect emissions not covered in Scope 2. This includes all of the upstream emissions that occurred before the company had operational control over a process or product (e.g. for a cheese manufacturer, this would include GHG emissions to create the milk that the company purchased). It also includes downstream emissions (e.g., emissions that occur after the cheesemaker’s products leave the plant, like those at the grocery store or when consumers dispose of packaging.)
GHG emissions are categorized into each Scope based on the company’s perspective. So for a cheese manufacturer, on-farm emissions are considered Scope 3. But for the farmer, those emissions are Scope 1 and 2.

You can find out additional details in the Innovation Center for US Dairy’s Scope 1 & 2 GHG Inventory Guidance and Scope 3 GHG Inventory Guidance for dairy cooperatives and processors.

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.