The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program announced the winners for the FARM Excellence Awards at the Joint Annual Meeting. The awards were established to recognize farms and evaluators demonstrating excellence in their engagement with the FARM Program.
Animal Care and Antibiotic Stewardship
Ingleside Dairy Farm, Inc.
Dairy Farmers of America
Ingleside Dairy Farm, Inc. is a family dairy located in Lexington, Virginia and is a Dairy Farmers of America member farm. Ingleside Dairy was started in 1967 with 12 cows and has grown to include 320 Holsteins and 2,000 acres of rented and owned land. Ingleside Dairy Farm was the first Virginia farm to install robotic milking machines. Their forward-thinking mindset has demonstrated to farmers across the Southeast that technology can play a significant role in herd health, reproduction practices, and best management practices. Each cow is carefully managed and receives specialized care each day, based on their needs once leaving the robot.
At Ingleside Dairy, the owners use the FARM Program resources—including videos, posters, and protocol templates—to support their animal care and training programs. For example, the farm has adapted the sample herd health plan and treatment record examples from the FARM Program as an outline for their plans. Additionally, having worked with their veterinarian and the Virginia Tech vet school, the farm has developed vaccination programs, developed mastitis protocols to improve SCC and changed bedding practices to improve hock scores.
Ingleside Dairy Farm has been lauded as an excellent member of their own community and the dairy community at large. The Leech family’s dedication to their animals and the environment makes them stand out from their neighbors and encourages others to work toward the same goals. Jennifer Leech, the herdsperson at Ingleside Dairy Farm Inc., is responsible for caring for cows on the dairy, establishing and maintaining the herd health plans and treatment records along with her veterinarian, and maintaining all of the dairy’s financials. Jennifer serves in a number of leadership roles for her co-op, her regional checkoff organization, and she sits on the FARM Program’s Farmer Advisory Council to share her experience implementing the FARM Program and help shape the program’s future.
Newmont Farm LLC
Newmont Farm LLC is located in Orange County, Vermont and is an Agri-Mark member farm. Newmont Farm was started with 120 cows, in 1988, by Walt and Margaret Gladstone. By 1998 they had grown the farm to 400 cows and today they are milking 1800 cows. The farm is structured as an LLC and it is currently owned by Walt and Margaret Gladstone, and their two sons, Willand Matt Gladstone. They crop 2600 acres and have 31 full time employees. To diversify their business, they also grow 300 acres of pumpkins. The farm installed a 500-kW solar array in 2018, supplying about 45% of their power with renewable energy. Every year, Newmont Farm hosts and Open Farm Day for their community. At this year’s Open Farm Day, they hosted over 1600 visitors. The farm also publishes a twice-yearly newsletter that is mailed to 2000 homes within their community.
Newmont Farm has been a champion for the FARM Workforce Development program, and was one of the first Agri-Mark farms to volunteer to participate in a Workforce Development Evaluation. Newmont Farm has also worked with their co-op to provide a farm tour for employees of Ahold Delhaize USA/Hannaford, a customer with an interest in the Workforce Development Program, showing this company the value and benefits of the program.
After completing the FARM Workforce Development evaluation, the Gladstones took the opportunity to review their written policies and update their Employee Handbook. The Gladstones also realized that while they have many safety practices in place, and do routine safety training, they did not have a comprehensive written safety plan. They are working on completing a written safety plan to make sure that they are covering all important aspects of safety, and to ensure a consistent communication of these practices.
Dairy Farmers of America member farm
The 2023 FARM Excellence Award winner in Environmental Stewardship asked to remain unnamed. The farm is a Dairy Farmers of America member dairy in Michigan that has embraced the FARM Environmental Stewardship Program and is committed to sustainability efforts across its operations.
FARM Program Evaluator
Associated Milk Producers Inc.
Jim Kauffman has been a FARM Animal Care evaluator since 2014. During this time, Jim has completed more than 250 FARM AC evaluations and has collaborated diligently with members to resolve nearly 200 different corrective action plans. Since starting with AMPI in 2011, Jim has made more than 1,300 FARM Program-related member visits.
With more than 30 years of experience, Jim brings a wealth of industry knowledge. He is a lifelong learner, always curious to ask questions and to keep up with the latest information. You will always find Jim with a smile and looking for the positive in each situation. He takes his role as an evaluator seriously from respecting farm biosecurity to making sure to maintain the confidentiality of the farmer’s information. His empathy and keen listening skills are what producers appreciate in helping them feel heard.
Jim champions the program by helping producers understand how the program works and how it strives to be science-and outcomes-based while being facility- and size-neutral. When a producer has a question about the program’s standards, he takes the time to explain how the standards are developed and how farmers are involved at each step in the approval structure. He teaches them the FARM Program’s intention is not to make more rules and regulations for dairy producers but for the program to realize its true potential, that the entire dairy industry needs to be united with a common program. He spreads the importance of the FARM Program beyond the producer as he works to create program awareness through conversations with milk haulers, equipment dealers, veterinarians, and others who work directly with supporting dairy farmers.
Jim enjoys seeing youth get excited about the industry and champions the Young Cooperators program at AMPI and is one of the best recruiters to engage young farmers in their co-op business to engage the next generation.