The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program today shared the results of its Animal Care Version 5 Development Survey. The report summarizes stakeholder perspectives on animal care issues of importance and captures ideas and levels of support for potential changes to the industry’s animal care standards.
“We are pleased with the level of engagement and the quality of feedback that we received from dairy farmers, veterinarians and other industry representatives that will help inform the development of FARM Animal Care Version 5,” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, vice president of the FARM Program. “We remain committed to ensuring updates made to the program reflect the needs and goals of the entire dairy supply chain.”
FARM Animal Care is updated once every three years to ensure relevance to current industry best management practices and scientific research related to on-farm animal care. The survey received 682 responses from farmers, veterinarians, and dairy-industry leaders nationwide.
Stakeholders identified care for sick animals, calves, and non-ambulatory cattle as dairy’s greatest priority to maintain focus on for Version 5. The survey also showed general support for making minor modifications and adding clarity to the program while avoiding large overhauls. Most survey respondents, including farmers, showed they would willingly support small changes to better address animal care vulnerabilities. Respondents also were in consensus that standards that aren’t direct measures of good animal welfare practices should be updated to prioritize an outcomes-based approach.
The results of this survey will be used to inform all levels of governance of FARM and will help guide ongoing discussions about the development of Version 5. The National Milk Producers Federation Board of Directors provide final approval on FARM standards, which will come into effect starting July 1, 2024. For more information, visit the Version 5 development page.