The National Dairy FARM Program (FARM) has published its 2020 Year in Review. Serving as the annual summary of the achievements and program developments of the FARM Program, the Year in Review showcases successes and challenges during a year of change and uncertainty.
“As the industry shifted with the pandemic, we adapted the program to fit farmer’s and program participant’s needs,” says Emily Yeiser Stepp, vice president for the FARM Program at the National Milk Producers Federation, which administers FARM. “We were still able to provide value, develop helpful resources and provide assurances of on-farm social responsibility for the dairy supply chain despite the rollercoaster of 2020.”
The Year in Review details the resources and tools developed across all program areas to help farmers become more fully engaged with the program. It also shows how aspects of FARM were brought into a virtual environment. Events like the annual Evaluator Conference, monthly Evaluator Engagement Hours and the program’s Quick Convos series gave FARM staff the ability to connect with stakeholders online as 2020 presented unrivaled challenges.
The Review also summarizes changes made to the FARM Program Areas in 2020. FARM Animal Care Version 4 went into effect on January 1 with updates supporting closer farmer-veterinarian relationships, requiring continuing education for all employees and adding a new standard for pain management when disbudding animals. FARM also launched Version 2 of the Environmental Stewardship program which includes updated crop emissions factors, a breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions by gas type, a metric on the use of nutrient management plans, and the ability to capture the benefits of solid-liquid separation, and solar and wind energy. Additionally, Version 1 of the Workforce Development evaluation became available and focuses on human resources and safety best practices. It provides assurances to the supply chain and helps farmers identify what will be most useful to implement within their operation and track improvement over time.