The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program today released its 2021 Year in Review highlighting new initiatives and program area advancements.
“The FARM Program expanded its efforts to connect, support and recognize dairy farmers and program participants in 2021,” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, vice president of the FARM Program. “Our progress has enabled us to provide meaningful assurances of on-farm social responsibility to the entire dairy supply chain.”
The annual report chronicled the FARM Program’s many activities and accomplishments of the past year, which included adding the FARM Biosecurity program area, implementing the FARM Excellence Awards and developing a formal partnership program.
In 2021 the Animal Care program, FARM’s foundational pillar, solicited wide-ranging input from stakeholders on ideas and support for potential changes to industry animal care standards to help guide ongoing discussions about the development of Version 5. The program also unveiled the first volume of its Calf Care and Quality Assurance Animal Care Reference Manual for farmers who raise calves for dairy or beef production.
Meanwhile, FARM’s Antibiotic Stewardship program provided ongoing education for the dairy community, working with its task force to update its primary educational tool for dairy farmers on the judicious and responsible use of antibiotics.
FARM Workforce Development grew significantly in program area implementation and available resources to better equip dairy owners and managers with tools to enhance their work environments. Forty-nine second-party evaluators were trained and certified during the year to conduct voluntary on-farm evaluations, encouraging best practices in human resources and safety.
The FARM Environmental Stewardship Program in 2021 added tools that continue to help dairy farmers measure and improve their environmental footprint. Strategic planning motivated the development of a Conservation Practice Questionnaire that could become an optional component of the evaluation in 2022. The program also developed state-by-state nutrient management plan fact sheets and released a participant handbook.