U.S. Dairy: Achieving High-Level Animal Care

By July 11, 2018 News Posts

Through the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, the U.S. dairy industry is accomplishing a high level of animal care, as well as environmental and antibiotic stewardship. It makes sense. Consumers today are more interested in their food than ever before: its safety, nutrition, how it’s produced, who’s producing it and how animals are treated. Well cared-for cows are essential to a farm’s future. We’ve learned that only healthy cows produce high quality and quantities of milk, the lifeblood of every dairy.

Currently, 98 percent of the U.S. domestic milk supply participates in the FARM program, with participation from dedicated dairy farmers, cooperatives, and processors from across the United States.  FARM holds participants to rigorous guidelines that ensure the utmost quality on our nation’s dairy farms.  Specifically, FARM:

  • Details animal care guidelines that farmers follow for every cow and calf on the farm – guidelines that evolve with the latest research on quality animal care.
  • Provides on-farm evaluations and feedback on how farmers are doing.
  • Ensures the integrity of the program through third-party verification, completed by outside experts who evaluate a representative percentage of farms each year.
  • FARM’s Animal Care Program standards are revised every three years following an extensive review process by a group made up of animal scientists, veterinarians, dairy producers and other industry experts.
  • The Environmental Stewardship module, initiated in the 2016 FARM program, provides a comprehensive estimate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use associated with dairy farming.
  • The FARM program is the first livestock animal care program in the world to be recognized internationally for its industry-leading animal welfare standards in compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Animal Welfare Management/General Requirements and Guidance for Organization int the Food Supply Chain.

The FARM program began in 2009 when it was created by the National Milk Producers Federation, with support from Dairy Management, Inc.  Learn more about the U.S. dairy industry’s FARM program.