“Once a producer completes the education component, we’ll schedule an on-farm evaluation with a trained veterinarian, extension educator, co-op field staff member, university personnel or others who have completed the program training,” says Jonker. The producer then receives a status report and, if necessary, an action plan for improvement.
Through a statistical sampling, a certain number of participating dairy farms will be randomly selected for third-party verification.
“Third-party verification adds a great deal of credibility to a program that provides a thorough, reasonable and practical approach to dairy animal management,” notes Jim Reynolds, DVM, clinician of on-farm clinical medicine, University of California-Davis. “It demonstrates to the consumer that our industry is truly committed to abiding by the highest standards of animal care.”
On-farm evaluations will begin in 2010; third-party verification will follow in 2011.
To participate, producers, co-ops, processors and state and regional dairy producer organizations can contact NMPF. The cost of the program is still being determined. Implementation of the program, including cost, will depend on whether participants join the program through a co-op or proprietary processor, or as an individual producer.
NMPF is managing the production and dissemination of technical animal care manuals, producer education and training, on-farm evaluation, and third-party verification. DMI is assisting with communication, specifically to producers and industry, as well as potential communication to the market chain and consumers.
Additional National Dairy FARM Program modules designed to assure the quality, safety and wholesomeness of dairy products will be introduced in the future.
Click here for more information or contact Betsy Flores at (703) 243-6111.