Standard operating procedures (SOPs) help employees understand the work expected of them. It is important to provide written protocols, demonstrate the procedures contained in them and set a good example for employees.
According to the Penn State Extension Dairy Team, the objective of an SOP is to:
- Provide direction
- Improve communication
- Reduce training time
- Reduce variation
The Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) Certification program advocates the use of SOPs that enhance and demonstrate quality animal care and handling practices. It also supports appropriate training and periodic evaluation of employees for skills in animal care and handling procedures. Training and periodic review of employees encourages proper implementation of the practices outlined in the SOP, and ultimately influences beef quality and safety.
It is recommended that you establish and review standard operating procedures annually, revising them as necessary. For further information on training employees in animal care and handling SOPs, see Section IV-D in the DACQA manual.
The Dairy Calf & Heifer Association’s Gold Standards III also recommends developing SOPs for all procedures and training personnel in correct techniques upon hiring as well as reviewing SOPs with your veterinarian and employees quarterly.
DACQA is a voluntary, national certification program intended to enhance and demonstrate quality animal care practices that assure food safety, quality and value as well as enhance consumer confidence in the milk and beef products harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.
DCHA is the only national association dedicated to serving the dairy calf and heifer industry. The association strives to provide information, education and access to leading research and technology to its members and the calf and heifer industry.