Image courtesy of National Dairy FARM Program.
On January 1st of 2017 the latest version (Version 3.0) of guidelines were implemented for dairy producers participating in the F.A.R.M. program (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management). Producers are reminded that there are two priority phase areas for Version 3.0. Phase One Priority items include 3 Mandatory Corrective Action Plan criteria. These items are expected to be implemented and the farm showing progress within one year from their on-farm evaluation in which a F.A.R.M. evaluator finds one of these items to be inadequate.
Phase One Priority Items
- Annual completion and signing of an official Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) form between the dairy and the veterinarian of record.
- Employee training on stockmanship and animal care responsibilities an employee conducts daily, along with a Dairy Cattle Care Ethics and Training form signed annually. This form documents training along with stating that the employee will not abuse animals and that any observation of abuse will be reported immediately.
- No tail docking of any animal will occur after January 1, 2017. Alternative options include switch trimming and making sure milkers have protective eyewear in the parlor.
As dairy producers implement the Phase One Priority items, the F.A.R.M. website has the necessary forms available that producers can download and print for use in documentation of the VCPR and Dairy Cattle Care Ethics and Training.
Additionally, producers that desire assistance with employee training regarding stockmanship and animal care responsibilities have many resources available in English and Spanish, including the following:
- National F.A.R.M. Program modules
- Merck Dairy Care365™ modules
- National Beef Quality Assurance YouTube Channel
- University of Wisconsin Extension
- Michigan State University Extension
- Colorado State University
- Dairy Stockmansip videos from UMASH and University of Minnesota Extension
Phase Two Priority Items
Phase Two Priority items which trigger a Continuous Improvement Plan to be created focus on three main areas 1) Written protocols (SOP’s) for newborn calves/milk fed calves, pain management, handling of non-ambulatory animals and euthanasia; 2) Training and documentation of correct handling procedures for non-ambulatory livestock; and 3) Meeting standards for animal observations of lameness, body condition, and hock and knee lesions. These will need to be implemented and the farm showing progress over the normal reevaluation period, three years following the date of the on-farm evaluation in which the inadequacy was identified. Visit the National Dairy FARM Program website to learn more about the Phase Two Priority items and F.A.R.M. Animal Care Standards.
For more information or help preparing for an on farm evaluation when implementing the F.A.R.M. 3.0 Priority items within your dairy please contact the SDSU Extension Dairy Team.