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Progress Continues on FARM Animal Care Version 5

The governance committees of the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program continue to make meaningful progress on updates to Version 5 of the Animal Care program that culminated in the third in a series of Industry Town Halls held June 30.

The FARM Animal Care Task Force, comprised of dairy farmers, veterinarians, dairy welfare academics, and cooperative and processor staff have met over a dozen times during the past year to review existing standards, results of an industry-wide survey and other sources of feedback to inform recommendations to improve the program. Thus far, task force meetings have highlighted the following areas:

· Refinement to the how broken tails are evaluated

· Establishment of a moderate lameness benchmark

· Maintenance of the pain management for disbudding standard and heightened industry adoption

· Consistency in pain management expectation for painful procedures of disbudding, castration and branding

· Outcomes-based approach to nutrition provisions

The task force presented their initial recommendations for modifications to the program to the NMPF Animal Health and Well-Being Committee on June 8-9 following the NMPF Board Meeting. Once approved, the revisions will be put forward for a public comment period beginning after Labor Day that will be open through the end of October. A final proposal from the Committee will be presented to the NMPF Board of Directors in March 2023, and the new program will be implemented starting July 2024.

Online Modules Now Available for CCQA Program

Farmers raising dairy calves now have access to the free Calf Care and Quality Assurance (CCQA) program online at CCQA promotes a way of thinking that prompts calf raisers to approach management decisions with thoughtfulness and an appreciation for the responsibility they have to their animals, consumers, the environment and the broader cattle industry. The program was developed with an understanding of the diversity of calf-raising enterprises, being science and outcomes based while maintaining facility type and size neutrality. While the practices identified in the animal care reference manual are not the only practices that can meet the desired outcomes, the program provides a framework that serves as a resource for anyone working in the calf-raising industry. In addition to the manual, online modules and self-assessment tools, CCQA will release an audit tool later this year. Completion of the CCQA online modules provides certification equivalent to Beef Quality Assurance certification. Certification through CCQA helps ensure optimal calf health and welfare and is the first, collaborative educational tool that provides guidelines for calf raisers. The CCQA program is a joint initiative led by NCBA’s Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program and the FARM Program with support from the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, and the Beef Checkoff-funded Veal Quality Assurance program.

Pilot Program for FARM Environmental Stewardship Conservation Practice Questionnaire Concludes

FARM Environmental Stewardship (ES) has concluded a pilot program field-testing its Conservation Practice Questionnaire (CPQ), and the ES task force is reviewing the findings to make refinements to the questionnaire prior to its release later this year. The CPQ will serve as an optional add-on questionnaire to the existing FARM ES Version 2.0 evaluation. The questionnaire covers dairy farmers’ field and dairy-level conservation practices to capture a more holistic sustainability story. The goals of the pilot were to test the CPQ with dairies across the country and receive feedback from producers and evaluators. Nine FARM ES Participants piloted the CPQ, including Agri-Mark, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Foremost Farms, Glanbia, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association, Sartori Cheese and United Dairymen of Arizona. A total of 31 farms participated and provided feedback, which has been kept anonymous and used only for the continued development of the CPQ.

Abdullah Ibrahimzada Joins FARM Program Staff

Abdullah Ibrahimzada has joined the staff as the FARM Program’s information system analyst. In this role, he will manage the ongoing relationship with the program’s technology provider. Ibrahimzada comes to NMPF after five years of program management experience with USAID, World Bank, and The Borgen Project. He is a Fulbright and Campus France scholar and holds a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Arkansas and another master’s degree in Marketing and Management from Lille Catholic University, France. Ibrahimzada speaks five languages and loves soccer.


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