More than 50 WCMA members attended the Jan. 13 Information Meeting on the National Dairy FARM program in Madison. WCMA leaders have instructed staff to take the next step -- helping WCMA members train their fieldmen and veterinarian partners to execute the FARM program with dairy farm patrons.
Jim Mulhern, President & CEO of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), opened the meeting this week with the goal that the Upper Midwest dairy industry drive FARM program participation from its current level of 80 percent of milk produced on U.S. farms to 90 percent. NMPF, which manages this animal care protocol and farm verification program, voted in November to make FARM mandatory for all patrons when a cooperative or proprietary dairy processor signs up with the FARM program.
There is no cost to join the FARM program. Some groups, such as Extension agents, may charge a fee to train dairy fieldmen and vets to execute the program. WCMA intends to make this training free for our members. NMPF pays for the final step in the program: farms that are in the program, and have worked through animal care protocols with their fieldmen, enter a 'lottery' for third-party verification. About 1 percent of farms face this "check the checkers" verification.
Dr. Jamie Jonker and Emily Meredith from NMPF presented the program in detail (click here for their presentation). Following their talk, Attorney Dave Crass with Michael Best & Friedrich discussed how processors should prepare for potential animal abuse videos (click here for his presentation). David Pelzer, VP of Strategic Communications with Dairy Management Inc., discussed crisis communication planning in the event of an animal abuse incident (click here for his presentation).
On April 22, WCMA will bring together industry buyers, dairy processors, NMPF and DMI for an industry-wide discussion of locking in animal care protocols nationwide at the Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference in Madison.
Look for more information from WCMA on our plan to offer training for fieldmen and veterinarians to become on-farm executors of the FARM protocols.
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