The National Milk Producers Federation Board (NMPF) of Directors approved changes to its FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program Tuesday, including reaffirming a ban on tail docking that will go into effect January 1, 2017.
The tail docking ban, which has been moved up five years at the request of dairy retailers, has been the most controversial of the changes to be implemented. NMPF pushed the start date forward out of fear that individual food retailers would start implementing their own tail docking bans ahead of the original Jan. 1, 2022 date, creating market disruption and confusion among consumers.
Other revisions to take effect next year place greater emphasis on accountability of program participants, says Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. Among them: Greater emphasis on employee training, having a documented Veterinarian-Client-Patient relationship for the administration and use of antibiotics, and updated protocols on non-ambulatory cattle and euthanasia. A summary of the changes can be found here.
“The core of the FARM Program is the concept of continuous improvement,” says Mulhern. “Not only do dairy farmers in the program work hard to evolve and improve their practices over time, but we work hard to ensure that the FARM Program guidelines reflect the more up-to-date scientific research and advice from our technical experts.”
Though the changes don’t go into effect until January 1, 2017, new resources and training materials will be available in April. For more information on the changes, go to www.nationaldairyfarm.com.