Animal Health & Welfare
Northwest Dairy Association farmers and their employees love being around cows. This natural interest in dairy work is enhanced by a commitment to best practices developed with one goal in mind: to be good stewards of the animals in our care. Above and beyond this, NDA conducts comprehensive second-party and third-party evaluations and measurements on our farms, consistently evaluating our progress along the way.
Pioneering Animal Care Standards
Over a decade ago, the Northwest Dairy Association proactively launched animal care assessments to ensure all cooperative member farms are dedicated to the highest standards of animal care. The program empowered NDA farmers to self-evaluate and record their progress in major areas of animal care and welfare. Adoption of the program grew and NDA evaluated a large number of member farms that welcomed the opportunity for feedback and insights gained from evaluating their practices. This program then evolved into the Dairy F.A.R.M. program outlined below.
The National Dairy F.A.R.M. (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program launched in 2009 on U.S. dairies to ensure extensive, in-depth evaluations covering the full range of issues that make up cows’ well-being, including:HousingNutritionAnimal HealthEmployee EducationCalf CareThe Northwest Dairy Association formally adopted the program to continually drive improvement in dairy management through research, on-farm evaluations and training modules that are available to all dairy farmers.
Going Above and Beyond
In addition to F.A.R.M. second-party assessments, NDA is committed to a vigorous third-party evaluation program. For several years, NDA has utilized recognized outside third-party experts to evaluate members’ management practices and animal welfare standards.
These provide in-depth assessments to some NDA farms every year, evaluating all farms over a rotating schedule designed to spread best practices and accelerate continuous improvement. NDA dairy farms to date have demonstrated excellent animal care practices and members appreciate the insights used to promote continuous improvement.