Merck Animal Health announced a partnership with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), to help ensure a comprehensive, industry-wide approach to employee training and animal care in the dairy industry. The National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible ManagementTM) Animal Care Program, administered by NMPF with support from Dairy Management Inc.TM covers more than 91 percent of the nation’s milk supply. Through the partnership, dairy producers across the country will have access to tools, resources and workshops available through the Merck Animal Health Dairy C.A.R.E.™* initiative, an extension of the Dairy Care365™ animal handling training program.

Dairy C.A.R.E. was developed to help producers provide the best animal care by maintaining sound policies, hiring the right people and making sure they are properly trained. It was designed to complement the FARM Animal Care Program, developed in 2009, which establishes a nationwide, verifiable animal well-being program. Going forward, Merck Animal Health will continue to work closely with FARM Animal Care to develop supplemental materials dairy farmers can use to meet the FARM Program’s requirements.

“This partnership is a natural fit and extends the reach of both programs,” said Rick Jackson, Merck Animal Health U.S. dairy product manager. “The FARM Animal Care program does a great job of setting expectations for dairy operations, and Dairy C.A.R.E. helps provide additional training and tools to get the job done.”

Both Dairy C.A.R.E. and the FARM Animal Care support the significant efforts of dairy producers to continuously improve the care and handling of their animals.

“Dairy C.A.R.E. helps producers meet the requirements of the FARM program, including creating a cow care agreement, developing written standard operating procedures (SOPs) and providing employee training,” according to Emily Meredith, NMPF Vice President, Animal Care. “Animal care is everyone’s responsibility in the dairy industry, and we all take it seriously. We’re excited about the partnership with Merck Animal Health to help advance this industry-wide effort.”

The Dairy C.A.R.E. initiative includes a comprehensive resource guide; Dairy Care365 animal handling training videos; and customizable templates of animal care policies and SOPs that outline how animals should be handled to optimize their health and well-being. Merck Animal Health is conducting free workshops around the country to help dairy producers tailor the Dairy C.A.R.E. materials for their farms.

Dairy Care365 animal handling training videos feature real on-farm settings to provide a realistic representation of how cows behave and react to their surroundings. Through these videos, employees learn how to work with dairy cattle and youngstock safely and effectively, move cows to the milking parlor and handle non-ambulatory cows among other topics.