On January 20, via a live web-based broadcast, farmers in northern and western New York will learn about the National Dairy F.A.R.M. Program, a nationwide, verifiable animal well-being program being adopted by dairy producers and cooperatives.

The program will be offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Burrville, Canton and Chazy in northern NY, and in Albion, Canandaigua, and Warsaw in western NY.

F.A.R.M. is the acronym for Farmers Assuring Responsible Management. Dairy producers can participate in the third party verification program independently or through their milk marketing cooperative as in the case of the Upstate Niagara Cooperative. There is no participation fee to join.

Sara Gillette, a Senior Animal Well-Being Specialist and Area Manager with the Upstate Niagara Cooperative, will present details on the program in the January 20 broadcast. The Upstate Niagara Cooperative, a food and beverage cooperative of more than 360 family dairy farms throughout western NY, joined the National Dairy F.A.R.M. Program in January 2013.

“The National Dairy F.A.R.M. Program is a way to assure consumers that the products they are buying are produced by farms that consistently follow certain standards of animal care and quality assurance. It responds to public interest in knowing that animals receive proper care throughout their life and is designed to restore consumer confidence in farm-raised products,” said Gillette, a certified National Milk Producers Federation trainer and evaluator.

The National Dairy F.A.R.M. Program follows F.A.R.M. Animal Care Reference and Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention manuals with best on-farm practices respectively for animal care and judicious use of antibiotics in dairy animals.

Gillette will cover such practices as antibiotic record keeping and inventory, animal treatment planning, and drug disposal. Gillette is among the certified trainers and evaluators who instruct and assist farmers with meeting standards for calf care, nutrition, animal health, environment and facilities management, cattle handling and transportation, special needs animal care, and dairy beef production.

“The top priority goals on any farms are animal health and disease prevention. When dairy animals become sick and treatment is necessary, farmers can follow best practices for antibiotic use and to limit antibiotic residue from entering dairy and beef industry products,” Gillette said.

The National Dairy F.A.R.M. Program reports that approximately 20 percent of the annual beef production in the United States comes from the dairy industry.

Also presenting ais Beth Meyer, Vice President for Industry Communications with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, on how to share positive messages about farming practices and dairy cattle welfare with the public through social and traditional media.

As spokesperson for the dairy promotion checkoff organization for farmers in New York, northern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania, Meyer provides media and public audiences with information on topics ranging from milk pricing and nutritional benefits for consumers to farm energy efficiencies to dairy sustainability efforts.