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Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

FARM Program seeks comments for Animal Care Program version 5 revisions 

The FARM Program launched an open comment survey for the FARM Animal Care Program’s drafted version 5 standards updates. All dairy industry stakeholders (farmers, allied industry, customers, etc.) are invited to provide comments, feedback and concerns related to the proposed revised standards until Oct. 28. FARM Animal Care Program version 5 is currently under development and, once approved, will take effect July 1, 2024, for a three-year cycle.

To view the proposed standard updates and provide comments, click here.

The FARM Animal Care Program standards are revised every three years to reflect current science and best management practices within the dairy industry. Standards are reviewed and revised by the FARM Animal Care Task Force and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Animal Health and Well-Being Committee, with input from industry stakeholder groups including farmers, animal scientists, veterinarians and allied industry. The NMPF board of directors provides final approval on version standards. 

The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) recently certified the FARM Animal Care Program version 4 as an approved animal welfare evaluation.


Dairy major recipient in first round of USDA climate-smart project funding

The USDA will invest up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects – including several dairy-related projects – under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding program.

Spanning up to five years, the initial projects will: provide technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices on a voluntary basis; establish pilot innovative and cost-effective methods for quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits; and develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities. Projects approved under the first funding pool range from $5 million to $100 million, with funding delivered through the Commodity Credit Corporation.

While numerous projects include dairy producers and commodities, those with the largest funding and direct dairy application (with funding ceiling) include:

  • A project led by Truterra LLC, a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, to catalyze a market-based network to broaden farmer access, scale adoption of climate-smart practices, and sustainably produce grain and dairy commodities ($90 million)
  • A California project, led by the California Dairy Research Foundation, to build climate-smart dairy markets and provide financial incentives for dairy producers to adopt manure management practices to reduce methane emissions ($85 million)
  • A project led by Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative to expand climate-smart markets for dairy and sugar by implementing production practices, improving business practices, and making use of data and information collected to inform future standards ($50 million)
  • A project led by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), using a cooperative model to connect on-farm GHG reductions with low-carbon dairy market opportunities – other major partners in the project include: Dairy One Cooperative, MyFarm LLC, Dairy Nutrition Management and Consulting LLC, Nestlé, Mars, Unilever, Barry Callebaut, Dairy Management Inc., U.S. Dairy Export Council, NMPF, Global Dairy Platform, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, CoBank and AGPROfessionals ($45 million).
  • A project led by Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP)/Organic Valley to expand climate-smart markets and help finance partnerships and incentivize farmers to advance the Organic Valley Carbon Insetting Program ($25 million)
  • A project led by Penn State University and partnered with the Center for Dairy Excellence, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and others to expand climate-smart markets and work with dairy producers in Pennsylvania ($25 million)
  • A project led by The Conservation Innovation Fund and partnered with the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, South Mountain Creamery and others to expand climate-smart markets and address plans and practices for hundreds of dairy producers in the Mid-Atlantic region ($25 million)
  • A project led by Maple Hill Creamery LLC to expand climate-smart markets for dairy producers and enable a network of partners and producers to implement practices by incentivizing implementation and providing training support in New York ($20 million)

For a complete list, visit the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Project Summaries website.

Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA had allocated $1 billion for the program, divided into two funding pools. Due to strong demand and interest in the program, total funding was increased to $3 billion. Applicants submitted more than 450 project proposals in the first funding pool. 

The USDA is currently evaluating project proposals from the second funding pool, which includes funding requests from $250,000 to $4.99 million. Projects from the second funding pool will emphasize the enrollment of small and/or underserved producers, and/or monitoring, reporting and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions. Projects from the second funding pool will be announced later this year.

Darigold building $600 million dairy protein, butter facility

Darigold Inc. broke ground on a $600 million dairy protein and butter processing facility in Pasco, Washington. Expected to open in early 2024, the plant will have the capacity to process approximately 8 million pounds of milk per day, sourced from more than 100 dairy farms.

The Pasco project represents Darigold’s third major capital investment in as many years and the largest investment in the co-op's 104-year history, according to Joe Coote, chief executive officer. The facility will be outfitted with two specialized milk dryers and two packaging lines for powdered milk products, two butter churns, two bulk butter packaging lines and five consumer butter packaging lines.

When fully operational, the facility will have the capacity to produce some 175 million pounds of butter per year and nearly 280 million pounds of powdered milk products annually. The facility's proximity to rail lines and global shipping ports will help the co-op realize transportation efficiencies for products going to both domestic and global customers.

Headquartered in Seattle, Darigold is the marketing and processing subsidiary of Northwest Dairy Association (NDA), which is owned by more than 300 family-owned dairy farms in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. 

Checkoff competition focuses on calming benefits

The Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) New Product Competition is accepting applications for innovative products that focus on dairy’s qualities related to calming.

The program, formerly the National Dairy Council New Product Competition, is open to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students. The competition provides a platform for students to bring their knowledge and expertise to dairy product innovation. Students can integrate their work on product formulation with packaging, pricing and marketing to create a product that meets consumer needs.

With a heightened emphasis on mental and emotional well-being, consumers are looking for products that calm, according to DMI. Successful entries will meet competition criteria, demonstrate innovation and provide value to consumers. 

Winning teams will be recognized at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting in Chicago next July. The winning team will earn $8,000, with second place receiving $5,000 and $3,000 going to third place.

The deadline for submissions is Jan. 16, 2023. For information, click here or email DMI’s Rohit Kapoor