Rain or shine, the top priority on a dairy farm is animal care—making sure all cows, heifers, and calves have fresh water, a nutritious diet, comfortable housing, and quality veterinary care. Animals are handled and treated humanely, according to best management practices, verified by third-party evaluations.
Animals are handled with care.
Through animal-handling training programs, dairy families ensure all employees learn proper animal care and treatment on day one. Employees learn to understand cow care from the cow’s perspective.
High quality nutrition is always a priority.
Dairy families grow and purchase the best quality feed ingredients for their cows, often searching far and wide when these feeds are not readily available. They work with certified nutritionists to ensure cows receive a nutritionally balanced diet throughout the year.
Dairies are designed with the cow in mind.
Housing, milking parlor design, and the milking schedule all are designed with cow comfort in mind.
Animal care is part of California's dairy quality assurance program.
Farmers assure responsible management.
In 2010, California became the first state to voluntarily adopt the National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management. This step reaffirmed dairy families’ longstanding commitment to proper animal care and treatment. FARM includes comprehensive best practices for nutrition, health, and housing, as developed by animal scientists, veterinarians, and dairy farmers. Third-party evaluators ensure compliance. FARM allows dairies to systematically verify responsible practices while building consumer confidence in America’s dairy products and the families that produce them. In rare instances when animal care may not be up to standards, FARM provides methods to identify and address issues.
“Operating a dairy in California today requires commitment and a real passion for the profession. Strong farmer-funded programs, like the National Dairy FARM Program, demonstrate this commitment and belief that a dairy's success starts with a healthy, well-cared-for cattle and wholesome products.”
– DR. ANNETTE JONES, STATE VETERINARIAN & DIRECTOR
ANIMAL HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY SERVICES
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE