The FARM Environmental Stewardship module provides a comprehensive estimate of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use associated with dairy farming. The tool is based on a life cycle assessment (LCA) of fluid milk conducted by the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas, incorporating data from more than 500 dairy farms across the United States. The FARM ES module asks a limited set of questions to assess a farm’s carbon and energy footprint – reducing the burden on farmers while still providing reliable, statistically robust estimates.

Governance Structure

Facts

Documents

 

Dairy Environmental Handbook

The Dairy Environmental Handbook is a comprehensive resource that includes many of the environmental best management practices available to dairy producers.

This book is the product of a joint effort by the National Milk Producers Federation and USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide dairy producers and professionals with initial environmental management guidance for dairy operations. This handbook was made possible through the generous financial support of the Phillip Morris Family of Companies, USDA and several sponsors.

The complete handbook is available from NMPF on CD. The CD format also includes the NRCS CORE 4 Conservation Guide, a land application guide and other environmental management tools from USDA for dairy producers.

To request a handbook on CD, please email Beverly Hampton.

Environmental Stewardship Leadership

FARM Environmental Stewardship Task Force

The FARM Environmental Stewardship Task Force is comprised of cooperative staff that manage field staff who interact directly with farmers, corporate sustainability professionals, and customer outreach. The goal of this panel is to review, recommend, and provide counsel on the governance of the FARM Program. Updates and official recommendations from the panel will be sent to the NMPF Environmental Committee.

Dean Letter is the Director of Member Services at the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), a dairy cooperative based in Novi, Michigan. The century-old cooperative markets milk on behalf of approximately 2,000 dairy farmer member owners in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Letter oversees MMPA member services in the areas of milk quality, Grade A compliance, animal care, sustainability, member procurement and administrative services. He also manages the corporate laboratory for member milk testing and the member merchandise program. Letter has over 20 years of experience, first joining MMPA as a member representative before being promoted to his current role. He has a bachelor of science degree in animal science from Michigan State University. Letter is active with the Michigan Energy Council, and the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program where he co-chairs the Livestock Systems Committee.

Josh Luth is Milk Procurement and Sustainability Manager for Foremost Farms USA, a 1400 member-owned cooperative based in Baraboo Wisconsin. Luth is the liaison between local dairy farm member-owners of Foremost Farms USA and the corporate office.  He monitors emerging milk supply trends and collaborates with the Milk Quality Team.  He leads to identify opportunities for dairy members by keeping up with cooperative needs, consumers and industry insights.  Josh strives to bring resources and professional field service to dairy members by continuing to be involved with milk quality, regulatory, animal welfare and the dairy industry sustainability. He grew up on a dairy farm and custom heifer ranch in south-central California. He started his undergraduate program at Fresno State University and MBA program at University of University, Whitewater. Josh is involved with National Mastitis Council, Wisconsin Farm Bureau and Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance.

Lindsay is the Manager of Animal Care and Sustainability for Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative. She is responsible for the coordination and execution of Maryland & Virginia’s Animal Care and Sustainability programs which foster continuous improvement throughout, from the farm to the consumer.  Prior to this position she served as the Assistant Director of Governmental Relations for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.   Lindsay holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and applied economics from Virginia Tech.  She is among the tenth generation to grow up on her family’s farm in Loudoun County.  She and her family reside on their farm in Amelia, Virginia.

Tai Ullmann leads Land O' Lakes' dairy sustainability efforts. This includes developing and managing their Dairy On-Farm Sustainability Program to measure key sustainability indicators across Land O’ Lakes’ milk supply. Tai is also responsible for developing new projects, partnerships or services to drive continuous improvement and transparency to demonstrate Land O’ Lakes’ commitment to sustainability. Before joining Land O'Lakes, Tai worked on an USDA-funded project assessing the viability of producers in the Northeast. She also held research positions with Hunger-Free Minnesota and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. Tai has a Master of Science degree in Agriculture, Food and the Environment from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies with a concentration in Global Environmental Politics from American University. Most recently, she was also named one of Greenbiz’s 2016 30 Under 30 emerging leaders.

Technical Review Panel

The technical review panel provides an independent review of best management practices included in the FARM Environmental Stewardship Project Guide. Led by World Wildlife Fund, the panel’s goal is to ensure FARM Environmental Stewardship provides a best in class guide to support farmers in understanding the FARM ES results and to identify opportunities for improvement. The panel is comprised of farmers, academics, processors, and conservationist.

Foster Brothers Farm is a fifth generation in the process of transfer ownership from fourth to fifth.  We are located in the Champlain Valley of Vermont on primarily heavy clay soils with some river bottom soils either owned or rented.  Our land base includes 400 acres of woodland and 1200 acres of crop land owned and 300 acres rented. Our wet herd is 440 milked three times a day. We raise our own replacements (285). We built and used an anaerobic digester in 1982 connected to the grid. A major snowstorm collapsed the roof in on the digester in 2009 and to date resources have not allowed us to put it back in service. We have for years used conservation practices including strip cropping, crop rotation, buffers, cover crops using the rye to provide seed for next year’s cover crop, no-till corn for the last three years, USDA sponsored cover crop trial using different practices, drag-hose manure application to reduce soil compaction, and nutrient management planning to manage our dairy residuals.  We have been local conservation winner in a number of years. Our goal is to be sustainable in the broadest sense.

Curt Gooch started his agricultural career very early in life; with the help of his Dad he grew and sold produce and later expanded the business to include rearing and selling ring-neck pheasants.  Seeing a potential passion for agriculture, he began working on local dairy farm in college while he was an agricultural engineering undergraduate student at the University of Maryland.  His first professional employment was as a Project Engineer for 9 years with the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and during this time Gooch continued his formal education earing at a Master of Science (MS) degree in biological resource engineering from the University of Maryland and also became a licensed engineer.  In 1998 Curt joined the Cornell PRO-DAIRY program initially working on dairy housing systems.  In the early 2000’s, with the onset of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), he conceived and developed the Dairy Environmental Systems (DES) Program which he currently manages.  Gooch has had his own consulting business since 1994. Overall, Gooch has over 30 years of agricultural facility design and project/construction management experience, including capital construction projects for dairy and many other livestock species.  He also has extensive experience in dairy facility design, cow comfort design and environmental assessment, integrated waste collection, conveyance, treatment, and utilization systems including anaerobic digestion, sand-laden dairy manure treatment, and nutrient recovery. Gooch and his DES team conducts applied research with the goals of furthering the understanding of dairy housing and waste handling/management/treatment systems and their effects on dairy animals, the environment, farm profitability – all of which are key components of dairy industry sustainability.  Outputs include publication of over 200 papers, popular press articles, and web site materials and development and delivery of numerous PowerPoint presentations.  His team’s work has had meaningful impact on the New York State and overall US dairy industries. One of the more recent areas of focus by the DES group is animal agriculture and climate change.  Work in this area has been in partnership with other Land Grant institutions across the US to address this important topic.

Dr. Robert Hagevoort, a native of The Netherlands, is an Associate Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist in the Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources Department of College of Agricultural in the College of Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Tropical Animal Production from the College for Tropical Agriculture (1987) in Deventer, The Netherlands. He received a M.S. degree in Range Nutrition (1989), and a Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition (1993) both from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining New Mexico State University as an Extension Dairy Specialist in November of 2005, Dr. Hagevoort served for over 10 years as an independent dairy management consultant primarily in California’s southern and central Valley. As an Extension Specialist, he has been working closely with the Dairy Industry in New Mexico and across the Western U.S. regarding many regulatory and environmental issues, and initiated an effort to rebuild a dairy program at NMSU through the formation of the U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium (formerly known as the Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium). A key component of his current research & extension program is the development and implementation of a comprehensive dairy workforce training & safety program in both English and Spanish. In March of 2011, Dr. Hagevoort was the first recipient of the Topliff Dairy Chair, a position charged with promoting the visibility of the dairy industry through research, extension and education and which serves as a policy center for regulatory matters.

Jennifer Harrison recieved her  MS in Environmental Studies with a focus on Environmental Administration in 1998 from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, NH. Before deciding to return to school she spent many years traveling the country working on a wide variety of environmental issues.  Just prior to enrolling at OSU, Harrison spent three years in Wisconsin managing the sustainability department at Organic Valley.  It was during her time there that she realized her passion for research and the desire to contribute to the organic movement through defensible scientific study. She is currently a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University focused on defining the most effective method of data collection and information dissemination for inciting long-term sustainable management on organic farms.   

John Jacobs IV is the managing partner of Green Valley Dairy, located in NE Wisconsin. The family’s motto, “Grow Better Before Bigger,” helps preserve their commitment to the environment and acknowledges their philosophy of responsible and sustainable farming. As recognition of their commitment, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Innovation Center for US Dairy (IC) named Green Valley Dairy a 2013 Sustainability Award Winner. Since 2008, John has managed the families operations, while maintaining the families focus on the environment. It was under his leadership that Green Valley Dairy was recognized by the WWF and IC. John’s on-farm practices and industry relations have also enabled them to maintain a highly effective and qualified team, while increasing standards.It is this level of commitment and determination that drives John, his family and team to continually improve their business and industry practices. It is also this commitment that has driven John to advocate on behalf of the industry.  Over the years, John has worked diligently with his local, state, and national legislatures to enhance the industry. Prior to 2008, John was a Commercial Lender focusing on Agriculture. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Platteville, where he met his wife Kelly. Together they have 4 children and as a family focus on community involvement.

Roberta Osborne is the manager for milk quality and animal care for Chobani yogurt.  Roberta spent 28 years working as a Dairy Extension Agent, and 4 years working in sustainability for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, where she managed the Farm Smart project.  Roberta is a FARM trainer and evaluator, and Professional Animal Scientist.

Sandra Vijn is a director of the Sustainable Food Team of the World Wildlife Fund, and focuses on sustainable production of animal proteins. Sandra works with dairy farmer associations, research institutions, businesses, and international organizations to identify and promote solutions for sustainable dairy. In addition, she engages in multistakeholder fora to identify sustainable feed and manure solutions for livestock, including the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Eggs, the Forum of the Future Protein Challenge 2040 and EPA Nutrient Recycling Challenge. She started her sustainability journey at the Global Reporting Initiative in Amsterdam, and worked at the Centre for Responsible Business of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the United Arab Emirates. In 2010, she joint the Innovation Center for US Dairy, where she led the development of the first version of the Sustainability and Stewardship Guide for the US dairy industry, and in that capacity served as the co-chair for the Food, Agriculture and Beverage Working Group of The Sustainability Consortium.        

FAQs

The Farmers Assuring Responsible Management Program (FARM), administered and managed by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) will launch the FARM Environmental Stewardship module. It will allow for the collection and dissemination of information on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and energy use on dairy farms. The assessment will also help dairy producers to identify potential efficiency gains, cost savings, and to track progress in a secure, confidential platform.

The FARM Environmental Stewardship module will be voluntarily available to all FARM program participants. If a FARM Program participant wants to use FARM ES, they can do so by opting into the module by using the Co-op Manager account designated for their organization.

No. FARM Program participants will have the option to complete the assessment in conjunction with or separate from existing animal care evaluations.

It’s up to the user to decide how often or how many farms to assess through FARM ES. If not doing every farm, we have developed a FARM ES Statistical Sampling Protocol in order for the user to select a random, statistically valid set of farms to assess on an annual basis.

FARM Environmental Stewardship integrates the methodology and science that resides in Farm Smart ™, which was developed by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy over the last several years. Farm Smart’s science-based models were field-tested on dozens of farms and in several full supply chain pilots, and are being fully integrated into FARM. FARM Environmental Stewardship is a strong addition to the FARM Program’s existing Antibiotic Stewardship and Animal Care modules, which have earned strong customer support.

The new module will be launched on February 13, 2017. A User Guide has been developed to guide evaluators and employees through the on-farm assessment process. A Project Guide will be available this spring which will help farmers improve their footprint with an eye towards also improving their bottom line.

A farmer should receive a copy of our Getting Ready (linked here) document around two weeks prior to the assessment in order to aggregate all of the available information. The information they will need include milk production records, animal numbers, rations, energy statements, fuel usage, and nutrient management plans (if available).

While the FARM Animal Care evaluation requires the evaluator to move about the farm, a FARM ES assessment is primarily a paper exercise that requires documentation and some farmer engagement. FARM ES assessments are not an "inspection".

If the farmer has the information needed on hand and is generally available for questions, a FARM ES assessment should take approximately an hour to complete.

After the assessment is completed, the results are emailed in a PDF document to the farmer and the person inputting the assessments.