Adding tools to your animal care toolkit

Partnerships with NMPF, Merck and Animal Ag Alliance provide valuable resources

A Graphic Of Land O

Nobody cares more about the health and wellbeing of your herd than you do. You make sure they’re well fed, clean, comfortable and healthy because that’s what dairy farmers do. But when challenges come your way—hiring and training the right employees, or facing a leaky barn roof or an outside threat of some kind—it’s good to know where to turn to get some help and advice.

We at Land O’Lakes have been working hard to make it simpler to access tools like the resource library through the FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) website. Others you may not be so familiar with, like our partnership with the Animal Agriculture Alliance that helps farmers face hiring challenges and manage crises from weather incidents to a variety of animal activist threats.

Now you can access these resources by clicking Products & Services on the homepage of the new member site.

“We’re not out to reinvent the wheel,” says Tim Raasch, FARM Animal Welfare Supervisor. “National Milk Producers has a website with a library on it. We partner with Merck DairyCare 365™ to provide training videos. Some of the large drug manufacturing companies have resources available. We’re out to partner with people to make sure producers have what they need.”

Best practices

Pennsylvania member-owner S & A Kreider and Sons is a family farm with about 1,500 dairy cows that has taken advantage of the Merck DairyCare 365 program available through our partnerships. Ellis Kreider credits his TSS (Technical Service Specialist) for connecting them with the program that includes best management practices for animal handling and movement, animal health diagnosis and treatment, and other topics related to animal care on dairy farms.

“[Merck] left us training videos that I made available to our employees and we followed up with a test so they could earn certification,” Ellis says. “We didn’t make it mandatory for existing employees but many of them took advantage of it.”

Ellis says the two videos he uses the most are Introduction to Dairy Stockmanship and Moving Cows to the Parlor.

“Introduction to Dairy Stockmanship and Moving Cows to The Milking Parlor kind of deal with the basics and we require all new employees to watch them,” Ellis says. “They cover things like showing how a cow thinks and what its field of vision is like. A cow can feel when you’re getting closer and they don’t like sudden movements. You have to move slowly through the barn.

“Much of it we already knew and were doing,” he continues, “but the videos reinforced good practices and gave helpful structure, as well as giving some different ideas about moving cows.”

Security and crisis prevention

Knowing how to give the herd what it needs on a daily basis is hard work but preventing and handling crises is a different type of challenge. Our partnership with Animal Agriculture Alliance provides you with all sorts of resources for those less familiar hurdles that you don’t face every day.

The hiring and security portions include helpful items such as questions to ask in an interview, a farm security checklist, how to spot an activist and a sample employment application. Under crisis prevention there is help for how to plan for wind- and fire-related events, ways to identify potential activist activity and members for whom we have email addresses will receive alerts when there is suspicious activity around dairy farms.

“These [Animal Agriculture Alliance resources] are all password protected,” says Tim Boeck, Product and Services Manager, Member Relations. “They’re here to help farmers be prepared for crises, and have the tools to manage through any that they might encounter.”

Stay up to date

As you know, we’re still conducting in-person FARM evaluations, follow-ups and are only a phone call away if you have questions or concerns. And now direct access to links that help you stay connected to the backbone of the dairy industry are only a click away.