Congratulations to Vermont’s Food Armor® Certified Farms!

 

By Dr. Kristin Haas – Agency of Ag

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is pleased to announce that five Vermont dairy farms have now achieved full certification in the Food Armor® HACCP for Proper Drug Use program, and a sixth is very close to completing the process.

In June 2017, the Agency launched a funding initiative to help offset the cost of dairy farm certification in the Food Armor® program. To become Food Armor® certified, six Vermont dairy farms have partnered with local Food Armor® Accredited veterinarians to develop Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans that meet the stringent requirements of the program. By becoming certified, these Vermont farms have gone above and beyond to show their commitment to responsible on-farm use of veterinary medications, food safety and livestock well-being.

Maintenance of certification requires each farm to adhere to a written Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) agreement, to annually submit customized drug lists, standard operating procedures, protocols and related records to the Food Armor® Foundation for approval, and to undergo a third-party audit to verify that written documents translate to best practices in livestock management. Adhering to this gold standard helps ensure that market dairy cows and bob calves shipped to slaughter do not have violative drug residues.

“Food Armor® certification represents the culmination of a steadfast commitment to excellence made by the farms’ animal care and management teams in partnership with their herd veterinarians. The Vermont dairy industry has always taken the issue of judicious use of veterinary medications seriously, and the ability to provide these Food Armor® program tools to Vermont dairy farmers for the betterment of their on-farm practices in support of this goal is a rewarding privilege”, states Dr. Kristin Haas, Vermont State Veterinarian.

VAAFM has used a two-year federal grant to provide Food Armor® training opportunities for Vermont veterinarians, maintain a State Food Armor® program license and offset the professional and program costs associated with certification. There is funding available through August 31, 2018 to help farmers and veterinarians with Food Armor® certification costs. Since 2015, more than 50 food animal veterinarians have received Food Armor® training, approximately 70 Vermont farmers have participated in Food Armor orientation sessions, and a handful of farms interested in certification participated in day-long workshops.

At the time of this drafting, the following Vermont dairy farms have been through the certification process and are currently reaping the full benefit of the Food Armor® program: Gervais Family Farm, Inc., Duhamel Farms, Dalestead Farm and Maple, LLC., Parent Family Farm, and Glenview Jerseys.  Congratulations to these farms and their partner veterinarians on becoming certified. Other dairy farms are utilizing the components of the Food Armor® program that are the most worthwhile for their businesses. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/vtagencyofag/videos/10159617070160344/ to view the VAAFM informational video that highlights Gervais Family Farm and provides information about the investment that the Vermont dairy industry has made in the Food Armor® program.

There is sustained interest in the Food Armor® program on the part of Vermont dairy farmers, and Vermont producers continue to partner with Food Armor® trained veterinarians to utilize components of the Food Armor® program in their daily production practices. To learn more about the Food Armor® HACCP for Proper Drug Use program, visit www.foodarmor.org. If you are a farmer who is interested in receiving money to implement the Food Armor® program on your farm, please contact your herd veterinarian or the VAAFM Animal Health Office at (802)828-2421 or AGR.animalhealth@vermont.gov.

To review Food Armor® articles in prior issues of Agriview, please visit

http://agriculture.vermont.gov/news_media/agriview/archive

Agriview with Food Armor articles: Vol. 81, Number 2, Vol. 81, Number 3, Vol. 81, Number 5, Vol. 81, Number 6, Vol. 81, Number 7