The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence, and the Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT), a research center within the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, recently released a custom system for the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program that builds on and further expands the AgConnect technology.

 
Directed by the National Milk Producer’s Federation (NMPF) in partnership with Dairy Management, Inc., the FARM Program was developed to ensure animal care excellence in the dairy industry by providing consumers with the assurance and knowledge that animals receive the highest standards of care. The voluntary program includes a comprehensive certification that consists of education, on-farm evaluations, and third-party evaluation.
 
“The National Dairy FARM Program is having a tremendous impact across the dairy industry and improving the industry as a whole,” said Gerald Parker DVM, Ph.D., IIAD interim director. “Through the integration of AgConnect technology, we’re looking forward to helping the industry with their goal of continuous improvement by improving the efficiency and effectiveness by which the Program’s data is reported and managed.”
 
“The new system expands the capabilities available to evaluators, cooperatives, and industry associations, allowing them to better manage the Program and providing them with greater flexibility,” said Keith Biggers, Ph.D., TCAT director for computing and information technology and IIAD information analysis systems theme leader. “It provides a web-based portal for managing organization-specific data, cross-platform mobile applications to support on-farm data collection by evaluators, and a dashboard interface for monitoring and reporting on aggregate-level trends across the industry.”
 
IIAD has previously partnered with the dairy industry and NMPF on other projects, including development and validation of an assay for detection of foot-and-mouth disease virus in bulk tank milk samples.

“We have a very productive history with the dairy industry and we’re excited to extend that partnership into AgConnect,” said Parker. “I have no doubt that this newly developed system will not only meet the growing needs of the FARM Program, but that it will also help the program be more efficient, robust, and reliable - and will be able to expand in new directions as it continues to evolve.”
 
IIAD and TCAT have a proven history in developing mobile applications using the AgConnect technology to support a variety of different animal health domains. AgConnect offers a flexible data collection, management, and sharing architecture that can be used to support a variety of needs. This architecture allows for data integration, aggregation, and sharing/distribution in a fully controlled manner to support shared situational awareness and decision making. AgConnect can also support emergency response, business continuity, biosurveillance and other related areas.
 
“AgConnect has had an excellent track record in helping take agriculture programs to new heights and we are delighted to partner with them to further advance the FARM Program,” said Emily Meredith, Vice President of Animal Care at NMPF and director of the FARM Program. “Our cooperative members and second-party evaluators had been asking for a mobile application and updated database with greater capabilities. AgConnect more than delivered on these requests and we’re excited to see what the future holds for this partnership.”
 
The app can be found on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Only FARM Program certified evaluators/trainers have account credentials to utilize the app and submit evaluations. For questions or inquiries about the National Dairy FARM Program, please contact dairyfarm@nmpf.org. For questions or inquiries about the Dairy FARM Mobile app, please contact farm-help@tamu.edu.