How It Works
To offer the best milk every day, Canadian dairy farmers have excellent standards and practices. Dairy Farmers of Canada and members initiated the development of proAction to show how farmers responsibly produce milk. With proAction, farmers offer proof to customers that they work to ensure milk quality and safety, and to continually improve animal health and welfare as well as environmental stewardship.
proAction was designed with checks and balances in place to ensure conformance, transparency, and accountability. The program is mandatory for all Canadian dairy farms and its 82 requirements are measurable and verifiable through on-farm validations.
Canadian dairy farms
Validators are trained professionals who perform independent validations to verify farm records and confirm dairy farmers are meeting proAction requirements. They observe animals and farm premises, interview farmers and staff, and verify farm records. They evaluate the farm according to proAction requirements and identify areas that require corrective actions. Farmers have a specific timeframe to implement corrective actions, depending on the requirement. Continued non-conformance can generate a process of progressive sanctions.
Validations are completed in person, on each farm, at least once every two years to ensure that standards are being met every day. During the alternate year, farms are required to complete a self-declaration, and a random sample of 5% of these farms are also selected for on-farm validations after they submit their self-declarations. Provincial dairy organizations follow up to ensure farmers have implemented any necessary corrective actions to comply with proAction.
Cattle assessors are professionally trained, and re-trained every six months, to evaluate herds. They complete cattle assessments for the Animal Care module of proAction. This includes evaluating a statistically significant sample of each farm’s lactating herd for body condition, hock, knee, and neck scores as well as mobility, which are key indicators of animal care and comfort.
Farmers work directly with other dairy professionals including veterinarians, dairy nutrition advisors, hoof trimmers, agronomists, dairy specialists, and technicians to keep their cows healthy and their farm safe and sustainable.