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NEW PRAGUE, MN

Milk quality experts representing 28 countries gathered in Glendale, AR, for the National Mastitis Council (NMC) 55th Annual Meeting, Jan. 31-Feb. 2.

More than 400 attendees learned about the science of motivating behavioral change, animal well-being and the intersection with milk quality, judicious drug use and the intersection with producing quality milk, and implementing, sustaining and communicating change — putting theory into practice.

Participants included milk quality specialists, veterinarians, milk processor field staff, dairy suppliers, dairy producers, university researchers, extension specialists and students.

'The NMC annual meeting provided a platform for international discussion on the latest in milk quality innovation and expertise,' said Sandra Godden, DVM, professor at the University of Minnesota and NMC annual meeting program chair and new president of the NMC board of directors.

Additionally, the venue fostered discussions about global milk quality challenges and quality milk production – from mastitis prevention and control strategies to social psychology and team-building skills.

NMC recognized several milk quality experts during its annual meeting.

Anne Saeman, longtime NMC executive director, received the NMC Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control. Since 1986, Saeman has been instrumental in building a unique organization that has an international reputation as the leading organization promoting the production of quality milk.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. sponsors this award, which recognizes an NMC member for sustained contribution to mastitis prevention and control through research, extension or education, clinical practice or service to producers.

In the National Dairy Quality Awards program, NMC recognized six dairy operations as Platinum winners. These top quality milk producers included: Jeremy Beebe, Whittemore, MI; Travis and Janet Clark, and Roger, Sandy and David Grade, Eldorado, WI; Michael Kleinhans, Kiel, WI; Gregg Trierweiler and Matthew Keilen, Westphalia, MI; David and Karen Vander Zanden, Casnovia, MI; and Brent, Nancy, Tyler and Ben Wilson, Carson City, MI.

Judges selected these winners based on quality milk production indicators, including somatic cell count, bacteria count and mastitis incidence, along with milking routine, udder health monitoring systems, treatment protocols and overall herd health and welfare strategies.

For the ninth consecutive year, NMC awarded travel scholarships/stipends to four outstanding graduate students to attend the NMC annual meeting. This year's NMC Scholars were Benjamin Enger, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA; Zyncke Lipkens, Ghent University, Merelbeke, East-Flanders, Belgium; Virginia Sherwin, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England; and Alexandrea Watters, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

The NMC Scholars program was created to support the development of mastitis researchers and milk quality professionals from around the world.

During the NMC annual business meeting, members elected David Kelton, University of Guelph, and Elizabeth Berry, Animax, Hereford, United Kingdom, to the NMC board of directors. John Middleton, University of Missouri, and Christina Petersson-Wolfe, Virginia Tech, retired from the board. During the next year, Godden will serve as president, Mario Lopez, DeLaval, as first vice president, and Kelton as second vice president.

The NMC 56th Annual Meeting will be held Jan. 29-31, 2017, in St. Pete Beach, FA.

NMC is a professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety. Founded in 1961, NMC has close to 1,500 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

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