NMC Annual Meeting revolves around global theme

Twenty-three countries were represented at the 59th National Mastitis Council (NMC) Annual Meeting, held January 28-31 (2020), in Orlando, Florida, USA. International attendees accounted for 31 percent of the attendees.

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Following a thought-provoking presentation on innovation in prevention, control and detection of mastitis by Ynte Schukken of GD Animal Health Service and Wageningen University, Deventer, Netherlands, the 400-plus attendees learned about milk quality triumphs and tribulations from six different countries – Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Switzerland and the United States.

“Speakers provided state-of-the-art information regarding mastitis pathogens, communication techniques and innovative mastitis prevention, detection and control techniques,” said Sarne De Vliegher, newly installed NMC president and annual meeting program chair, and Ghent University Belgium, professor. “The Motivational Interviewing session demonstrated effective consultant-client interactions and the importance of using science-based communication strategies.”

Capitalizing on its global theme, NMC honored J. Eric Hillerton, a dairy science consultant and adjunct professor of dairy systems at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, with the group’s highest honor – the NMC Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control. Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors this award, which provides a $2,500 (U.S. dollars) cash award. The 2011 NMC president, Hillerton’s mastitis career has spanned 40 years and two continents. His contributions to NMC include serving 10 years on the board of directors and authoring informational materials, including portions of NMC’s Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis (now available in four languages). He was NMC’s first president to reside outside of North America.

NMC honored six outstanding dairy farms for producing top-quality milk. The six Platinum National Dairy Quality Award winners are Wilson Centennial Farm LLC (Brent, Nancy, Tyler and Ben Wilson), Carson City, Mich.; Fischer-Clark Dairy Farm, Inc. (David, Susan, Jon and Heidi Fischer), Hatley, Wis.; RKB Dairy (Randy, Kathleen and Glen Bauer), Faribault, Minn.; Windmill Dairy  (Jon Doornenbal), Middleton, Idaho; Evergreen Dairy Farm LLC (Kris Wardin), Saint Johns, Mich.; and Maple Ridge Dairy (Brian Forrest and Ken and Phil Hein), Stratford, Wis. Judges selected outstanding dairies to receive this honor based on quality milk production indicators, such as somatic cell count and bacteria count, along with milking routine, systems of monitoring udder health, treatment protocols and strategies for overall herd health and welfare.

NMC awarded travel scholarships to six outstanding graduate students to attend the NMC Annual Meeting. This year’s NMC Scholars were Daryna Kurban, University of Montreal; Sam Rowe, University of Minnesota; Igor Van Den Brulle, Ghent University; Max-Arne Schnitt, Free University of Berlin; Daniel Cornelio Buldain, University of La Plata, La Plata Argentina; and Tian Xinrui, China Agricultural University, Beijing . The NMC Scholars program fosters the development of mastitis research and milk quality professionals from around the world.

NMC held its Third Annual Udderly Ridiculous 5K Fun Run/Walk. More than 60 people participated in this event. The run/walk, along with the silent auction, raised more than $7,000 – an all-time record – for the NMC Scholars fund.

During the NMC annual business meeting, members elected Christina Petersson-Wolfe, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va., to the NMC board of directors. Executive committee members are: Sarne De Vliegher, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium, president; Patrick Christian, Christian Hill Dairy, Mayville, Wis., first vice president; Linda Tikofsky, Boehringer Ingelheim, Trumansburg, N.Y., second vice president; Petersson-Wolfe, secretary-treasurer; and Jason Lombard, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, Colo., past president. Other board members include: Keith Engel, GEA, Madison, Wis.; Steve Lehman, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Novi, Mich.; Marcos Munoz, University of Concepcion, Chile; Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting LLC, Battle Creek, Mich.; Lowell “Jim” Davenport, Tollgate Holsteins, Ancramdale, N.Y.; Alfonso Lago, DairyExperts, Inc., Tulare, Calif.; Justine Britten, Udder Health Systems, Meridian, Idaho; Juan “Rodrigo” Pedraza, Zoetis, Lubbock, Texas; Brandon Treichler, Select Milk Producers, Canyon, Texas; and Elizabeth Berry, Animax, Hereford, United Kingdom. David Kelton, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., Canada, retired from the board.

NMC thanks its annual meeting sponsors who contributed to the program’s success. Diamond sponsors were Boehringer Ingelheim, GEA, Merck Animal Health and Zoetis. Platinum sponsors were DeLaval, Inc., Ecolab, Inc., Land O’Lakes, Inc. and PathogenDX. Gold sponsors included Alltech, Dairy Farmers of America, Kersia and Lely. Silver sponsors were ABS Global, Inc., Afimilk, Ambic Equipment Limited, BouMatic, Fight Bac/Deep Valley Farm, Inc., Michigan Milk Producers Association, Phibro Animal Health Corporation, PortaCheck, Inc. and Udder Tech. Southeast Milk Inc. sponsored this year’s milk breaks. The Udderly Ridiculous 5K Fun Run/Walk sponsors included Christian Hill Dairy, Gardner & Gardner Communications, Luck-E Holsteins, Rubes Cartoons and Udder Health Systems. In addition, Christian Hill Dairy, Luck-E Holsteins and Tollgate Holsteins joined the sponsor list as Dairy Partners.

The 60th NMC Annual Meeting is set for Jan. 25-28, 2021, in Dallas, Texas, USA. For additional information, go to: www.nmconline.org.

JoDee Sattler

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