This year’s recipient of the National Mastitis Council Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control is Tom Herremans, of IBA Inc. The award is presented each year to an active NMC member for making a sustained contribution to mastitis prevention and control through research, extension, education, clinical practice or service to producers.
“Tom has always shown a great passion for mastitis management and prevention”, says Christina Dinsmoore of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “He has a teacher’s heart that he wears on his sleeve.”
Tom began his professional career as a vocational agriculture teacher in Capac, Michigan. A career change lead him to Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), where he spent 30 years working with individual dairy farmers on mastitis management, organizing member workshops, training field staff, writing educational articles, and developing training schools for milking staff. “The impressive quality milk levels produced by MMPA members are a direct reflection of Tom’s commitment to helping farmers produce the best quality milk possible”, adds Dinsmoore.
After retiring from MMPA in 2013, Tom began his current position with IBA Inc. as an Udder Health Management Consultant and Dairy Sanitation Specialist. Still living in Michigan, Tom’s work includes troubleshooting equipment cleaning, milking equipment performance, milking routines, providing training for milking staff and developing Somatic Cell Count reduction plans.
“Tom has developed and applied creative methods of education and outreach, including the application of milk bacteriology to problem solving, milking equipment evaluations and the assessment of milking hygiene and protocols”, says Ron Erskine, Michigan State University. “Tom is able to achieve educational success because he is a team builder, and his motivation and enthusiasm instill a desire for farm managers and employees alike to be part of a mastitis control team. His outreach efforts provide current information based on sound scientific principles, and yet, he distills the important messages into practical application on the farm.”
Tom’s outreach activities have gone beyond on-farm consultations and have included teaching veterinary and undergraduate students, employee milking training schools and involvement with local, national, and international organizations.
An active NMC member for many years, Tom has served on several committees, helped organize meetings, taught short courses, and served on the Board of Directors. He is a familiar face at NMC meetings, and is known for his energy, contagious enthusiasm, and genuine desire to improve milk quality for dairy producers and provide safe, wholesome dairy products to consumers.
The National Mastitis Council Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. The award is open to the global NMC membership.