In January 2014, the USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) will launch its sixth national dairy study. NAHMS Dairy 2014 study will take an in-depth look at U.S. dairy operations, and provide the industry with new and valuable information regarding trends in the U.S. dairy industry from 1991 to 2014.

To collect the data for the study, representatives from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will visit selected dairy producers in 18 states, beginning in January 2014. NASS representatives will conduct personal interviews with all participating operations with 30 or more cows. Participating operations with fewer than 30 cows will be asked to complete a brief mail-in questionnaire.

For the study, NAHMS asked dairy producers, industry stakeholders, and government officials to provide input and define the information needs of the dairy industry. During this process, six study objectives were identified:

• Describe trends in dairy cattle health and management practices.
• Describe management practices and production measures related to animal welfare.
• Estimate the prevalence of lameness, and evaluate housing and management factors associated with lameness.
• Evaluate calf health from birth to weaning.
• Describe antibiotic use and residue prevention methods used to ensure milk and meat quality.
• Estimate the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance patterns of select foodborne pathogens.

Because NAHMS studies rely on voluntary participation, the privacy of every participant is protected. Only those collecting the data know the identity of the respondent. No name or contact information will be associated with individual data, and no data will be reported in a way that could reveal the identity of a participant. Data are presented only in an aggregate manner.
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