Specialized courses offer hands-on learning
Nearly 200 milk quality professionals from three countries and 18 states attended the National Mastitis Council (NMC) Regional Meeting, held June 29-30 in Appleton, Wis. The forum attracted dairy processors, veterinarians, dairy producers, researchers, milking equipment dealers, dairy suppliers and students.
"America's Dairyland is home to numerous milk quality experts and high quality milk producers. We showcased these industry leaders during the regional meeting," said Keith Engel, a 2016 program co-chair and NMC board member. "The engagement and enthusiasm to produce and market quality milk was incredible."
Attendees participated in a variety of specialized short courses that addressed milking system evaluations, on-farm milk culturing, employee training, analyzing dairy herd health records, designing dairy barns, monitoring milk quality counts and evaluating teat-end conditions. Numerous participants praised NMC and the short course instructors for providing the hands-on learning workshops.
Additionally, some registrants visited three dairy farms Brickstead Dairy, Greenleaf; Shiloh Dairy, Brillion; and Grand View Dairy, Brillion. A highly productive herd housed on sand in a naturally ventilated barn, Brickstead Dairy's beginnings trace back to the mid-1800s. Canada's milk quota system hampered business expansion, so Gordon and Cathy Speirs of Shiloh Dairy relocated and now milk 2,100 cows. Grand View Dairy, in the Schmidt family since 1917, uses composted solids for cattle bedding and a bedding recovery unit.
To kick off the general session, Jack Harkins of the Harkins Leadership Development Corporation, Portage, Wis., helped attendees understand what great organizations do right. He also shared common mistakes that leaders and organizations make encouraging attendees to not repeat these errors.
Other speakers addressed responsible antibiotic use, selective dry cow therapy, market cow food safety, stockmanship and consumer expectations. The food marketing panelists noted that consumers previously purchased food based on taste, price and convenience. Today, consumers also want transparency and health/wellness.
NMC thanks its regional meeting sponsors who contributed to the program's success. The Premier sponsor was Zoetis and the Platinum sponsor was Ecolab. Gold sponsors included Elanco Animal Health, Foremost Farms USA, GEA Farm Technologies, Inc. and Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Silver sponsors included Agropur Cheese, Alltech, Christian Hill Dairy, Mayville Animal Clinic and PortaCheck. Other sponsors included Grande Cheese, Dean Foods and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
The National Mastitis Council 56th Annual Meeting is scheduled for Jan. 29-31, 2017, in St. Pete Beach, Fla. Next year's NMC Regional Meeting will be held June 28-29, in Boise, Idaho.
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 about 1,000 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world.