July 22 2016 06:00 AM

NDQA seeks to recognize quality milk producers.

As producers we can get caught in the rut of the day-to-day grind. We are doing things well, but sometimes it seems no one notices. It is days like that when a shot of motivation and confirmation endorses the fact that you are on the right path.

One such program is the National Dairy Quality Awards. It recognizes U.S. producers who make it a high priority to produce milk of the highest quality. The National Mastitis Council administers the program, but the winners have been featured in our Hoard's Dairyman Round Tables for decades.

Together with the National Mastitis Council, we ask allied industry representatives who work with dairy producers to nominate these top herds, whether they are consultants, veterinarian, cooperative field staff, or extension agents. Getting recognition for these milk suppliers assists in communicating the good work that producers do to harvest the highest quality product, but also the steps they take to achieve their goals. Not only does the producer get exposure, but the nominator's name and company is highlighted.

The form is a simple one-page application. It can be filled out on paper or online at www.nmconline.org/NDQA. The deadline is September 1, 2016.

Nominators will need to submit the applicant's dairy farm data including:
  • Total number of milking cows
  • Current rolling herd average
  • Fat and protein averages
  • Number of cases of clinical mastitis
  • Cull cow numbers within the last twelve months.
  • Bulk tank SCC and SCP measurements
  • Average somatic cell count within the last twelve months
Once all the applications are reviewed, the finalists will be notified, where they will be asked to work with their nominator to complete a more thorough application to select the platinum, gold and silver winners. This time, they will be evaluated for measures of quality, systems of monitoring udder health, milking routine, protocols for detection and treatment of clinical and subclinical cases, and strategies for overall herd health and welfare.

There are multiple winners at each level, but platinum award winners will receive national recognition and complimentary lodging, registration and a travel stipend to the 2017 National Mastitis Council annual meeting January 29 to 31, 2017, at the Trade Winds Island Grand, St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Make it a goal this year to nominate one of your clients for this honor. If you have any questions, call the National Mastitis Council at 952-758-2146.

The major sponsor of the National Dairy Quality Awards is Merial, with contributing support from Elanco, GEA, Ecolab, IBA, and Hoard's Dairyman.

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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.