University of Kentucky Professor Emeritus Robert Harmon was named the sixth National Mastitis Council (NMC) Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control recipient. Harmon was the 1998 NMC president.
Former student Jeffrey Bewley, currently an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, presented the award to Harmon during the NMC Awards Luncheon, held Jan. 31, in conjunction with the group’s annual meeting in St. Pete Beach, Fla.
During his career, Harmon served on 27 NMC committees, including Somatic Cell Standards, BST-Mastitis Protocol for U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Teat Dip Protocols, Mastitis Research Priorities, NMC Pre-milking Protocols and Writing for Factors Affecting SCC in Milk. He published 68 peer-reviewed journal articles and gave 111 invited presentations on mastitis. He chaired the NMC Research Committee from 1983 through 1998.
Bewley described Harmon as “a tireless advocate of mastitis prevention practices.” Bewley added, “His 1994 Journal of Dairy Science manuscript, ‘Physiology of mastitis and factors affecting somatic cell counts (SCC),’ is considered a foundation reference for the field and has 782 citations.”
K. Larry Smith, The Ohio State University department of animal sciences professor emeritus, echoed the significance of this paper. “This paper has been an important component in the battle to reduce somatic cell counts (SCC) in U.S. dairy herds and to reduce SCC limits for acceptable milk. The paper puts to rest many of the false assumptions and impressions regarding the reasons for elevated SCC in the milk of dairy cows and was a valued resource for NMC when engaged in the battle to reduce SCC in U.S. dairy herds.”
Harmon’s teaching expertise extends beyond the classroom. According to Bewley, one of Harmon’s greatest attributes is helping individuals develop essential life skills. “Harmon was a rare faculty member because he understands that a major part of undergraduate education is people development,” Bewley wrote. “To this day, I rarely make a major life or career decision without a discussion with Dr. Harmon.”
Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors this award, which recognizes an NMC member for sustained contribution to mastitis prevention and control through research, extension or education, clinical practice or service to producers.
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.