No matter where they are located or what size farms they have, dairy owners around the world are increasingly speaking the same language: higher milk quality.

This universal translation was never more clear than last week at the 49th annual meeting of NMC (formerly the National Mastitis Council) in Albuquerque, N.M., February 1 to 3. Of the 275 milk producers, veterinarians, scientists, and industry professionals who attended, 20 percent came from over a dozen foreign countries. Of NMC's total membership, 25 percent is located outside of the U.S.

The event was once again a celebration of superior milk quality. Seminars and presentations from both scientists and dairy owners focused on the technology, biology, and practicality of producing low-somatic-cell-count milk. Speakers came from the U.S., The Netherlands, Great Britain, Mexico, and Canada.

Management excellence on farms was recognized through the presentation of National Dairy Quality Awards to 46 dairies across the U.S., including the seven Platinum Award winners pictured here. Academic excellence was honored in the form of NMC Student Recognition Awards presented to four university students from the U.S., Ireland, and Brazil.

So great has been the international enthusiasm and support for NMC that it is perhaps time to seriously consider changing the "N" part of NMC's name. We propose either IMC (for International Mastitis Council) or QMC (for Quality Milk Council). And as long as we're at it, here's a prediction: We think it's only a matter of time before the rapidly growing international participation in NMC eventually leads to an annual meeting being held outside of the U.S. The top destination possibilities on our list include Canada, England, Germany, The Netherlands, Brazil, and Argentina.