NMC program honors producers who best exemplify quality milk production.

The National Mastitis Council’s (NMC) National Dairy Quality Award (NDQA) nominations are being accepted through Sept. 1. Coordinated by NMC, the NDQA program recognizes U.S. dairy producers who market milk with a low somatic cell count (SCC) and low standard plate count (SPC). Additionally, judges evaluate 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.

Dairy industry professionals, including veterinarians, extension agents, plant and co-op field staff, and consultants, are encouraged to nominate dairy producers. To nominate a dairy producer, complete the online nomination form found at: www.nmconline.org/ndqa. Dairy producers cannot nominate themselves or their peers.

The nomination form asks questions regarding herd size, rolling herd average, DHI testing, SCC and SPC averages, bulk tank SCC and SPC testing frequency, clinical mastitis incidence, culling data and cow deaths. Milk quality numbers are based on the 12-month period June 1, 2015-May 31, 2016.

Judges will select approximately 50 finalists from the NDQA nominees. The finalists, along with their nominator, will complete a more detailed final application. From the finalists, judges will rank the dairy operations as Platinum, Gold or Silver. The Platinum winners receive national recognition and complimentary lodging, registration and a travel stipend to the National Mastitis Council 56th Annual Meeting, January 29-31, 2017, at the Trade Winds Island Grand, St. Pete Beach, Fla.

This year's NDQA sponsors include Merial, GEA Farm Technologies, Ecolab, IBA Inc., Elanco, Hoard's Dairyman and National Mastitis Council.

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.