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VERONA, WI -- The National Mastitis Council regional meeting attracted nearly 200 dairy industry professionals to Syracuse, NY, last month. This annual event included professional development as well as tours of New York State dairy operations that exemplify the quality and variety of the U.S. dairy industry.

"This year's regional meeting was an excellent learning opportunity for dairy industry professionals and dairy producers who were interested in strengthening milk quality programs and increasing dairy profitability," says Anne Saeman, NMC's executive director.

Participants chose from nine specialized, interactive short courses this year in which they learned practical information to make improvements at their dairies including techniques for troubleshooting bacterial problems in milk, using on-farm bacterial culture systems and more. Two classes were taught in Spanish.

The main conference program covered a wide variety of topics ranging from managing milking centers to increase performance and designing pathogen-based treatment protocols. Participants joined in a panel discussion on the role of marketing cooperatives in maintaining milk quality. In addition to learning from experts during programs, producers and dairy consultants in attendance made use of professional networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities.

The event included tours of four farms in the state of New York, including Sunnyside Farms, Venice Center; Shepherd's Way Sheep and Goat Dairy, Locke; Hatfield Farm, Scipio Center; and Fessenden Dairy, King Ferry. Participants got first-hand looks at a 3,600-cow dairy with a 100-stall rotary parlor, a sheep and goat dairy milking approximately 750 ewes and 600 does, a 235-cow dairy with a robotic milking system and a sixth-generation family-owned dairy milking 600 cows three times per day in a double 14 parallel parlor. An evening reception was held at King Ferry Winery.

Feedback from this year's event included, "…great new material….combining lecture and hands-on teaching enhanced the understanding of the material….great to see everyone and nice to be an NMC member….very impressed; this was my first time at NMC…."

NMC thanks the regional meeting sponsors that contributed to the program's success. Platinum sponsors include Advanced Animal Diagnostics and Ecolab. Gold sponsors include Afimillk USA, Elanco Animal Health, IBA, Merck Animal Health, Northeast Dairy Producers Association and Upstate Niagara Cooperative. Silver sponsors include Holz-Nelson Dairy Consultants, Finger Lakes Dairy Service, Lely, PortaCheck, ProActive Solutions USA and WGCC Animal Health. Special thanks to Byrne Dairy for sponsoring the milk breaks and to Advanced Animal Diagnostics for sponsoring the reception.

Later this year, NMC will team up with the University of Minnesota for a dairy conference October 26-28 in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China. Conference topics will focus primarily on managing udder health and milk quality and safety. Other topics will include cow lameness and transition cow management. Meanwhile, make plans to attend the NMC 55th Annual Meeting Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. For additional information on all NMC events, go to: www.nmconline.org.

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 nearly 1,500 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

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