National Mastitis Council (NMC) honored the U.S. dairy industry’s “best of the best” for producing quality milk at its Feb. 3 National Dairy Quality Awards (NDQA) program, held in conjunction with the NMC 61st Annual Meeting, held in San Diego.
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Four Wisconsin dairy farms were among six dairies earning a Platinum designation: Blue Star Dairy Middleton LLC (Art and Lori Meinholz), Middleton, Wis.; Country Aire Farms (Tom, Mike, Nick, Matt, Craig and Jon Gerrits), Kaukauna, Wis.; Dolph Dairy LLC (Don and Pat Dolph), Lake Mills, Wis.; and University of Wisconsin Marshfield Agricultural Research Station, Stratford, Wis.

In addition to the six Platinum winners, there were 21 Gold and 20 Silver NDQA winners. These farms were selected from 86 applications submitted for the 2021 awards. Farms were nominated by professionals, such as dairy plant field staff, veterinarians, extension specialists and Dairy Herd Improvement supervisors, who serve the dairy industry.

Wisconsin farms earning Gold Awards:

-Baier Creek Farms (Charlie, Rod, Trevor and Steve Baier), Elmwood,
-Christop Dairy (Neil Christianson), Shiocton,
-Dorner Farms (Cory and Maria Dorner), Luxemburg,
-Jauquet Hillview Dairy (Dave and Stacy Jauquet), Luxemburg,
-Kleinhans Dairy Farm (Michael Kleinhans), Kiel,
-Maly Farms (Butch and Ron Maly, and Alicia Sippl), Bryant,
-Seidl’s Mountain View Dairy (Al Seidl), Luxemburg,
-Theisen Family Farm (Jonathon Theisen), Campbellsport,
-Wenzel Hilltop Dairy LLC (Judy, Kevin and Jessica Wenzel), Hilbert.

Wisconsin farm earning Silver Award:

-Andy and Laura Hecht, Cumberland

NDQA judges considered many criteria when reviewing finalists’ applications. In addition to milk quality indicators, such as somatic cell count (SCC) and standard plate count (SPC), judges looked at specific details about each operation, including milking routine, cow comfort, udder health monitoring programs, prevention and treatment programs, strategies for overall herd health and welfare, and adherence to drug use and record keeping regulations.

As one generation of dairy farmers see retirement on the horizon, who are the next generation farmers taking over the responsibility of feeding the world?

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