Readers critical of SCC decision

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On Friday, Dairy Herd Network asked how you felt about the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments decision last week not to lower that national standard for somatic cell counts (SCC) to 400,000 cells per ml.

Apparently that decision didn’t sit well with many of you. By a nearly three-to-one margin, respondents to this non-scientific poll said that they did not support the choice to leave national standards where they are.

Seventy-four percent said they did not support the NCIMS action, while 26 percent said they supported the decision. Two percent of respondents said they were not sure.

Reader comments were considerably more pointed.

For instance, a Michigan reader (with support from a reader in Vermont) suggested that “The U.S. dairy industry has just lost an opportunity to shore-up our critical dairy product export market. Lowering the SCC maximum to 400,000 would have sent a strong message to our dairy export partners that the U.S. takes this market seriously.”

For more reader reaction, check out the comments section to “Proposed changes to SCC regulations defeated”.

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John Wenz    
WA  |  May, 10, 2011 at 11:26 AM

How many respondents?

Megan Pierce    
May, 10, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Hi John, We've had more than 200 survey respondents so far. Let me know if you need more detail! Thanks! Megan

Dr. Roger Mellenberger    
Dousman, WI  |  May, 10, 2011 at 12:28 PM

I worked as a Dairy Extension Specialist for 30 years at Michigan State University. My prinary goal was to assist dairy farmers and dairy industry in the production of high quality milk. We succeeded in Michigan as noted by the average SCC for Michigan dairy farmers in 2010. We had fought for years and years to convince the IMS Conference attendees to lower the legal SCC to 400,000. However, once again the IMS attendees stuck their heads in the sand and failed to see the importance of getting in step with the international dairy community. The IMS Conference said to U.S. dairy farmers we think you are incapable of producing high quality milk. I just don't understand who these people are and why they are putting the U.S. dairy industry at a disadvantage. I cannot think of one reason for not decreasing the legal SCC to 400,000 and that includes the southern U.S. dairy industry.

Craig Thomas    
Michigan  |  May, 10, 2011 at 08:45 PM

Roger, Thanks for the comment and I couldn't agree more. However, I believe the co-ops are taking the bull by the horns, or better yet, the cow by the udder by stiffening penalties for milk above 400K SCC. Hence, entire milk sheds and supply chains will be able to differentiate themselves and capture international markets by certifying they meet these standards. Co-ops/processors who do so will remain in the game despite NCIMS's refusal to enter the 21st century.

Peter K.    
Idaho  |  May, 10, 2011 at 08:59 PM

Those people that made the decision "for us" need to be fired. If we as an industry aren't striving for improvement we are stagnating, if we are stagnant we aren't progressing, if we aren't progressing we are falling behind. People without a progressive stance in the dairy industry have forgotten that it's a business and we need to produce the best product possible for our customers. Therefore, these people (our "employees" or elected persons) need to do what we ask them to do or risk being "fired". I say fire them.

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