Join milk quality specialists from around the world for the National Mastitis Council (NMC) 56th Annual Meeting, scheduled for Jan. 28-31, 2017, at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach, Fla. This year’s meeting kicks off a day earlier than usual with the new hands-on training workshops, which give students opportunities to evaluate milking systems, identify critical control points and troubleshoot problems with a mobile milking parlor. Besides the three Saturday workshops, the conference, Sunday through Tuesday, offers 12 short courses, three general sessions and the featured symposium.“We’re excited to offer a program that brings NMC members back to their roots and help them explore the evolving meaning of milk quality,” says Mario Lopez, NMC first vice president and annual meeting program chair, and DeLaval technology manager milk quality animal health. “We’ll also learn about connecting and communicating with consumers. Our science is outstanding, but we live in a time where science is trumped by emotions. We need to better understand what drives consumers’ milk quality questions so we can connect and communicate effectively – beyond the technical aspects of our jobs and science.”NMC Annual Meeting registration is now open and milk quality specialists, veterinarians, milk plant field staff, dairy suppliers, dairy producers, university researchers, extension specialists and students are all invited to attend. Due to limited enrollment, the short courses typically fill up before the pre-registration deadline. Thus, those interested in short courses – and the new hands-on training workshops – are encouraged to register early. The early registration deadline is Jan. 6, 2017. Registration fees increase $35 per attendee starting Jan. 7, 2017. Pre-registrations are accepted through Jan. 19, 2017. After that date, individuals must register at the meeting. A complete agenda and list of workshops and short courses can be found online at: http://meeting.nmconline.org. Other highlights of the upcoming meeting include a silent auction, which supports professional development efforts, and recognition of the National Dairy Quality Award winners, NMC Award of Excellence for Mastitis Prevention and Control recipient, and NMC Scholars.