National Mastitis Council (NMC) named Andrew (Andy) Johnson as the 2019 NMC Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control recipient. Affectionately referred to as “The Udder Doctor,” Johnson served as the 2003 NMC president. Johnson currently serves as the herd health and wellness veterinarian for Grande Cheese Company.
This award recognizes an NMC member who has provided sustained contributions to mastitis prevention and control through research, extension and/or education, clinical practice or service to dairy producers. Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors the award and presented Johnson with a $2,500 honorarium.
A popular milk quality and mammary health speaker, Johnson has presented practical and applied workshops and lectures in 45 states and 26 countries over his storied career. “His understanding of the dairy industry and ability to communicate directly with people in all facets of milk production, processing and marketing are critical keys to the impact he has had around the world,” said Joseph Hogan, The Ohio State University professor emeritus. “Andy is uniquely gifted by being able to convey key messages to help individuals improve dairy operations, whether those helpful talking points are one-on-one conversations delivered in a milking parlor or formal presentations given to hundreds in a lecture hall.”
As a testament to his influence on helping dairy producers market high-quality milk, several dairy producers who market their milk to Grande Cheese Company have been recognized in NMC’s National Dairy Quality Awards program, including two Platinum award winners this year. One of those winners, Jim Winn of Cottonwood Dairy LLC, South Wayne, Wis., said, “Initially, Dr. Andy helped us cut our somatic cell count (SCC) by half; but he said we could do even better.” One of Johnson’s recommendations was to take out the milking system’s back flush. “It was like turning on a light bulb,” said Winn. “After the first month, I saw a dramatic SCC drop and fewer cows with mastitis. Dr. Andy has proven to me why he is the ‘King’ of Milk Quality.”
Tom McClellan of McClellan Farms, Delavan, Wis., praises Johnson for his guidance in dairy herd management, milking procedures and protocols, equipment monitoring, employee education and barn design. “Our employees enjoy his quarterly visits because he always brings us a positive attitude and they want to do their best for him. McClellan Farms, a past NDQA Platinum winner, belongs to Johnson’s “100/100 Club,” which signifies more than 100 pounds of milk (per cow per day) and less than 100,000 cell/mL SCC. “I feel we are proof of Andy’s years of work and dedication to the dairy industry and quality milk production.”
A native of Canada, Gordon Spiers of Shiloh Dairy LLC, Brillion, Wis., first gained advice from Johnson in the early 1990s. Johnson spoke frequently at Canadian dairy events. “I always enjoyed his passion for producing quality milk,” said Spiers. Johnson helped Spiers design Shiloh Dairy’s milking parlor and freestall barn. “With Dr. J’s help, we achieved goals beyond our dreams.” When starting the new dairy, Spiers concentrated on testing for Staphylococcus aureus and Mycoplasma bovis, under Johnson’s guidance. Shiloh Dairy is also a past NDQA recipient.
An NMC member for 40-plus years, Johnson chaired the NMC Milking Machine Committee and co-authored the globally recognized standard for milking system functional analysis, “National Mastitis Council’s Airflow Guidelines for System Analysis.” In the early 1990s, he helped launch NMC’s highly successful short courses and continues to serve as an instructor.
A frequent contributor to peer-reviewed journals and dairy producer magazines, Johnson received several accolades from industry partners, including 1998 American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Practitioner of the Year, 1989 AABP Excellence in Preventative Medicine, 1994 Wisconsin Veterinarian of the Year and 2003 Merial and Dairy Quality Assurance Quality Veterinarian Award.
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.