The First Twenty-Five Years, 1970 - 1994

The Northeast Dairy Practices Council was founded April 21, 1970, as an outgrowth of the Farm Practices Committee of the New York State Association of Milk and Food Sanitarians.  Chaired by Dr. Robert Metzger with Dick March as secretary, the Farm Practices Committee was part of the New York Association, but functioned mainly as a northeast committee and seldom met in New York.  The Farm Practices Committee meetings were held at the Old Newgate Coon Club in Norfolk, Connecticut, the Texas Block House in Buttonwood, Pennsylvania, at Hogback Mountain near Brattleboro, Vermont, and once at High Point Park, New Jersey.  Since most of the topics considered by the Farm Practices Committee were of concern to the entire northeastern region it gradually became apparent to Dick March that it would be best if the committee were to exist independently from the New York Association.  The Executive Board of the New York Association concurred and established their own Farm Methods Committee to deal specifically with instate problems, and they appointed board member Dick March to take the initiative in calling together representatives from the northeastern states to explore possibilities of forming a northeastern regional committee to replace the old Farm Practices Committee.

The exploratory meeting for the proposed northeast committee was held on January 27-28, 1970 at the Old Newgate Coon Club, Norfolk, Connecticut, with 16 people in attendance.  The decision was made to form a northeast organization and to name it the Northeast Dairy Practices Committee.  It was agreed that the organization not be limited in scope to dealing just with farm topics.  A second meeting was held April 21-22, 1970 at the same location with 42 people present representing seven states; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont; and also Region II of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS). A constitution was approved, officers, steering committee members, and task force chairmen were appointed.  The constitution was drafted by Wendell I. Carr, Vermont Department of Agriculture; G. William (Bill) Fouse, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Richard P. March, Cornell University; W.Y. Perez, New York State Department of Health; Don H. Race, Dairylea; and Robert L. Sanders, USPHS.

The officers elected for the new organization were Richard P. March, Cornell University, Chairman; Wendell I. Carr (VT), Vice Chairman; and Robert L. Sanders (USPHS), Secretary.  The Steering Committee included representatives from regulatory, industry and education.  Representing Regulatory were Claude H. Colvin, NY, State Health Department; Richard M. Parry, DVM, CT, State Department of Agriculture; and Richard J. Weaver, PA, Local Health Department.  Representing Industry were Dr. Charles W. Livak, PA, Processors; Fred E. Uetz, NY, Services; and Russell Weinhold, MA, Producers.  Representing Education were Dr. Henry Atherton, VT, Processing; Robert G. Light, MA, Engineering; and Dr. Roger Natzke, NY, Production.

Five Task Forces were established and chairmen appointed as follows:   I.  Building and Utilities, Rodney O. Martin, Agway, Inc.; II.  Equipment, Stephen B. Spencer, Penn State University; III.  Quality Assurance, Dr. Charles W. Livak, Penn Dairies; IV.  Communication & Uniformity, Robert L. Sanders, USPHS; V. Cleaning and Sanitizing, Professor David A. Evans, University of Massachusetts.

The states included as members were Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.  Four additional states became members; West Virginia in 1976, Virginia in 1978, and Ohio and Kentucky in 1988.

During the first 25 years there were many accomplishments and a number of ways in which the Northeast Dairy Practices Council helped the dairy industry.
  • It provided the opportunity for industry, educational and regulatory personnel to work together for mutual benefit.
  • It made available uniform information on milk sanitation and quality agreeable to industry, university and government personnel.
  • It provided more comprehensive and up-to-date information than could be produced by any one state, company or agency.
  • It gave everyone an equal opportunity for input in guideline development.
  • It dealt with topics of immediate concern to the industry.

Following are some examples:

1. The first guideline was on free stall housing and provided much needed specific details of common interest to the producer, the inspector, the cooperative extension agent and the builder. 

2. Information on changes in laboratory testing methods or changes in sanitary regulation at the federal level may move quickly among the personnel working closest with the subject matter, but filter down slowly to the people at the bottom.  NDPC quickly gets this information to all its members through guideline supplements or updated guidelines.

3. The guideline on Antibiotics first written in 1976 had been revised four times to keep up-to-date on this important matter.

4. Twelve different guidelines had been written concerning manure management, and still more revisions are necessary to keep current with the latest developments.  In 1983 when gravity flow gutters for manure removal in milking barns was an unresolved topic at the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), the Farm Buildings and Equipment Task Force developed a guideline, which was approved at the next meeting of the NCIMS and then published in the FDA Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO).

5. When Stray Voltage became a concern on dairy farms the Farm Buildings and Equipment Task Force developed a guideline on this subject and it is currently being revised.

6. When there was a flurry of milk borne outbreaks in 1985-86 across the nation, the Communications & Uniformity Task Force was prompt to prepare a guideline entitled Emergency Action Plan for Outbreak of Milkborne Illness in the Northeast.  The Quality Assurance Task Force produced a useful guideline on Plant Sanitation and the Plant Equipment and Procedures Task Force published a Guideline on Dairy Plant Safety Relating to Pathogenic Bacteria.  This latter Task Force began working on guidelines on environmental sampling in dairy plants and on dairy plant ventilation.

7. In 1985 when the Northeast Regional Council, a federally sponsored program, was working on a project focusing on the dairy industry toward the year 2005, they discovered that NDPC had already produced guidelines concerning milk quality, sanitation and uniformity of regulations for the northeast dairy industry.

The Council had distributed guidelines primarily in the Northeast, however, they were requested from locations all over the world.  In the late 1980's national recognition also came from another source.  The work of the Dairy Practices Council was recognized by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments when Guideline #45, “Gravity Flow Gutters for Manure Removal in Milking Barns” was adopted as an Appendix for the Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance.  In 1991 the Council submitted another proposal to the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments, which reduced the Somatic Cell Count standards from 1,000,000 to 750,000.  In 1993 the Council submitted still another proposal to set standards for Vitamin Fortification of Fluid Milk.  This resulted in Guideline #53, “Vitamin Fortification of Fluid Milk,” becoming part of the Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance as Appendix O.  In 1999 DPC Guideline #18 and the DPC address were listed in the PMO as a reference for somatic cell counts.

1970  - 1990

A  heartfelt thanks to Cornell Professor Dick March for his wisdom in forming the Northeast Dairy Practices Council.  His foresight brought forth the formation and the goals and objectives that are in place today.  His outstanding leadership for twenty-one years brought the Council from its formation to an organization internationally recognized for its contribution to the dairy industry through educational guidelines.

Dick March, and the numerous people representing education, industry, and milk regulatory agencies over two decades, provided a solid operational foundation, developed a highly respected library of Guidelines, and played a key role in promoting the adoption of uniform laws, rules, and regulations governing milk and dairy products by official agencies in the Northeast.

At the end of 1990, Dick March retired as Executive Vice President, having served the Council with outstanding leadership for 21 years.  At the 21st Annual Meeting, attendees bid farewell to Dick and Barbara March and thanked them for the very special attention they had given to the dairy industry throughout the years and for the foresight in forming the Northeast Dairy Practices Council.

1991 - 1994

Thanks also to Dr. Gil Porter for four years of excellent leadership. Dr. Porter, formerly Vice President of R&D with Agway, Inc., commenced as Executive Vice President in January of 1991 and moved the DPC office from Cornell to Syracuse.  Gil’s seemingly endless energy for moving forward with his endeavors, coupled with his professional conduct and articulation,  kept The Council technically sound and moving forward at a good rate of growth.

Gil hired Pat Delledera as an employee of the DPC office. He led the Council well on its continued path of expansion and recognition.  Early in his tenure, he initiated a campaign to bring into NDPC more sustaining members and he began the Silver Eagle Program.  Any member who brought a new sustaining member into DPC was awarded an Eagle Silver Dollar mounted in a wooden case prepared by Gil.  The presentations were made at the Annual Conference during the Awards Luncheon. From 1991 through March of 1994, sustaining memberships increased from 62 to 86 – nearly a 40% gain. During 1991, he successfully completed a contract with HOARD’S DAIRYMAN to distribute NDPC guidelines. HOARD’S DAIRYMAN marketed sets of dairy farm related guidelines.  In early 1994, a contract was finalized with the International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians (IAMFES).  IAMFES marketed the complete library of NDPC guidelines called the 3-volume Complete Set.

The contracts he secured with Hoard's Dairyman and IAMFES to market Guidelines raised national awareness of DPC and paved the way for expansion into a national organization. Gil retired from DPC in December 1994.