Elizabeth Straw, Indiana State Dairy Association
There are 3 parts to all DHIR testing: a Service Affiliate (SA), a lab, and a processing center. The processing center calculates the records, the lab collects the data from the samples, and the SA works between the two and the farm to make sure everything goes smoothly. Normally a herd would choose the SA first however you could start with a lab first and work with whichever SA they tell you they work with. You used to be able to google Service Affiliate ADGA and the list would come up. I know they've been working on their website, it used to be https://adga.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/REGIONAL-AFFILIATES2021.pdf. Normally if the SA is willing to work with ADGA, they will work with MDGA, AGS, etc.
Each SA has a processing center that they work with along with a lab (sometimes more than one). We process records with Dairy Records Management Systems (DRMS) which has an office in Raleigh, NC, and Ames, IA. To my knowledge, DRMS does the bulk processing for dairy goat records.
Our organization sold our lab in 2015 and actually has contracts with 3 different labs depending on the herd's needs. For goat herds, we work with DHI Cooperative out of Ohio. They've provided the best services for our smaller herds. - Side note DHI Cooperative like some organizations is both a lab and an SA.
After a test day, your test papers go to your SA and your samples go to your lab. The SA will enter your raw data and "upload" the test to the server. From there your records are divided and go to two different places. The first is the processing center, they start their initial calculations such as days in milk, etc. The second place is that a "racking list" aka sample order is sent to the lab. The racking list is compared to your samples when they arrive to ensure that your samples are in the correct order as the computer thinks they are. If they aren't the lab will put them in order. This ensures that each animal's samples are accurately coded to the correct animal. While this may seem a bit silly, I've had herds that have samples 1-4 put their samples as 2, 1, 4, and 3 in the box - therefore it's important to make sure the order is correct with the computer file.
Once the samples arrive and are tested at the lab, they will create a file that has the results that correlate to each animal. This file is then sent back to the processing center to finish their final calculations. They will ensure there are no errors with the file and finish processing. The processed results are then available to the owner and the SA for download. Copies of the results are also uploaded to the Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding where breed associations like ADGA or MDGA can pull the records.