making a difference for dairy

Executive Team

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Connie Tipton

Connie Tipton

President and CEO

In January 2004, Connie Tipton was appointed president & CEO of IDFA, representing the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers.

As a senior executive of IDFA for 35 years, Tipton has held a leadership role in virtually all areas of the association, including legislative and international affairs, economic policy analysis, public relations, marketing, education and training, and trade shows. She helped to launch the annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party and encouraged legislation that created the famous "Milk Mustache" campaign. Tipton also led successful legislative campaigns to lessen government involvement in regulations that reduce dairy product marketability.

Tipton is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and serves on the boards of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, the Capitol Hill Day School and the Bryce Harlow Foundation, a group that provides scholarships and leadership in professional advocacy.

The Bryce Harlow Foundation honored Tipton with its prestigious 2014 Business-Government Relations Award for her “significant contributions to the advocacy profession through a lifelong career as an exemplary role model.” In 2009, Tipton was honored by Association Trends magazine as the Association Executive of the Year, and she was also selected by Capitol Hill publications as one of the top trade association lobbyists in 2002. In September of 2011, Tipton was selected as a “Top Association CEO” by CEO Update. See LinkedIn profile.

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Michael Dykes

Executive Vice President

Michael D. Dykes, D.V.M., was selected in August to replace Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA, who is retiring at the end of the year. Dykes, who has spent his professional career leading and executing agricultural government affairs policies and strategies, is working in transition with Tipton and will assume the role of president and CEO in January 2017.

For the past 19 years, Dykes served as vice president of government affairs for Monsanto, where he was responsible for developing and implementing a portfolio of U.S. government relations strategies and programs that included agricultural biotechnology policy. He led Monsanto’s office in Washington, D.C., and served as the company’s primary point of contact for elected officials, regulatory authorities, U.S. farm organizations, key industry participants, trade associations, international organizations and embassies. He directed the company’s efforts in state and local government affairs, in addition to government affairs in Mexico and Canada.

Dykes is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Academy of Practitioners, an interdisciplinary organization of health care practitioners and scholars. He also was a member of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, and he served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture.

Dykes grew up on a small dairy and tobacco farm in Kentucky. He earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University. He also attended the University of Kentucky where he received a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. See LinkedIn profile.

(202) 220-3539 |

Clay Hough

Clayton L. Hough

Senior Group Vice President and General Counsel

Clay Hough oversees IDFA's international trade, regulatory and scientific affairs, and serves as general counsel. He helps develop regulatory strategies and association policies in such areas as biosecurity, food safety, federal standards of identity, nutrition guidance, labeling and biotechnology. In addition, he serves as the primary contact on international trade issues and manages the association's legal affairs. Hough also is responsible for the Membership and Meetings and Educational Services departments. 

Prior to joining IDFA, Hough was an associate and partner for 13 years in the public policy practice group at the law firm of Patton Boggs LLP, where he specialized in commodity and trade policy. While at Patton Boggs, he established strong relationships with federal agencies and Congress during his work on the federal sugar program, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and dairy import rules. Before joining Patton Boggs, Hough worked for two members in Congress. See LinkedIn Profile.

Dave Carlin

J. David Carlin

Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Economic Policy

J. David Carlin leads the association's legislative, political and economic policy activities. He was a partner with the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP until joining IDFA and has extensive experience in food and agriculture policy. Carlin has represented numerous food and agricultural companies, cooperatives and trade associations before the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Carlin joined Akin Gump in 1988. In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed him to serve as Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations under Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman at USDA. As head of the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, Carlin served as the primary USDA liaison with Congress and the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He returned to Akin Gump in 1998 to focus his practice on public law and policy matters. His interest in agricultural and public policy began on the family dairy farm founded by his grandfather in 1940. See LinkedIn profile.

Neil Moran

Neil Moran

Senior Vice President, Finance, Administration & Trade Show

Moran directs the association's financial and accounting activities, as well as those related to human resources, information technology, administration and the biennial trade show.

Prior to joining IDFA, Moran served as chief financial officer for the National Capital Revitalization Corporation and for the RLA Revitalization Corporation, where he provided financial guidance relating to valuation, pricing and modeling of the corporations’ real estate development projects. Before that, Moran served as vice president of finance and CFO for Black's Guide, Inc., a commercial real estate information service, where he guided the company through the acquisition phase, as well as its subsequent sale. As CFO and director of finance and administration for the National Center on Education and the Economy, Moran was responsible for all financial and administrative functions.

Moran also served as the CFO for the Drug Policy Foundation, vice president of finance and administration for Sky Courier Network, and as vice president of finance for the Aeromaritime Group. After graduating from Georgetown University, he began his career in the Washington, D.C., office of PricewaterhouseCoopers.