making a difference for dairy

Subject Matter Experts

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Regulatory Affairs


Cary Frye

Cary P. Frye

Vice President, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs

With more than 35 years of experience in dairy product processing and quality assurance, Cary Frye represents member companies on food labeling and standards of identity, ingredient technologies, nutrition and health issues, and product safety. She coordinates the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) Medical Advisory Board and is responsible for the technical development and regulatory oversight of nutritional marketing programs and processor materials that incorporate breaking medical and nutritional research.

A member of the International Dairy Federation, Frye is the chair of US-IDF and is a member of the US-IDF Standing Committee on Food Labeling and Terminology. She has been active in international standards, advising U.S. delegations on Codex standards and as the head delegate for IDF at the Codex Committee on Food Labeling. 

Her work has been published in professional journals and textbooks, including "Dairy Processing and Quality Assurance" and "Manufacturing Yogurt and Fermented Milks," published by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. See LinkedIn profile.

John Allan

John T. Allan III

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and International Standards

John Allan directs all aspects of IDFA's food safety training initiatives, leads efforts related to product safety issues and has responsibilities in federal and state regulatory affairs. He engages on behalf of IDFA members with 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc., and the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS). Allan also helps represent IDFA’s international trade interests through his seat on the U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Trade Representative Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade of Processed Foods, as well as through engagement with the International Dairy Federation and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex).   

Prior to joining IDFA, Allan was the director of regulatory and international affairs for the National Yogurt Association, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and AFFI’s affiliated associations: the National Frozen Pizza Institute, Frozen Potato Products Institute and the Frozen Food Foundation.  

Allan also has regulatory and technical affairs experience in the infant formula industry and has worked for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization helping develop Codex international food standards.  He graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and a Master of Science in food science and technology. See LinkedIn profile

Emily Lyons

Emily R. Lyons

Director of Regulatory Affairs and Counsel  

Emily Lyons is responsible for working with members and government agencies on environmental, worker safety and sustainability issues, as well as food safety and food defense. She also serves as legal counsel on issues involving contracts, antitrust, and statutory and regulatory interpretation. 

Originally from a small dairy farm in Northern Illinois, Lyons has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences and a minor in Environmental Economics and Law from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She earned her law degree from Vermont Law School and is a licensed attorney in the District of Columbia and the State of Illinois.

Lyons has held a series of internships with agricultural organizations and companies. She also served as a summer associate with Brown, Hay & Stephens LLP in Springfield, Ill., where she managed complex environmental cases, and as a law clerk for Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC in Washington, D.C. See LinkedIn profile


Economic and Legislative Affairs


Ruth Saunders

Ruth D. Saunders

Vice President, Policy and Legislative Affairs

Ruth Saunders is responsible for managing IDFA's government affairs and promoting IDFA’s policy agenda in Washington. She joined IDFA in 2006, and has leveraged her knowledge of food and agriculture in strategic advocacy, issue analysis and communication, coalition building, and forging bipartisan relationships with policy makers and industry partners.

Saunders came to IDFA from the Office of Management and Budget, where she was a senior advisor on food and agriculture policy and fiscal issues for multiple USDA programs including dairy, food safety, marketing, and international trade. Before that, Saunders worked on Capitol Hill as a staff member for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. She also has prior experience in marketing research, food retail and nutrition education.

Saunders graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. degree in community nutrition at the University of California-Davis and holds an M.S. degree in agriculture economics from Cornell University. See LinkedIn profile.

Bob Yonkers

Robert Dean Yonkers, Ph.D.

Vice President and Chief Economist

Bob Yonkers oversees the research and analysis of the economic impact of marketing conditions, government regulations and alternative policies on the U.S. and international dairy industries. Before joining IDFA in 1998, Yonkers was a tenured faculty member at The Pennsylvania State University, where he conducted research and developed educational programs on the profitability and economic sustainability of the state's milk producing, marketing and processing sectors.

Yonkers has served on the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service since 2010 and is an active member of the International Dairy Federation's Standing Committee on Dairy Policies and Economics. See LinkedIn profile.

Ashley Burch

Ashley Burch

Director of Political Programs

Ashley Burch is IDFA’s director of political programs. She is responsible for all of IDFA’s political involvement programs, including Ice Cream, Milk & Cheese PAC, the GrassRoots Action Network for Dairy (GRAND) and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) activities. She also oversees Advocacy Days, IDFA’s annual legislative fly-in.

Burch joined IDFA in 2006 from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, where she managed the daily operations of the lodging industry’s largest political action committee. She was also responsible for federal and state grassroots outreach and coordination of the industry fly-in.  

Before that, Burch served in a similar role for the National Propane Gas Association. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. See LinkedIn profile.


International Affairs


Beth Hughes

Beth Hughes

Director of International Affairs

Beth Hughes is responsible for supporting the association's efforts on international trade and import and export issues. She also oversees IDFA's sweetener and trade committees, as well as programming for the annual International Sweetener Colloquium. In collaboration with other dairy and food industry associations, Hughes has worked with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to promote and protect U.S. dairy interests in free trade agreements and held briefings on Capitol Hill about the importance of preserving the use of common food names.

Before joining IDFA, Hughes served for five years as manager of international policy for the USA Rice Federation. She developed and implemented international trade policy and promotion activities to support the U.S. rice industry and help small- and medium-sized U.S. enterprises in overseas export markets. She also analyzed domestic and international rice trends and prepared comments relating to non-tariff and technical barriers, such as sanitary and phytosanitary barriers.

Hughes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at George Washington University and received a Master of Arts in international affairs from Florida State University. See LinkedIn profile.