I attended my first Dairy Forum last year after being at the helm of IDFA for a little more than three months. At that time, I introduced myself and my plan of action for 2017. With 12 more months under my belt, I’m pleased to say I have many positive stories and successes to share, along with a more informed view of what the future of dairy could be.
When I joined IDFA, my efforts focused initially on the IDFA team, because I believe the association’s success starts with us having the “A” team in place to deliver results for members and the industry. I’m pleased to say that today we have that team in place – you’ll see many familiar faces and a few new ones here today – and we expect to add more depth to our bench in the coming year.
I then made it a priority to visit and talk with as many IDFA members and dairy industry leaders as I could fit into my schedule. I’ve had conversations with executives from 58 member dairy companies and co-ops, suppliers and retailers, as well as dairy farmers, academics, dairy economists and leaders of the major U.S. dairy organizations. For a global perspective, IDFA senior staff members and I traveled last fall to Belfast for the World Dairy Summit to share our view of U.S. dairy’s opportunities and challenges and to hear from our international counterparts.
After all these meetings, I still firmly believe in that we have an overwhelming majority of interests in common – at least 90 percent, which is an incredibly positive number. Focusing and working on these interests together, whenever possible, is still the most effective way to enhance growth and prosperity in the dairy industry.
"Building Demand and Opening Markets" was the topic of my presentation at Dairy Forum 2018, and if you weren't able to attend, I invite you to watch my presentation on demand at Broadcast Live or read my remarks here. As a teaser, I can tell you what I told the audience of more than 1,000 dairy leaders who gathered to discuss shaping the future of dairy: "What got us here today won't get us there tomorrow." But focusing our efforts on three key areas -- consumers, innovation and changing markets -- and working collaboratively will pay big dividends in the next 12 months.
Michael Dykes, D.V.M.
President and CEO