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.