Michael D. Dykes, D.V.M., the CEO-elect of IDFA, has spent his professional career leading and executing agricultural government affairs policies and strategies. He currently is working to effect a smooth transition and will assume the CEO role in January 2017, just in time for Dairy Forum.
Dairy Forum, now entering its 35th year, will be held Jan. 29-Feb.1 at the J.W. Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla. It will be the first opportunity for many in the industry to meet Dykes and experience firsthand his enthusiasm for dairy and its potential for growth. He also is scheduled to be the kick-off speaker on Monday morning, Jan. 30.
“I’ve been on board for a few weeks now and just finished my first round of member visits, including several great tours, in Wisconsin. I’ve also met with every member of the IDFA team as part of my 100-day plan,” Dykes said. “My ultimate goal is to visit as many people and companies as possible, but I won’t get to everyone before the new year. I’m looking forward to meeting many more members and working with other leaders in the dairy industry at Dairy Forum.”
No Stranger to Dairy
Dykes grew up on a small dairy and tobacco farm in Kentucky. He earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University and worked in a dairy veterinary practice for six years. 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.
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.
Throughout his career, Dykes has successfully navigated the complex challenges of the food and agriculture industry, with special emphasis on balancing the demands of innovation, time to market, sustainability, social responsibility and safety in a global market. He recognizes the importance of helping to shape public, political and regulatory opinion on a global platform and will guide IDFA’s ongoing efforts to develop successful approaches and initiatives for today’s competitive markets.
”I have spent my career working to find common ground across varied interests in the face of complex challenges,” said Dykes. “As a veterinarian and farmer, I am especially excited for the opportunity to lead such a well-respected dairy organization. All of us in the industry will be stronger when we work together, so I look forward to collaborating with members, staff and other leaders in the dairy industry to make a difference for dairy.”