Patrick Criteser, president and CEO at Tillamook County Creamery Association, sat down with Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA, to discuss Tillamook's history of innovation, meeting consumer preferences, and achieving stewardship goals in this episode of Dairy Innovator Dialogues.

Tillamook County Creamery Association is a dairy cooperative founded in 1909 in Tillamook County, Oregon.

Criteser spoke to dairy's importance to farm families and communities in northwest Oregon.

"Dairy has been a big part of this region for 150 years, 170 years. To have owners of a business that I'm working for, to serve them in growing this business, that are thinking not just quarterly or even annually but based on generations, it's really an advantage for us, I think, as we compete in the marketplace."

- Patrick Criteser, president and CEO, Tillamook County Creamery Association

Criteser said Tillamook has 700 employees in their Tillamook County headquarters, and the business takes its commitment to critical issues facing the community seriously.

"We're looking for ways to serve as thought leaders and conveners around the critical issues facing the community. So for example, the shortage of affordable housing here in the community, the shortage of early childcare options here in this community, food insecurity in the community, how we support healthful children and do agricultural advocacy in this community where agriculture is such an important aspect."

- Patrick Criteser, president and CEO, Tillamook County Creamery Association

Criteser said dairy is well positioned to take advantage of several consumer trends, in particular health and sustanability.

"Dairy is a great source of protein, a great source of healthy fat, and something that can taste fantastic...(We're also) well positioned to serve around sustainability, and consumers expectations of products and companies, as it relates to transparency, as it relates to impact on the environment and communities, and every other constituency or stakeholder that the business is affecting."

- Patrick Criteser, president and CEO, Tillamook County Creamery Association

Criteser said Tillamook participates in the FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program, and takes additional steps to demonstrate farmers' commitment to their animals.

"Coming in new to the dairy industry, I have been so impressed with how the producers treat their animals, and the genuine care and investment that they make in ensuring that their animals are healthful and comfortable."

- Patrick Criteser, president and CEO, Tillamook County Creamery Association

Criteser said that while Tillamook still produces the same high-quality cheese they were making 100 years ago, they are constantly changing the way they attract and engage the people that they have working for them.

"We spend a lot of time creating clarity around what our mission is, who we're serving, how we're serving those key stakeholders. And then creating an environment that's supportive in a way that allows people of different backgrounds, different perspectives, to bring all of their best talent, their best ideas, their creativity, encourages people to lean into the work that we're doing in a way that provides us with a more diverse set of perspectives."

- Patrick Criteser, president and CEO, Tillamook County Creamery Association

Dairy Innovator Dialogues is a video and multimedia series presented by IDFA that goes behind the scenes with today‚Äôs most innovative dairy leaders and companies. View more from this series at idfa.org/dairyinnovates.