IDFA is announcing today that former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will speak at Dairy Forum 2017 on Jan. 31 in Orlando, Fla. Vilsack, who has ended his eight years of service as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is moving to a career in dairy, will share his perspective on the major issues facing dairy and agriculture including trade agreements, immigration reform and the 2018 Farm Bill.

“I’ve known Tom Vilsack for many years and he is a terrific addition to the already stellar program for Dairy Forum 2017,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “He has been a tireless advocate for American agriculture and food systems and his insights on how to move forward in these changing times will be invaluable.”

Vilsack Moves Career to Dairy

Vilsack said he would continue a legacy in agriculture by moving into the dairy industry as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. In this new role, he will lead strategies and provide oversight of USDEC’s global promotion and research activities. He will also actively work with the USDEC board to create strategies and realize a shared vision for growing the global market for U.S. dairy.

Vilsack’s longtime agricultural leadership experience combined with his transition to his new role in the industry promise for a unique, timely and engaging discussion for attendees.

About Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack served as the Nation's 30th Secretary of Agriculture. As leader of the USDA, Vilsack worked hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for innovation in rural America. In eight years at the Department, Vilsack fought to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last. Under his leadership, USDA supported America's farmers, ranchers and growers who are driving the rural economy forward, provided food assistance to millions of Americans, carried out record conservation efforts, made record investments in our rural communities and helped provide a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply for the American people.

Vilsack was the longest-serving member of President Obama’s original Cabinet. Prior to his appointment, he served two terms as the Governor of Iowa, in the Iowa State Senate and as the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Vilsack received his bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College and his law degree from Albany Law School in New York. He has been honored for his public service and work to advance American agriculture by the Congressional Hunger Center, Global Child Nutrition Foundation, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, National Corn Growers Association, American Farmer Bureau and National Farmers Union.

Vilsack’s and other Dairy Forum 2017 sessions are covered in more detail at Dairy Forum 2017 and registration is available online.

Members with questions may contact Peggy Armstrong, IDFA vice president of communications at