WASHINGTON, December 21, 2020—The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is recognizing six federal policymakers whose work has positively impacted the trajectory of U.S. dairy. IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., recognized Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, Representative Jim Costa of California, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Lorren Walker, chief of staff, Office of the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA.

The annual recognition—the IDFA Leadership Award—is determined by IDFA, which represents more than 450 businesses throughout the dairy value chain from dairy cooperatives to processors and retailers. The IDFA Leadership Award is given to members of the U.S. Congress and the current Administration who have shown outstanding leadership and support to advance U.S. dairy.

“Dairy is so present and important to the wellbeing of Americans that it’s our duty to stop and give thanks to those whose leadership has contributed to a healthy dairy industry,” Dykes said. “Every day, more than three million people in the United States are employed because of dairy. Our industry generates $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact for communities across the country. Maintaining that sort of impact takes real champions, particularly in the nation’s capital. That’s why IDFA and our members are so pleased to honor these six individuals for their tremendous work and unparalleled efforts on behalf of U.S. dairy.”

This year, IDFA showed its appreciation to those who display outstanding leadership and support for the industry through their work on federal policy matters. The recipients are:

  • Senator Tina Smith (MN)
  • Senator Joni Ernst (IA)
  • Senator John Hoeven (ND)
  • Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16)
  • Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, USDA
  • Lorren Walker, Chief of Staff, Office of the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.

IDFA Staff Expert

Colin Newman

Director, Political Affairs and Strategic Programs

IDFA Media Contact

Andrew Jerome

Director, External and Member Communications