WASHINGTON, February 23, 2021—Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement today on today's confirmation of Tom Vilsack to be the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

“The International Dairy Foods Association congratulates Mr. Vilsack on his confirmation to lead USDA as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. As Mr. Vilsack knows well, one-fifth of the nation’s economy is linked, either directly or indirectly, to the food and agriculture sectors, supporting more than 45 million jobs and trillions in wages. An experienced mayor, governor and two-term Agriculture Secretary in a previous administration, Mr. Vilsack has the knowledge and understanding to hit the ground running and make immediate progress on pressing issues facing food, agriculture and the rural economy. He has seen first-hand the pandemic’s impact on health and jobs, and we’re hopeful that with his guidance, we can continue to protect our essential workforce so they can feed our nation. To that point, the nation’s food security will be his top priority upon taking office, and IDFA offers our partnership in finding creative ways to reduce hunger and improve access to nutritious foods including dairy. On behalf of the men and women working across the dairy industry—from farms to processing facilities to retail and distribution hubs—IDFA looks forward to working with Mr. Vilsack and his team to make dairy central to solutions. Together, we can enhance economic progress for food producing communities and strengthen export opportunities, unleash innovation to safeguard our food and advance nutrition solutions, and create a more sustainable footprint for our food and agriculture sector.”

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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.