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NMPF Powers World Dairy Summit Success; Vilsack Honors Mulhern

November 7, 2023

NMPF turned out in full force as a dairy industry leader at the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) World Dairy Summit in Chicago, with numerous speakers and a special recognition for President and CEO Jim Mulhern at the event Oct. 15-19.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack honored NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern for his “exemplary leadership and decades of service to the U.S. dairy community” during the summit’s first day, commending Mulhern for his four decades of professional service for agriculture and dairy.

This year’s summit, the first hosted in the United States in 30 years, was brought to Chicago in large part in large part due to NMPF, U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and Dairy Management Inc. leadership. Shawna Morris, NMPF and USDEC Executive Vice President for Trade Policy and Global Affairs and Nick Gardner, USDEC Senior Vice President for Sustainability and Multilateral Affairs, co-chaired the event. Together they oversaw the development of a conference that highlighted the U.S. dairy industry’s leadership on a variety of issues, including quality, sustainability, innovation, and more.

Jamie Jonker, Chief Science Officer and Vice President for Sustainability & Scientific Affairs, serves as IDF’s Chair of the Science and Program Coordination Committee and was prominently involved in multiple areas of the summit. DMI provided a Diamond level sponsorship to the summit to ensure it had sufficient funding to be successful. Numerous NMPF, USDEC and DMI staff contributed to the summit’s planning and execution.

NMPF and its members had a significant presence throughout the conference, including presentations delivered by Jonker as well as:

  • Jaime Castaneda, Executive Vice President for Policy Development and Strategy
  • Clay Detlefsen, Senior Vice President for Regulatory and Environmental Affairs
  • Karen Jordan, NMPF Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee Chairwoman and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Board member
  • Will Loux, Vice President of Global Economic Affairs
  • Lorilee Schultz, NMPF Young Cooperator Chairwoman and Prairie Farms member
  • Simon Vander Woude, NMPF First Vice Chairman and Chairman of California Dairies Inc. (CDI)
  • Jay Waldvogel and Brian Izdepski, Dairy Farmers of America staff

In addition, NMPF Senior Director of Communications and Outreach Theresa Sweeney-Murphy, organized the World Dairy Summit’s first-ever Young Farmer Roundtable, gathering two dozen next generation dairy farmer leaders from around the world, with producers representing the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Netherlands, United Kingdom and New Zealand. The National YC Program also hosted the first-of-its-kind young farmer session at the IDF World Dairy Summit in Chicago, IL on Oct. 18. Moderated by the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s Krysta Harden, 24 participants discussed the challenges—both shared and unique—that beginning farmers face around the world.

NMPF also sponsored the Oct. 15 U.S. reception at the summit, in collaboration with U.S.-IDF, USDEC, the American Dairy Products Institute and International Dairy Food Association.

The following NMPF members contributed dairy products to the summit’s dairy bar or evening receptions to ensure visitors from around the world tasted some of the United States’ award-winning dairy offerings: Agri-Mark, Dairy Farmers of America, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Land O’Lakes, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Prairie Farms Dairy and Tillamook.

Additionally, farmers belonging to NMPF members Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and Foremost Farms graciously welcomed visitors onto their farms as part of the official summit tours to offer a glimpse into how U.S. dairy farms operate. DFA also hosted Michigan tour participants at two processing facilities to showcase the high-quality production and innovative processing the U.S. has to offer. NMPF’s FARM team was deeply involved in organizing and executing summit tours.

NMPF members Associated Milk Producers Inc., DFA, California Dairies Inc., MMPA, and United Dairymen of Arizona helped make the summit possible through their sponsorship or exhibitor support.

To mark the summit’s close, IDF released a statement approved earlier in the week by the IDF General Assembly that delivered a unified message on how the global dairy sector is working to sustainably nourishing people while supporting planet health and communities.

“The IDF 2023 Summit statement lays out a robust roadmap for policymakers and organizations on how to meet and support the dairy sector’s level of critical contribution and ambition to an ever brighter tomorrow,” said Morris during remarks at the summit.