DFA Daily Recap: Advancing Dairy On Capitol Hill Panel

Moderated by DFA Senior Vice President of Industry and Legislative Affairs Jackie Klippenstein, this panel brought together leaders of three key industry organizations to discuss current policies and issues moving on Capitol Hill and beyond.


This presentation served as the official introduction of DFA’s new legislative initiative, DFA Advancing Dairy Association. Jackie teed up the new initiative saying, “It takes all of us engaging to make a difference.”

The panelists included Chuck Conner, president and chief executive officer of National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC); Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and chief executive officer of International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA); and Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Addressing members and staff in attendance, the panelists explained each of their organization’s role in the U.S. dairy industry and how their work is done on behalf of farmer-members.

“When we get this group [U.S. dairy farmers] to speak with one voice, we can be almost unbeatable,” said Chuck. “Just like this new DFA legislative initiative aims to be.”

These panelists discussed past, current and future efforts on dairy policy in Washington, D.C. Updates were provided in the Section 199 deduction, the upcoming farm bill, tax reform, immigration and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Jim took a moment to commend the unity of industry organizations and the shared voice and collaboration between IDFA, NCFC, NMPF and other similar trade associations. “I’m proud of how much our different organizations have come together to work on your [dairy farmers] behalf,” said Jim.

No matter the issue, each leader is dedicated to telling the dairy story and finding ways to improve the future of the dairy industry.

“When dairy processors, farmers and industry organizations work together, we are able to make the industry better,” Michael said.

Another way these organizations, and many others, are coming together to promote dairy is through initiatives like the Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act (the DAIRY PRIDE Act) and the campaign, Peel Back the Label. Initiatives like these help promote the integrity of dairy and the products we produce. Jim said that, from imitation products to labeling requirements to addressing fear-based marketing, it’s vital the industry has a united voice and takes a stand.

Jim concluded saying, “This is one of the challenges we’re facing, and we’re not going to rest until it’s done.”