Two June events offer different opportunities for processors

Dairy processors will have two reasons to visit the nation's capitol this June and there's still plenty of time to make plans.

First, from June 6-8, Washington D.C. will host the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association's Dairy-Deli-Bake 2004. Then, on June 23-24, the International Dairy Foods Association hosts its Washington Conference.

The theme of this year's Dairy-Deli-Bake is "A Monumental Experience." In addition to recognizing Washington's many U.S. monuments, the theme celebrates monuments from all around the globe. The city is the host to embassies from all over the world and adds to the country's melting pot of global culture, IDDBA says.

The IDDBA show brings buyers and sellers that focus on those areas that surround the center of the grocery store. These are the places where some of the most exiting innovations in the food industry are first introduced to consumers. This includes the deli cheese case, and the conference always attracts many of the top cheese manufacturers and marketers in the country.

The conference features a showcase of new products. Last year more than 800 new products were introduced at the conference.

There are also seminars on product trends, and inspirational keynote speakers including Cal Ripkin Jr., Erin Brockovich, and Dr. Phil McGraw.

"Driving Miss Dairy, Who's in the Drivers Seat?" Is a new program about the emerging importance of dairy in the grocery store environment. Panelists in the discussion include Michael Pellegrino of Kraft Cheese, Brad Flatoff of Sargento Foods, and Theresa Marquez of Organic Valley. Kevin Burkhum of Dairy Management Inc. will moderate. This pertinent session is scheduled for Sunday June 6 at 8 a.m., so don't be late.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board always has a big presence at Dairy-Deli-Bake and this year will be no exception. On Monday evening, June 7, the WMMB will host a Monumental Cheese Monday at the Sequoia Restaurant, on the banks of the Potomac River, in Georgetown.

Hotels with conference rates include the Grand Hyatt Washington which is four blocks from the convention center, the Renaissance Washington, the JW Marriott and others.

For more information and to register call 608/238-7908 or visit

If you are more interested in dairy policy than products, IDFA's Washington Conference is for you.

This one-of-a-kind event allows IDFA members to learn more about legislative and regulatory issues and to have a hand in the lobbying that's done to promote dairy industry interests.

Attendees can meet with key congressional legislators and find out the latest news from "the Hill." IDFA is based in Washington and facilitates meetings with congressman on the first day of the conference.

There are also educational sessions on key issues, and opportunities for interaction with IDFA staff.

But perhaps the best part of the conference is the Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party on the conference's second day.

Here IDFA staff , members and other volunteers host an old fashioned open-air ice cream social for congress members their staff and family. Members of IDFA's subsidiary International Ice Cream Association-among them some of the best ice cream manufacturers in North American-send hundreds of gallons of ice cream.

Last year more than 5,000 visitors sampled the goods. This will be the 22nd year of the Capitol Hill Ice Cream party. Of course there is plenty to do in Washington outside of the events. Improvements to the mall are progressing, and historic sites including the Lincoln Monument, the Capitol Building, and the Smithsonian Institute beckon. And, being that it will be baseball season, a trip to the ball park in Baltimore is not out of the question.

To find out more about registration, hotels and specific programs for IDFA's conference call 202/737-4332, or visit Registration is free for IDFA members.