In her keynote speech at Dairy Forum 2010, Connie Tipton, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, called for industry involvement, innovation and unity as the best ways to combat a sluggish economy and unleash the industry's potential for growth and success. Tipton addressed a record crowd of dairy producers, processors, suppliers and other industry participants gathered at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix this week for the 25th annual Dairy Forum.
Touching first on the dramatic changes emerging from the
Obama administration and Congress, Tipton warned that a flood of new
regulations, taxes and mandates may soon become laws of the land. From healthcare
to food safety, nutrition to cap-and-trade, the industry needs to oppose
unnecessary regulations or unjustified fees that will add costs to production
without providing benefits to dairy consumers, she said.
"There are businesses and industries that simply cannot
weather additional costs in an increasingly competitive and regulated
marketplace," Tipton said. "Our industry is not immune to these
risks. So we have a real stake in what comes out of this very political process
also pointed out that the past year of "devastating milk prices,"
dropping export levels and consumer belt tightening clearly showed that the
"so-called safety net programs for our dairymen" don't work in
today's market economy.
She offered highlights from a comprehensive plan for
reformatting dairy policies and programs put forth by Jerry Kozak, president of
the National Milk Producers Federation. Acknowledging that the plan would
affect different businesses in different ways, Tipton encouraged industry
leaders to abandon the status quo and give the plan serious consideration.
By doing so, she added, "The U.S. dairy industry has a
chance in 2010 to re-chart its future, to build a better, stronger, more
cohesive community, energized at last by genuine teamwork and breakthrough
Another lesson the industry learned last year, Tipton said,
is that it must listen closely to consumers and provide innovative ideas,
products, ingredients and packaging to meet their needs.
"Fundamental to our success will be how well we compete
for the consumers' palate - at home and around the globe. We need more people
eating dairy and choosing dairy ingredients - and that means we'd better know
what consumers are thinking and what's tickling their taste buds," she
She concluded with a call for industry leaders to
confront the current policy climate and all industry challenges with resolve
"It's the only way we can progress, the only way we can
win, the only way we can realize the kind of success we all know is possible -
the success that is within our grasp," she said.
Click hereto read Tipton’s entire speech.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA),
Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing
industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing
a $110-billion-a-year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent
organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese
Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220
dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from
large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they
represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen
desserts produced and marketed in the United States.
Marti Pupillo, 202/220-3535