Dairy Forum ’06

Global growth takes center stage.
The dairy industry once again took time to honor its highest achievers while swapping ideas on how to best tackle the future at the annual Dairy Forum last month in La Quinta, Calif.
In her keynote address, Connie Tipton, president and chief executive officer of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), addressed the “convergence of new leadership, new dynamics and a new era for the dairy industry” while noting the changing of the guard in chief executive posts at Land O’Lakes, Dairy Farmers of America and Dean Foods’ Dairy Group, and crediting the retiring leaders for industry advancements during their tenures.
“Now it’s on the shoulders of the people in this room; we have the responsibility to continue that leadership and growth,” Tipton said. “Fundamental shifts are already driving the issues for this next generation.”
Tipton suggested three ways to take on the future: plan and operate globally; keep the trust and wishes of the individual consumer; and embrace the big idea, but commit to the small steps. “The next great generation of dairy leaders will have to manage the reality of a global marketplace,” she said.
While much of U.S. industry has been outsourcing tasks to other nations, Tipton urged that the U.S. dairy industry become the “in-source” for the world’s dairy needs. “We want to be the place where multi-national companies locate their manufacturing operations, where they’re drawing on our abundant, high-quality milk supply,” she said.
The industry must continue to “push for increased market access and a reduction in trade-distorting domestic supports,” Tipton said. “And our own U.S. dairy policies must set the tone to encourage development and innovation that will allow us to compete in a global dairy economy.”
At Forum’s awards luncheon, Dairy Field presented its 2005 Processor of the Year Award to Yoplait-Colombo USA. David Jahn, key account manager for Yoplait, accepted the award from DF editor James Dudlicek. (The full story can be found in the November 2005 issue, available in our online archive at www.dairyfield.com — Ed.)
IDFA awarded Paul Kruse, CEO and president of Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries, with its 2006 Soaring Eagle Award, recognizing those who have chaired IDFA, the International Ice Cream Association (IICA), the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF) or the National Cheese Institute (NCI).
The NCI Laureate Award went to Mark Davis, president of Davisco Foods International, Le Sueur, Minn. This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the U.S. cheese industry.
KF Dairy of El Centro, Calif., was named the 2006 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year, an award sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Today magazine. This year’s award was a tribute to KF as well as its founder, Jim Kuhn, who died last year in a car accident.
Sessions during the three-day forum included a CEO panel, whose participants named health care and risk management among their top concerns; and discussions about how dairy is holding up amid gains in soy, the status of dairy-weight loss science, forward contracting, school milk marketing and dealing with anti-dairy activists.
A complete transcript of Tipton’s remarks, along with other Forum information, can be found at www.idfa.org.

Image makers
Product and promotion news
For more than 60 years, Curious George — the original “monkey see, monkey do” chimp — has been enchanting readers with his beloved, mischievous tales. Atlanta-based Carvel Ice Cream Corp. has partnered with Universal Studios to promote George’s film debut. Consumers purchasing select Carvel ice cream cakes from participating supermarkets or a Curious George treat from a Carvel store have an instant chance to win one of four prizes with the Curious George instant-win game piece included in each product. Prizes include a grand prize for a trip for four to a Universal Pictures World Premiere in Hollywood, Curious George video games and gift packs of 4,000 Curious George bean-bag toys. The sweepstakes runs through June 30.
Tetra Pak and the School Nutrition Association have launched the SmartCarton Panel Program to teach children the importance of good nutrition through fun educational activities. The SmartCarton Panel Program for school milk was designed to tie in with the new federal law requiring every school district participating in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Program to establish a local wellness policy by the beginning of the 2006-07 school year to offer students consistent nutrition messages throughout their curriculum. The program, tailored for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade, features activities, brainteasers and riddles on the side panels of gable-top school milk cartons. Students can visit www.smartcarton.com to check their answers to the quizzes, which are designed to teach students about nutrition and wellness. Tetra Pak offers the SmartCarton® program free of charge to participating dairies who supply schools with milk or juice in Tetra Pak gable-top cartons.