The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., said it recognized five individuals whose careers have positively impacted the trajectory of U.S. dairy. At an annual event called the Celebration of Dairy, attended by nearly 300 people in Washington, IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., recognized Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Ambassador Gregg Doud with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The annual recognition — the IDFA Leadership Award — is determined by IDFA, which represents more than 450 businesses throughout the dairy value chain from dairy cooperatives to processors and retailers. The IDFA Leadership Award is given to members of Congress, as well as the current administration, who have shown outstanding leadership and support for U.S. dairy. The event honoring the policymakers was held on Dec. 4, IDFA said.

“Dairy is so present and important in our everyday lives — in our homes, in our schools and institutions, and an integral part of our holidays and celebrations — that it’s our duty to stop and give thanks to the many people who contribute to a healthy dairy industry,” said Dykes. “Every day, more than 3 million people in the United States are employed because of dairy. Our industry generates $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact for communities across the country.

“That sort of impact takes real champions,” he added. “That’s why IDFA and our members are so pleased to honor these individuals for their tremendous work and unparalleled efforts on behalf of U.S. dairy.” 

The Celebration of Dairy welcomed more than 35 members of Congress, IDFA said, as well as key staff, officials from the Trump administration, and ambassadors and other honorable representatives from trading partner countries. The Celebration of Dairy, IDFA’s annual holiday reception, also showcased an array of gourmet cheeses, eggnog and ice cream products from IDFA member companies, including HP Hood, The Ice Cream Club, Agri-Mark Inc./Cabot Creamery, Agropur, BelGioioso Cheese, Glanbia Foods Inc., Great Lakes Cheese Co. Inc., Hilmar Cheese Co., Lactalis Inc., Leprino Foods Co., MCT Dairies Inc./Old Croc, Pacific Cheese Co. Inc., Saputo Cheese USA, Tillamook County Creamery Association and Valley Queen Cheese.