Ring out the old, ring in the new
In Washington Dee-Cee there is a change or two.
A new leader’s in charge. What will he do?
That’s the question I’m posing to you.
The president in question is Michael D. Dykes
Who will head the dairy processors’ group.
As IDFA president he’ll be in the loop
On issues affecting dairy foods and beverages.
He’ll use his influence and his leverages
To keep burdensome regulation at bay
And assure that dairy processors have their say
With senators and reps in the Capitol.
Michael will be writing policies winter, spring, summer and fall.
After 35 years, Connie Tipton is going away.
She leaves her fingerprints (and more) at the IDFA.
She led with distinction, she led with grace.
In a town full of Jokers, Connie was always the Ace.
With friends on both sides of the aisle,
She made her case and left with a smile.
Neither mean nor vindictive, it was consensus she sought.
A lesson that other new administration must be taught.
The holidays are here, it’s the end of the year.
Let’s turn to thoughts and deeds of good cheer.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Toast the old, the young, the new. Above all, be jolly!
In honor of Michael and Connie, I’m hosting a ball.
With Champagne and caviar. Wear white tails or gowns.
Hire a Ferrari or Uber to take you to town.
Luminaries from the dairy industry will fill up the hall.
Ah, here comes a shiny limousine
And out steps cheesemaker Louie Gentine.
He’s the first to arrive from Wisconsin, the Badger state.
To find a seat at this party ‘tis better to be early than late.
Following are more All Stars and the heavy hitters
Who left their children with the babysitters.
Tim Omer of Emmi Roth, famous for its World Championship Cheese,
Gary Vanic, the NCI Laureate, if you please.
Vermont’s Ed Townley looks as sharp as aged Cabot Cheddar.
And Beth Ford, a real go-getter. Have you ever met her?
Steve Stettler has a Life Member award from a cheese society,
Arthur Schuman arrives with his brood in its entirety.
He’s a long way from Idaho,
but that’s Jim Frank of Litehouse, doncha know?
Pulling up now is the ice cream contingent, aka dairy’s Big Dippers.
They make vanilla, strawberry and mint chocolate chippers.
Don Berg runs the Comfy Cow in Louisville, Kentucky
Founded by two nice guys named Tim and Roy Koons-McGee.
All the way from Brooklyn are two artisans (hipsters if you will):
The talented Ben Van Leeuwen and  Laura O’Neill.
Perry’s Robin Waite (maker of an award-winning flavor),
Susie Quesada and sibs Ronald and PJ churn pints you can savor.
There’s Florida’s own power couple Rich and Heather Draper
And Simona Faroni, an “Enterprising Woman,” says one newspaper.
Welcome Richard and Bob Graeter, they of the French pot.
Try their concoctions once and forever you’ll eat it a lot.
Now exiting a stretch Hummer and stepping on the carpet of red
It’s Plant of the Year manager Cyril Cledelin (he has cheesemaking cred).
Following are Soaring Eagles Jeffrey Kaneb and Patricia Shoup,
Of HP Hood and Nestle, respectively. Let loose a “whoop, whoop!”
Give Swiss Valley Farms’ Chris Hoeger a cheer.
He runs the co-op that’s our Exporter of the Year.
I spy the champions of dairy made sans GMOs.
George Siemon, Gary Hirshberg and Mariano Lozano.
Others of the clean and natural ilk are
Warren and Victoria Taylor who bottle grass-fed A2 milk.
Like a doctor, Marcus Benedetti vows to do no harm.
At Clover Stornetta he’s cleaning up the dairy farm.
Tom Suber, the leader of USDEC since it started,
Is retiring. Soon he’ll be departed.
His tenure has come to an end,
So fanfare and huzzahs his way send.
The party is ending. Don’t we know how to have fun?
2016 concludes with work yet to be done.
So double-down in 2017 and pledge to give it your all
To build bridges and not that border wall.


Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and belated wishes to those who observed Eid.

A tip o' the cap to Ian Frazier. Thanks for the inspiration.