With so much uncertainty over agricultural trade, farm policy and milk prices, it might be best to take a bit of break this winter and head to the desert.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is hosting its annual Dairy Forum in Palm Desert, Calif. January 21 through 24. Known as one of the top dairy meetings of the year, Dairy Forum brings processors and dairy farmers together each year to discuss pressing topics that affect the industry’s both short- and long-term future.
This year, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte will keynote the event, discussing farm bill reauthorization and immigration reform. Goodlatte has led the charge on revamping H2A temporary worker visas in hopes of creating a new H2C year-round visa that could be used by current and new non-resident workers.
Ambassador Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative, will discuss both challenges and opportunities in current trade talks. She’ll also discuss implications of changing trade alliances that are now occurring around the world.
An outlook for dairy trends, drivers and markets for 2026 will also be discussed by Tom Bailey, executive director of dairy research for Rabobank and John Newton, director of market intelligence for the American Farm Bureau Federation. This session will be key for any dairy farmer who plans to position his or her operation for the next decade.
A panel of dairy processing CEOs will also discuss how they are positioning their companies and cooperatives to deal with what seems like unprecedented uncertainty over the next five to 10 years. Included on this panel: Tim Brown, president and CCO of Chobani; Mike Haddad, president and CEO of Schreiber Foods, Inc.; Sheryl Meshke, co-president and CEO of Associated Milk Produces, Inc., and Michael Wells, president and CEO of Wells Enterprises.
The 2018 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year will also be honored. IDFA partners with Dairy Herd Management each year to identify and honor the most innovative dairy farm, with this year’s winner hailing from the Northeast.