Dairy Processing - November/December 2022 - 59

MEETING PREVIEW
Opportunities
abound
IDFA president Michael Dykes expects Dairy Forum 2023 to inspire.
by Benton Smith | bsmith@sosland.com
I
n a dynamic industry that is evolving at a rapid pace,
International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) president
and chief executive officer Michael Dykes views the
organization's upcoming Dairy Forum 2023 not only as an
opportunity to connect, but also an occasion for strengthening
the dairy industry.
" We always talk about change, but the change has been
only accelerating, " Dykes said about Dairy Expo, set for Jan.
22-25, 2023, in Orlando, Fla.
He cited the growing consumption of dairy in the US - up
12 pounds per person in 2021 - as a backdrop for why he
anticipates dairy processors and others who work in various
areas of the supply chain will benefit from attending the fourday
conference at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes.
" All of these leaders are facing a plethora of challenges,
but they also are seeing a plethora of opportunities, " Dykes
explained. " Demand is up. Consumption is growing. "
Hearing from expert speakers and panels is just one perk
of being at Dairy Forum, he said, adding that the networking
that takes place with other dairy leaders often proves just
as indispensable, because many find they are encountering
similar challenges and/or situations.
" They can go home with solutions they can actually
implement, " said Dykes. Making it possible for the event's
attendees to take ideas and innovations back to their
companies is a key ingredient for planning Dairy Forum.
" We want people to leave inspired. We have an opportunity
for the US to become the world's leading supplier of dairy
products, " Dykes said. " We look at what's happening with the
European Union in terms of energy costs, the pressures on
58 NOV-DEC 2022 | DAIRYPROCESSING.COM
sustainability. We think about New Zealand in their limited
capacity to grow. We have some competitive advantages in the
US that could position us to be the number one leader. "
Furthermore, the goal of the IDFA's annual event is to
bring different sectors of the industry together and find ways
to " grow the pie " for everyone involved.
" That's what we're so excited about doing, " Dykes said.
The forthcoming conference will feature presentations,
deep dive sessions, panel discussions and innovative content,
covering subjects such as attracting a diverse and inclusive
workforce, advancing growth through technology and
delivering health and nutrition benefits to consumers.
After the dairy industry navigated through the most difficult
aspects of the pandemic " extremely well, " Dykes said the event
will zero in on where the industry is going and the key issues
it is facing. He pointed out that some of the pertinent topics
for dairy now include economic and geopolitical uncertainty,
high inflation, workforce challenges, processors integrating the
latest innovations, the coming 2023 Farm Bill and supply chain
issues with trucks, railroads and ocean vessels.
Some of the featured speakers lined up for Dairy Forum
will address those topics and more. Dykes said former
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will provide a view of the
political landscape and labor needs. And former US Secretary
of Agriculture Dan Glickman and former chair of the House
Committee on Agriculture Collin Peterson will weigh in on
food and ag policy and what they see coming for the industry.
" I just think this Dairy Forum will have something in it
for everyone, " Dykes said. " I do believe they'll leave Orlando
energized with what they hear. "
©aiisha - stock.adobe.com
http://www.DAIRYPROCESSING.COM

Dairy Processing - November/December 2022

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