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Indiana Dairies Deliver:
IDP Forum Maps Industry Future


The Crossroads of America since 1937, in more recent years the Hoosier State has designed and built roads to the future of the dairy industry across many fields.

For producer-to-consumer marketing, one striking example is Fair Oaks Farms on I-65 near Chicago, which first made Holsteins a roadside tourist attraction.

For producer strategic vision, there’s the Forum organized by Indiana Dairy Producers with the 2021 conference and show last week at the French Lick Resort in southern Indiana, which D&D helped to sponsor.

Key to the Forum, says Doug Leman, IDP retiring executive director, is the vision “to make Indiana the most desirable state in which to produce milk.” That includes helping producers to anticipate future challenges and prepare to optimize strategic opportunities.

Dairy industry power

The Forum opened with Michael Dykes, DVM of the International Dairy Foods Association highlighting the economic magnitude of the U.S. dairy industry, which provides more than 3 million jobs and generates $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact.

Dr. Dykes noted that while dairy operations continued to decline in number in 2020, the pace had slowed from previous years. At the same time, average herd size continued to increase, now up to 297 cows. Per cow production continued to rise, too, running 1.2% CAGR nationally with Indiana notably higher at 1.6%.

And while fluid milk consumption is still sliding — particularly in competition with alternative “milk” beverages — consumption of cheese, butter, and other dairy products is strong and rising.

Inescapable global market

Dr. Dykes told Indiana dairy producers that currently only 20% of milk goes into the fluid market. One reason was that U.S. producers are players in a global market.

So future growth in production requires expanding dairy exports, which he said depends on:
• Strengthening global competitiveness
• Embracing technology
• Promoting health and wellness
• Amplifying sustainability efforts
• Building workforce of the future

Dr. Dykes imagined a range of “dairy industry scenarios” depending on how producers, milk processors, and food companies meet the U.S. domestic and foreign markets. He looked forward to the industry adapting and evolving to supply local and niche markets, drive consumption in specialized and premium market channels, and promote a “green new future.”

Increasingly, across all demographics, Dr. Dykes sees opportunities for “wellness-driven” growth of the dairy industry.

D&D’s role

With more than 750 ingredients in inventory along with blending and other services, D&D is helping Indiana dairy producers, nutritional consultants, and feed company leaders meet the future successfully.

On hand at the Forum were D&D’s Mike Wright (Director of Operations & Business Development and Pat Kahle (Sales Manager).