The International Dairy Foods Association has selected Michael D. Dykes, D.V.M., to replace Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA. Dykes, who has spent his professional career leading and executing agricultural government affairs policies and strategies, will work in transition with Tipton beginning in October and will assume the CEO role in January 2017.

“I’ve known Michael for more than 20 years,” said Tipton, who announced in January that she would retire after spending 35 years representing the dairy foods industry in Washington, D.C. “His friendly manner and deep background in the food and agriculture industry will give him a running start for what I know will be a successful tenure with IDFA. I look forward to introducing Michael to our industry and all of my colleagues in the association community.”

For the past 19 years, Dykes served as vice president of government affairs for Monsanto, where he was responsible for developing and implementing a portfolio of U.S. government relations strategies and programs that included agricultural biotechnology policy. He led Monsanto’s office in Washington, D.C., and served as the company’s primary point of contact for elected officials, regulatory authorities, US farm organizations, key industry participants, trade associations, international organizations and embassies. He directed the company’s efforts in state and local government affairs, in addition to government affairs in Mexico and Canada.

Dykes grew up on a small dairy and tobacco farm in Kentucky. He earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University. He also attended the University of Kentucky where he received a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.

“Michael’s policy experience combined with his food and animal science background could not be a better fit for IDFA” said Jeff Kaneb, executive vice president of HP Hood LLC and chairman of the transition committee. “He brings energy, enthusiasm and a track record of success to IDFA.”