Editorial Comment Publisher/Editor


A Fond Farewell To NCI, MIF, IICA And NYA

Dick Groves
Cheese Reporter Publishing Co., Inc.
dgroves@cheesereporter.com 608-316-3791

January 18, 2019


In the dairy industry, as well as pretty much every other industry, trade associations come and trade associations go. This is a particularly notable “trade associations go” period for the dairy industry; at the beginning of 2019, the industry bid a fond farewell to four trade associations that had capably served the industry for many, many years.

As we reported two weeks ago, the International Dairy Foods Association has consolidated the governance structure of its constituent organizations — the National Cheese Institute, Milk Industry Foundation and International Ice Cream Association — under one central organization, IDFA. As of Jan. 1, 2019, those three longtime dairy organizations no longer exist.

And as we reported last week, the National Yogurt Association board of directors voted last month to dissolve and transition its assets over to IDFA. So the NYA also no longer exists.

Each of these four trade associations has had a rich and colorful history of serving the dairy industry. The oldest of the four organizations was the International Ice Cream Association, which was founded in 1900 and was known for many years as the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers.

Next came the Milk Industry Foundation, founded in 1908. The National Cheese Institute was founded in 1927, and finally the National Yogurt Association came along in 1986.

NCI, MIF and IICA have been constituent organizations of IDFA since 1990. Prior to that MIF and IICA were co-managed and had been based in Washington, DC, for many years.

The National Cheese Institute was a relative newcomer to Washington when it joined MIF and IICA in IDFA. NCI was actually founded in Plymouth, WI, back when that city was first becoming known as the Cheese Capital of the World.

At that time, Plymouth was home to a number of cheese companies (although some of the companies now most associated with Plymouth, including Sargento, Sartori, Masters Gallery and Great Lakes Cheese, didn’t exist back then), and was also home to the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (which moved to Madison in 1962) as well as the old Wisconsin Cheese Exchange (which moved to Green Bay in 1956, later changed its name to the National Cheese Exchange, and closed its doors in 1997).

NCI later moved to Chicago, and for many years was co-managed with the American Butter Institute. In a nice illustration of how dairy trade associations have come and gone over the years, NCI and ABI used to have their annual meetings in April in the same location and in the same week as the American Dry Milk Institute and Whey Products Institute; ADMI and WPI merged in 1986 to form the American Dairy Products Institute (another now-defunct group, the Evaporated Milk Association, merged into ADPI in 1997).

NCI moved to Washington in the late 1980s (shortly after the NYA was formed), and then joined MIF and IICA in forming IDFA in 1990. Meanwhile, the NYA was managed for a number of years by the American Frozen Food Institute.

With IDFA hosting its annual Dairy Forum starting on Sunday, Jan. 20th, it’s worth noting that the Dairy Forum hasn’t always been hosted by IDFA. The annual gathering, which was known as the “US Dairy Policy Forum” when it was first held back in 1985, was originally sponsored by MIF and IICA (which was then still known as IAICM). They continued to sponsor the Dairy Forum up until 1990.

Obviously there is a lot of history involved in the four organizations that no longer exist. And that raises the question: Is this really a good idea, to consolidate NCI, MIF, and IICA under one central organization, IDFA, and also to bring in another organization’s assets and operations, NYA?

Yes, this would appear to be a very good idea, for at least two reasons. First, IDFA is now operating under one set of bylaws and financial reporting requirements, as well as one budget.

Prior to Jan. 1, 2019, NCI, MIF and IICA each operated on a separate budget, and IDFA also had its own budget. And IDFA, along with its three constituent organizations, all had their own boards of directors.

Logic would suggest that operating under one set of bylaws and financial reporting requirements, as well as just one budget, would simply be a more efficient way to operate a trade association.

The other way in which this change appears to be a very good idea is in the area of industry advocacy. As Michael Dykes, IDFA’s president and CEO, noted, under its new structure, IDFA “will be more nimble, inclusive and effective in representing the interests of all segments of the dairy processing industry.” This foundation will allow IDFA to “enhance our legislative, regulatory and communication efforts and increase the return on investment for our members.”

Basically, anything that can enhance the dairy processing industry’s legislative, regulatory and communication efforts in the future is a good thing.

The National Cheese Institute, Milk Industry Foundation, International Ice Cream Association and National Yogurt Association no longer exist, but they all left rich legacies spanning many, many years.

More importantly, they left in their place a stronger International Dairy Foods Association, which bodes well for the dairy industry in the years ahead.

Cheese Reporter welcomes letters to the editor. Comments should be sent to Dick Groves, at dgroves@cheesereporter.com.

Cheese Reporter welcomes letters to the editor. Comments should be sent to: Dick Groves by Fax at (608) 246-8431; or e-mail your comments to
dgroves @cheesereporter.com.



Dick Groves

Dick Groves has been publisher/editor of Cheese Reporter since 1989. He has over 35 years experience covering the dairy industry. His weekly editorial is read and referenced throughout the world.
For more information, call 608-316-3791 dgroves@cheesereporter.com

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