Chris Policinski

“I have to be honest . . . seven or eight years ago when I heard some leaders wanted to start another industry association, my reaction candidly was, ‘Are you nuts?’”

That was the initial reaction of Chris Policinski, who serves as president and the chief executive officer for Land O’Lakes.

“We had so many associations. Do we really need another one?” he asked.

“We (leaders) talked about that,” said Policinski, who heads up the Minnesota-based cooperative.

“With the benefit of hindsight, I was dead wrong because the industry associations that we had that are so effective tended to be focused on one bit of the industry or another,” he said speaking to those attending the joint annual meeting of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, the National Milk Producers Federation, and the United Dairy Industry Association.

“The producer side, the manufacturing side, the marketing side . . . the dialogue between these groups is rich. But it’s not as rich as when we get together for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy,” said the now chairman of that organization.

“This is the one forum where producers, manufacturers, marketers, and retailers get together and talk about our industry. Getting together to talk about differences is really important,” he said, speaking to the Nashville, Tenn., audience with some 850 people in attendance.

“My first observation from the last seven or eight years, we align on most issues. We really do. We talk about the same issues at times, but with different words,” said the leader with manufacturing and production agriculture roots.

“The second thing is about issues that we don’t agree on, such as animal care and sustainability. We have a forum to hash it out,” he said.

As for the future, “I can’t tell you what the next topic will be . . . it’s an ongoing and never- ending dialogue.”

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
December 5, 2016

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