Dairy has had no shortage of influential factors impacting the past, present and future. Most recently, things like the pandemic, drought, logistics, supply chains, the Class I price formula and inflation come to mind.
Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

However, the real “influencers” are the people who make up the dairy community.

In the June 12, 2022 issue of Progressive Dairy, one of our newest editorial team members, Kimmi Devaney, provided an introduction of herself and identified three key people who influenced her life and career path. Just a few days earlier, Time magazine published its annual “Time100,” providing profiles of 100 of “the world’s most influential people.”

Something I’ve wanted to pursue for years (but never got around to it) was to identify and showcase the most influential people in the dairy industry. Given that I’ve now reached the age when I qualify for Medicare, I better get started before I run out of time.

To that end, the Progressive Dairy editorial team is extending an invitation to our readers, asking you to nominate and describe the dairy people who you believe are the most influential in the industry, especially those with the greatest direct positive impact reaching back to the farm.


We’re looking for producers as well as persons in dairy-allied industries, teachers, researchers, marketers, political and organizational leaders, thought leaders, bloggers or others. Their influence can be personal, local, regional, national and even international.

We’re looking for not only who they are and a brief description of “what” they do, but also your personal reflections on the “why” that makes them so influential and “how” they positively impact the dairy industry.

Email your nominations to me at Dave Natzke, describing them in your own words (100-300 words). Watch for more information in print and online in the weeks ahead.

We’ll close the nomination period on about Oct. 15, 2022, and at the end of the year we’ll plan to put together an editorial package highlighting some of the most influential people in dairy.

Sustainability influencers

This issue of Progressive Dairy already features several influential people, the recipients of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy 2022 Sustainability Awards (see “2022 Sustainability Awards: Building on dairy’s legacy”).

For some producers, “sustainability” has grown to mean top-down mandates on production and management practices. They aren’t completely wrong. But in a broad sense, sustainability encourages us to conserve and enhance the resources we utilize and seek to pass on to the next dairy generation.

As you’ll read, many of this year’s award recipients were implementing environmental, economic and social practices well before “sustainability” was a widely recognized concept. Their passion and compassion for both preservation and resilience have made them caretakers and leaders, and influencers of a dairy future.