Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 18

issue can be addressed is with programming.
" Companies can take action by
The " Elevating
Women in Dairy "
panel at IDFA Dairy
Forum in Phoenix
addressed the State
of Women in Dairy
report and issues
surrounding women
in the industry.
and president, Hilmar; Robin Kane, chief people
officer, Aurora Organic Dairy; and Annie Waring,
director of business development, AmeriCold.
The panel was moderated by Rasdall.
" I applaud IDFA's efforts in undertaking a
comprehensive survey to understand gender equity
in the dairy industry, " Kane said. " As the results
indicate, we are slowly making progress through
developing programs and policies for equitable
pay and career advancement opportunities for
women. However, the survey uncovered a number
of challenges that we need to address. "
Notably among those challenges, women
reported that they perceive that career growth
in dairy is not on par with opportunities for their
male colleagues. Kane believes one way the
DEPUTY SECRETARY
OF AGRICULTURE
SHARES REMARKS
Attendees of the IDFA Women's
Summit were joined by United
States Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
Xochitl Torres Small on the
morning of March 20. The deputy
secretary shared some remarks
with the group before attendees
made their way to Capitol Hill to
meet with lawmakers on issues affecting
the dairy industry.
Prior to her confirmation as deputy
secretary, Torres Small served
as under secretary for rural development,
part of the US Department
of Agriculture (USDA). Before
joining USDA, Torres Small was the
first woman and first person of color
to represent New Mexico's second
congressional district. She was
18 MAR-APR 2024 | DAIRYPROCESSING.COM
institutionalizing early-career rotation programs
for women to give them practical experience
in core business functions such as production,
supply chain, finance and sales, " she said.
Ahlem, the only man on the panel, shared his
insights on the importance of listening to those
around him, being curious about experiences and
finding his blind spots on the issue.
" One thing I think is really important is the
posture in which we approach this topic, " Ahlem
said. " I think it can be easy at times to become
defensive, to focus on just what's good or what's
right in the situation. And I know I'm learning
and still growing in terms of really adopting a
posture of really seeking to understand, really
expressing some curiosity, trying to understand
what is happening, what are the experiences
that are out there, what are the structural
elements that maybe are contributing to this. "
Ahlem also acknowledged that some of the
things that need to be different involve changes
that only he as a leader can make, including
requesting a pay equity analysis.
elected to the office in 2018 and
held it for one term before being
defeated in 2020. She shared that
while that loss was difficult, failure
was what helped her figure out
what came next.
" Even though I would have preferred
to win, losing was one of the
best things that happened to me, "
she said. " It taught me that I can fail
at things that really matter to me.
And it hurts, but it's also worth it.
And for me, that failure made me
stronger. "
After her loss, Torres Small recalled
the close working relationship
she had with USDA Rural Development
in New Mexico while
serving as a staffer for Tom Udall,
former senator from New Mexico
and current US ambassador to New
Zealand. She saw firsthand how rural
development work was creating
immediate opportunity through investments
in projects, such as housing
along the US-Mexico border and
wastewater infrastructure. That experience
led her to USDA and, later,
her current post.
Torres Small also applauded the
women in attendance for investing
their time into leadership development.
" It
just speaks to the importance
of investing in leaders across ag
and specifically women who bring
a really valuable perspective, " she
said. " In the dairy industry, there are
opportunities that are available for
market development and for your
work, both in terms of ag market
development, but also advocacy. So
I just so appreciate the time you're
taking to invest in yourselves, because
as women, that's not something
that we always do. "
International Dairy Foods Association
http://www.DAIRYPROCESSING.COM

Dairy Processing - March/April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dairy Processing - March/April 2024

Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - Intro
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 1
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 2
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 3
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 4
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 5
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 6
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 7
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 8
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 9
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 10
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 11
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 12
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 13
Dairy Processing - March/April 2024 - 14
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