Dairy Industry Leadership

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Expertise from forward-looking organizations

Learn more about the Dairy Industry Members of Newtrient.

Newtrient’s member entities include leading dairy cooperatives from across the U.S. representing nearly 20,000 dairy farmers — and producing one-half of the nation’s milk supply — as well as the two associations that advance the entire dairy industry in terms of promotion, research, education, innovation, issues management, international trade, and public policy.

These organizations recognize the need to bring sustainability solutions and providers together with dairy farmers, researchers, and other stakeholders.

2023 Newtrient Board of Managers:

Since joining DFA in 2008, Jackie has led the Cooperative’s public policy efforts and has played an active role in member services and community initiatives. In her current role, she leads DFA’s government affairs and industry relations team and oversees the Cooperative’s sustainability strategy and farm practices team.

Prior to joining DFA, Jackie spent nearly 15 years in Washington, D.C. serving as a congressional aide for members of the House and Senate, as a consultant focused on environmental issues impacting the livestock sector, and then working for trade associations representing agricultural interests before Congress and regulatory agencies. She is currently chair of the Board of Newtrient and also serves on the boards of National Milk Producers Federation, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture, and the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.

Dr. Mike McCloskey is Co-Founder of Select Milk Producers Inc., one of the largest milk cooperatives in the country. He is also Chairman of the Board for Fair Oaks Farms, the nation’s largest agritourism attraction located in NW Indiana. Mike, and his wife, Sue, are the Founders of Fairlife, a dairy based health and wellness company now wholly owned by The Coca Cola Company. Dr. McCloskey is a partner in Curtis Creek Dairy Farms, which milks 15,000 cows living in free-stall barns in addition to a 12 robot, 800 milking cow barn in NW Indiana. Curtis Creek Dairy Farms harvests their cow manure and uses digesters to create electricity that powers their farms and creates bio-based Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Dr. McCloskey chairs the Sustainability Initiative for the Innovation Center for US Dairy.

Mark Duffy and his wife, Tamma, have operated Great Brook Farm for 36 years on a thousand-acre state park in the town of Carlisle, Massachusetts, 22 miles as the crow flies from Boston.  It is the only state park in the U.S. that features an active dairy farm, and it annually attracts over 100,000 visitors.  Mark is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in agricultural economics.  He and Tamma are first-generation farmers whose state-of-the-art dairy features a “smart” barn housing the first robotic milking system in the Bay State.  In addition to their dairy herd, the Duffy’s also operate a seasonal ice cream and farm stand and sell composted cow manure.  

Mark serves as a director and treasurer on the board of the Agri-Mark dairy cooperative, as well as serving on the co-op’s Sustainable Farms Committee.  Mark also serves as a director on the boards of New England Dairy, the New England Dairy & Food Council, and Newtrient, LLC. 

Barbara O’Brien has more than 20 years of experience working on behalf of America’s 31,000 dairy farmers and dairy importers, and delivering results globally, nationally and locally. O’Brien is the President & CEO of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the domestic dairy checkoff program that drives trust and sales of dairy products. In this capacity, she oversees the work of the National Dairy Council, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and GENYOUth Foundation.

She also serves as President & CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, where in this role she has brought together the leadership of 27 dairy companies and organizations to advance pre-competitive efforts and action within key areas like animal welfare, environmental sustainability, hunger, and community impact. Under her leadership, 34 companies representing 75% of the U.S. milk supply have signed the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment.

Through an evolution of the checkoff business plan, O’Brien created stronger integration and category strategies that have grown the market for America’s dairy farmers, as well as driven increases in positive consumer perceptions around dairy and dairy farming.

Prior to joining DMI, O’Brien directed Burson Marsteller’s Chicago-based healthcare consultancy. During her tenure, she provided executive-level counsel for Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical clients. She went on to co-found a healthcare consultancy that served the business and marketing planning needs of Chicago-area hospitals and health systems as well as companies in the medical device, pharmaceutical, food, and nutrition segments.

O’Brien is a proud mother of two children and resides in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mark.

Rachel Turgasen is the Senior Director of Member Relations and Corporate Sustainability at Foremost Farms USA. Employees at Foremost Farms’ headquarters and 8 manufacturing facilities and nearly 900 dairy farm families work together to produce nutritious dairy products that are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. She is responsible for directing member-owner relations and leading the cooperative’s animal wellbeing and environmental stewardship efforts as a part of Foremost Farms’ farm-to-fork sustainability and social responsibility strategy. In addition to serving on the Newtrient Board of Managers, Rachel serves the dairy community as a member of the NMPF Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee, and the FARM-ES Version 3 Working Group.

Rachel’s 22-year career has been in the dairy industry, exclusively with dairy manufacturing cooperatives. Additionally, she and her husband are the 3rd generation to own and operate his family’s dairy and row crop farm in southwestern Wisconsin. She holds a Master of Science in Project Management and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Aaron Gasper owns and operates 1,000 acres and milks 600 cows on Lew-Max LLC in Lowell, Michigan. He currently serves on the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Board of Directors and has held previous leadership roles in the cooperative. He also serves as MMPA’s representative on the Newtrient Board of Directors. Aaron and his wife, Andrea, have two children and are past MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators.  

As the fifth-generation owner of Lew-Max LLC, Aaron works closely with his herdsman and farm team to regularly meet and exceed their reproduction and milk quality goals. He’s passionate about using technology on the farm and uses the information collected to make data-driven decisions. Aaron received a dairy science certificate from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in dairy science from California Polytechnic State University. In recognition of the experiences he had in school, Aaron continues to provide learning opportunities to students and offers internships every summer to help advance the future of the industry.

Jim Mulhern is a veteran agriculture and food policy strategist with over 35 years of experience working with Washington, D.C. policymakers and the media. He was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in January 2014. Mr. Mulhern directs the dairy organization’s work on a wide range of important issues including trade policy, immigration reform, the farm bill, environmental policy, animal care, nutrition issues, food labeling and standards of identity, and much more.

Earlier in his career he directed the organization’s government affairs activities and played a key role in shaping NMPF’s policy and communications strategy. From NMPF, Jim went to Capitol Hill where he served as chief of staff to Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl. Mr. Mulhern directed the Senator’s Washington, D.C., and state operations, and advised him on legislative and political issues. Before taking over leadership of NMPF, Jim was managing partner of Watson/Mulhern LLC, a life sciences communications and public affairs firm that focused on policy challenges facing the food and agriculture community. Prior to that he was a partner at Fleishman-Hillard, an international communications firm. Over his career, Mr. Mulhern has provided expert strategic counsel to a host of Fortune 500 companies and has worked extensively in government relations, issues and crisis management, media relations, and litigation communications.

Samantha started her career in the dairy industry when she was 16 years old, milking at a local 200-cow dairy, Clavin Dairy Farm. Working on this farm made her fall in love with the dairy industry. After getting a bachelor’s degree in animal science, she went back to the farm where she worked full time for about a year. Samantha then decided that she wanted to dive even deeper into the dairy industry. She started working at Prairie Farms in the corporate lab and after being at Prairie Farms for a few months, Samantha got the opportunity to be a field representative for the Southern, IL region. She managed around 70 farms for 4 years. Getting to work alongside producers and helping them get the best possibly quality is something Samantha loves about her job.

One year ago, Samantha got the opportunity to be promoted to the Quality Programs Coordinator where she oversees quality of all 665 producers of Prairie Farms. The dairy industry has always been a passion of hers and she is very excited to see where it will takes her in the future.

Ben Butler of Lorida, Florida is a fourth-generation dairy farmer and eighth generation Floridian. He is a partner and vice-president of Butler Oaks Farm, a family-owned dairy farm. Since 2005, he has been responsible for the dairy herd and its employees, and the care, feeding, and day-to-day operations of the dairy, including the environmental and water management for the farm.

Butler volunteers with numerous youth, agricultural and community organizations outside the farm, including 4-H, FFA, Farm Bureau and an appointment to the South Florida Water Management District governing board by Governor DeSantis (2019). He earned his bachelor’s degree (2002) and master’s degree (2019) in animal science from the University of Florida. Butler and his wife, April, have one daughter, Hannah. Much of their free time is spent helping their daughter and other students raise and exhibit their dairy cattle at 4-H shows and events. However, they also find time to enjoy Florida’s natural resources, scuba diving in the Florida Keys for lobster, water skiing on the area lakes and camping throughout Florida. Butler and his family are members of Oakview Baptist Church in Okeechobee, FL.

Paul Snyder is Executive Vice President at the Tillamook County Creamery Corporation. He leads several functions including Environment & Community Impact, Corporate Communications, Government Relations, and Public Affairs. His team works to develop, manage, and execute the cooperative’s strategies to address sustainability, natural resource management, community and social impact, member relations, internal engagement, free and earned media, philanthropy, and advocacy. He joined Tillamook in June 2019. Under his leadership, Tillamook attained B Corp certification, was recognized with a “Best in Business” distinction by INC., and earned a number of honors including a Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council Award and a HALO award.

He currently serves on the boards of Newtrient, Oregon Business & Industry, and the Portland Opera. He previously served on the boards of the Georgia Center for Non-Profits, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross, among others. He has also been involved in several governmental efforts, including privatizing Army Lodging and serving on Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality Rule Making Advisory Committee on Oregon’s Climate Protection Program. Paul earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Lawrence University and an MBA at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. He and his wife, Amy, live in Portland with their two daughters, Abigail and Madeline.

Brandon Clark is a Sustainability Manager at United Dairymen of Arizona (UDA). As UDA’s sustainability lead, he focuses on creating impactful, sustainable change from farm to processing plant. With a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management from Arizona State University, Brandon has developed expertise in driving sustainability practices from the perspective of process efficiencies and sourcing optimization.

Throughout his career, Brandon has worked collaboratively to design and implement people-oriented sustainability strategies that align with business objectives and the dairy industry. By leveraging his project management experience, he has successfully led and executed a variety of sustainability initiatives. These projects have resulted in significant improvements in sustainability metrics, including waste and carbon emissions reductions, and increased resource efficiency. Brandon’s approach to sustainability is rooted in analytical and data-driven decision making, a talent he brings to UDA from his experience at Boeing and Isagenix. Outside of work, Brandon expresses his passion for sustainability through his hobbies. As a Certified Master Gardener, he enjoys cultivating sustainable outdoor spaces and educating others on gardening methods and the benefits of green spaces.