E. Linwood “Tip” Tipton, who served U.S. dairy industry associations for 38 years, died Oct. 12 at the age of 78 after a year-long illness, according to a press release from IDFA.
The first president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, he leaves behind a lasting legacy of tremendous industry growth, creativity and collaboration while working with all segments of the dairy industry, as well as business associations and the Capitol Hill community, IDFA stated.
Perhaps two of Tipton’s greatest accomplishments were the creation of the International Dairy Foods Association and the dairy checkoff program.
In 1990, Tipton rallied the dairy food manufacturers to create IDFA, which brought together the Milk Industry Foundation, the International Ice Cream Association and the National Cheese Institute in an effort to magnify the voice of the dairy processing industry in Washington, D.C.
“If we hadn’t come together to speak with one voice, we’d be lost now. Forming IDFA was building a foundation for what we are faced with today,” said James Erickson, chairman of Anderson Erickson Dairy.
Today, IDFA represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $125 billion a year industry. IDFA members account for more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.
Also in 1990, he and his wife, Connie Tipton, — current IDFA president and CEO — advocated for an act of Congress to authorize a dairy industry commodity checkoff program. That effort led to the Milk Mustache “got milk?” advertising and the establishment of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), aimed at consumer education and expanding industry sales and product innovation.
Tipton started his dairy career early in the 1960s as an economist with the Eastern Milk Producers Cooperative, where he supported efforts to streamline regulated farm milk pricing. Not long after, he was recruited to join the staff of the Milk Industry Foundation and the International Ice Cream Association and began to build a foundation for bringing new cohesion and growth to the industry.
In October 1983, Tipton married Connie Eaton Broadstone, who also worked for industry associations.
Tipton founded the Annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, and in 1984, he and Connie led efforts to have then President Ronald Reagan proclaim July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day, both still celebrated today.
He founded the Dairy Forum in 1985 as an event for encouraging policy dialogue among processor and producer leaders. The annual forum is now recognized as one of the industry’s premier events.
In 1988, he created the International Dairy Show, an industry trade show that today features the newest innovations in technology, packaging, ingredients and services for the dairy foods industry.
Tipton retired from IDFA in 2003. In 2004 he opened the doors to The Tipton Group, an international consulting firm, where he worked with a variety of clients to expand U.S. dairy’s opportunities around the world.
Born Nov. 19, 1934, Tipton grew up on a Missouri dairy farm and earned a bachelor’d degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri. In 1957, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Finance Corps.
Those who would like to honor Tipton’s legacy can make a donation to the Dairy Recognition and Education Foundation, which provides financial assistance for graduate students in dairy science or a related field. Visit www.dairyfund.org for details.