Tom Dorsey, a Caldwell, Idaho, dairy farmer was awarded the Richard E Lyng Award for his years of service to dairy promotion, both regionally and nationally.
He was presented the award by the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) during the joint NDB, National Milk Producers Federation and United Dairy Industry Association annual meeting in Phoenix.
The award is designed to recognize leaders in the dairy community, specifically farmers, Karianne Fallow, CEO of Dairy West, said.
Ensuring that there is a strong future as a legacy to others has always been important to Dorsey, she said.
The award is named for former USDA Secretary Richard E. Lyng, who played a critical role in implementing policies that led to the establishment of the NDB more than 30 years ago. The Lyng Award honors leaders who have made a significant contribution to dairy promotion that benefits the entire industry.
“Tom represents the very best of farmer leadership,” Brad Scott, a California dairy farmer and chairman of the NDB, said in presenting the award.
“He demonstrates endless support for dairy promotion and continuously seeks to make the checkoff the best it can be locally and nationally,” he said.
Dorsey has an unassuming, bold leadership style and has used that style to move the industry forward, Fallow said.
He helped the industry take steps to be relevant and keep up with a dynamically challenging world, she said.
Dorsey served on the Idaho Dairy Products Commission board of directors since 2004 and was elected chairman of the commission in 2011 — a position he held until he voluntarily stepped down earlier this year.
As chairman, he led efforts to unite Idaho and Utah dairy farmers to create a stronger, more cohesive dairy-promotion group. That resulted in the formation of Dairy West in 2017 to allow greater flexibility, growth and the effective use of farmers’ checkoff investments, and Dorsey served as its first chairman.
“He has a very friendly, appeasing way about him, and people are drawn to him easily. He was the guy to walk into a conversation and light it up,” Fallow said.
He also served as a member of the United Dairy Industry Association board for many years and served as UDIA’s first vice chairman.
“Tom exemplifies the meaning of service … he has had an important influence on our farmers and our dairy community, and we are grateful for his many contributions,” Scott said.
Fallow said Dorsey is very caring with a very likeable sense of humor and was always the first to help out new, young leaders on dairy boards.
“He took service really seriously,” she said.
Dorsey has retired from the boards he served on for years and is retiring from the dairy business, she said.
“But I expect he’ll find a way to stay connected,” she said.
As part of the Richard E. Lyng Award, the NDB will contribute $2,500 to the Utah State University Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences in Dorsey’s name.