Farm Progress

NMPF president Jim Mulhern announces retirement

Board to consider successor next week

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

June 6, 2023

2 Min Read
Jim Mulhern speaking at panel event
USDA Photo by Lance Cheung

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern announced he plans to retire. It marks the end of a 45-year career working to help craft agricultural and dairy policy. He says the past 11 years with NMPF have been the highlight of his career.

“My hope, all those years ago when I first came to Washington, was to make a difference and remember where I came from,” Mulhern says. “Being part of the agricultural policy community here in Washington and working with and on behalf of many great people in the dairy community across the country has enabled me to achieve both goals.”

Mulhern began his career in 1979 working at a Midwest dairy cooperative. He moved to Washington in 1982 to work on Capitol Hill. Three years later he began his first stint at NMPF directing government affairs.

In 1990, he left to serve as Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl’s chief of staff. He would go on to work in the private sector before returning to NMPF in 2013 as COO. The following year, he was named president and CEO.

Since then, Mulhern led the federation through two farm bills and worked to support policy changes and boost dairy exports. He’s also been a vocal critic of plant-based product producers using dairy terms like “milk” and “cheese.” His retirement announcement comes as USDA prepares for hearings to update the federal milk marking orders, something for which he has long advocated.

“Dairy farmers have numerous reasons to be thankful for Jim Mulhern’s leadership at NMPF,” Board Chairman Randy Mooney says. “Jim has been a leader, a visionary, and a friend to dairy, and through that, a leader in agriculture. The combination of his depth of knowledge, his energy, and his unflagging passion for dairy producers is impossible to replace, but we all will know that his influence and achievements will resonate in this industry for years to come.”

Mulhern plans to continue in his role for the rest of the year. The NMPF board will discuss his successor during a board meeting in Arlington, VA next week.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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